July 29, 2010

Pie Making Tips

Apple pie just screams summer, doesn't it?  Ironic because apples are technically not in season until a bit later in the year, but who's checking?  I have the good fortune to have come from a long line of good cooks, and my best recipe is my Apple Pie.  Why is it good?  The crust, people... it's all about the crust.  Modified just a bit from my mom's version, it is the epitome of flaky, crusty, drooling, unbelievable goodness.   No seriously, you'll never buy a store bought crust again, and if you do, I'll have to un-friend you on Facebook.

As an avid foodie and watcher of the Food Network and the all new Cooking Channel, I have been recently dismayed to see a few of my favorite chefs (Rachel Allen & Ina Garten) making crusts for their own apple pies using a food processor.  Really??  To make a homemade crust really flaky, you have to use use your hands... it's all about the love!

Cold cold cold ingredients are crucial as well, especially your fat products (ie. shortening).  I refrigerate mine a few hours before I make the crust and if I'm feeling extra ambitious, I refrigerate the dry products as well (flour, salt, etc.)  Ice water completes the crust and brings the ingredients togeter.  Ideally, you'll see pinky-nail-size globs of shortening in your completed crust.  Those globs will later become your previously mentioned flaky goodness, so no need to fret.  Last, just in case you missed the 'cold cold cold' emphasis, wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.  You really can't go wrong. 

Here are a few pics of the latest pies, Apple and Cherry.  The cherry was a newer attempt, and as you can probably tell, my lattice crust needs a bit more practice.  Andrew says this picture looks like a bloody zombie pie.  Thanks babe.

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