pi: a good reason for pie.

We learned that a cast iron skillet works in a pinch if you run out of pie dishes. Pardon the mess, but these beauties are ready for some heat.

I didn’t really grow up eating pie – savoury or sweet. And even now, pie only makes an annual appearance in our kitchen  – in the form of apple pie, made from scratch, of course! (Which by the way, is easy as pie.)

In the past when I’ve made pie pastry, I’ve been impatient and/or disorganized, throwing dough briefly into the freezer to chill before rolling. Don’t do this. Take the time to chill it in the fridge. This time, the boy (aka dough master) made it well in advance, allowing it to chill in the fridge overnight. A much friendly mass to work with results from this! For 3 pies to celebrate pi day, we tripled:

2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup lard (for flakiness)
1/2 cup butter (for flavour)
1/2 cup (ice cold) water (approx)

In the past, I’ve grappled with mushy bottoms when making 2-crust (mostly apple) pies where blind baking isn’t an option. This time, I a) egg-washed the bottom crust and b) remembered to take advantage of the lowest rack in the oven. Despite not having yet replaced our pizza stone, these modifications definitely made a difference. Starting the pies on high heat for the first 15 minutes (425), the temperature was brought down to 350 for the remaining 90 minutes or so. The crust was pretty damn good on all of the pies: beef porter, turkey parsnip, and apple!

  1. Joel said:

    In the past, I haven’t tried cooling the dough before rolling… but then, I haven’t had any troubles with the crust, bottom, either. Mine calls for 2/3 C butter and no lard for a 2 part crust, and I use 4-5 tbsp. white wine (!) instead of water… mine ends up reasonably flakey, though it takes a bit of practice, too.

    I’m sure you and the boy won’t mind the product of the practice. 😉

  2. lindsay said:

    thanks Joel! we’ve also used shortening instead of lard in the past, and I’ve definitely heard of more exciting liquids than water. A friend swears by something fizzy and neutral (Sprite/7-up), and I think it’d be fun to use cider for an apple pie next time.

    I’ve also had vinegar recommended to me as an ingredient for tenderness, so there may indeed be a pie-by-pie, crust-by-crust comparison happening in the future!

  3. Brett said:

    Well, nobody else is saying it: OM NOM NOM!!!

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