Over the last couple of days, I have discussed Thanksgiving plans with a few different people. When talking about Thanksgiving plans, the conversation turned to making pies. They commented they didn’t know how to make the perfect pie, so they were going to order them. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with ordering a pie or any other dessert. It can cut down on time in the kitchen so you can focus on other Thanksgiving flavors.
However, I know that you really, really want to make the perfect pie. It isn’t as hard as you may think. The buttery crust, the rich filling, can’t you just taste your grandma’s pie? You can certainly appreciate the time and effort of family dinners of yesteryear. You can recreate that. Really.
Now, I am well aware there are many, many tips on the internet on how to bake the perfect pie. I’m sure Martha Stewart and Paula Dean have great tutorials. I’m not them; I’m not a pie making expert. (I make a whole lot less money than they do, too.) :-) However, I am just a simple home baker who thought she couldn’t make her own pies without a store bought crust. Then I actually tried making a pie, cut up butter and all. Delicious. Simple. Easy.
Here are some simple tips that will help you on your path to pie baking success.
Buy A Food Processor
There are a few appliances I don’t think I would ever want to not have in my kitchen. The Food Processor is one of them. I didn’t have one for a long time and got one just a few years ago. I’m not sure what the specific reason was I wanted it, but I know it wasn’t for making pies. Do you need a food processor to make a good pie crust? Oh, of course not. However, it works well, it cuts the butter well and it takes the guess work out of the crust making. If you want, you can certainly do the fork, water and dough on the side of the bowl way. It is a good way, I have done it myself. I just appreciate my food processor.
Always Use Real Butter
Some recipes call for shortening. I personally would rather use butter. Do not use margarine. I’ll admit, I have used margarine when I wanted to make a pie spur of the moment and real butter was not to be found in my house. I don’t feel the pie turned out as well. It worked in a pinch, but I would use butter for company. Safer that way. :-)
Cold Butter Is A Happy Pie
Cold butter creates a flaky pie. Now, can your pie be non-flaky and be an okay pie? Of course. But a flaky pie is an impressive pie. (Starting to see how Grandma did it, aren’t you?)
Only Roll Chilled Dough
The only dough you want to roll out when making a pie is a chilled dough. Plan ahead and know you need to let your dough sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before rolling it out. When you roll out your dough, start in the center and roll outward. Now, if you are like me and have rolling out issues, do know, the shape you roll your dough out will not make or break your pie. Unless you roll it out in a funny triangle shape. That would be a problem. As long as the pie dough is a circle-ish shape, you will be fine! You have to trim off the edges anyway! (More later on what to do with those yummy pie crust edges.)
Oh, the filling. Apple, blueberry, pumpkin, lemon, chocolate, the possibilities are indeed, endless. Since we are having a Thanksgiving/Christmas theme here, we will talk about apple pies. In my post on baking pies with my daughter, I gave you the recipe for apple pie. Apple pie takes a little bit of work, but it is easy work. Peeling the apples is probably the most time consuming.
The Crust Edges
So you rolled out the pie dough and you made the careful transfer to the pie pan (wrap it around the rolling pin, works every time! Well, most of the time.) ;-) You put your wonderful filling in the crust. You now have to put the other crust on and trim it to fit. Just run your knife around the outer edge of the pan to take off the extra dough. Pinching the ends of the dough together to seal it, can be a bit tricky. Just stick with the fork smash. Take a fork and press down around the outer edges of the pie, sealing the edges. Now what to do with the extra dough? Well, you need to eat it, of course! Take the pie dough scraps and put a cinnamon sugar mixture on them. Roll them up like a cinnamon roll and bake for 6-8 minutes. Always a kid pleaser.
Did I convince you to try making your own pie yet? Don’t let the first time you make a pie be the night before your family gathering. You will be nervous, flustered and under pressure to make the perfect pie. Try making a test pie. Your family won’t mind. Find out what works, what doesn’t and you will be ready for the big day.
What is your favorite pie? Do you have any tips and tricks you want to share?
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