From time to time I make pie, though as of late (the last year or so) I have been having a rough time with pie crust. Sometimes it would shrink too much while baking and other times it “melted” into a pool in the bottom of the pie plate. One occasion was so bad that I actually had to buy a frozen crust. Yes I admit it, I bought a pre-made pie crust. For those that know me you can understand the gravity of that statement, I pride myself on making things from scratch, but in this instance I was in a pinch. The pie turned out alright, luckily it was a pie that had a lot going on with the filling so the crust was merely a delivery method.
Last week I found Bubby’s Homemade Pies by Ron Silver and Jen Bervin on the New Book shelf at my library. It’s an entertaining read, one of the few books that I have actually read the introduction to. In addition to an illustrated primer on the basics they have some AMAZING recipes. I am pretty sure that Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Sauce and Candied Pecans as well as Apple Ginger Honey pie will be making an appearance at this years Thanksgiving. But this time I opted to stick to something a little more basic. Searching in the kitchen revealed some crisp slightly tart apples and my decision was made. I used the All Butter Pastry-Pie Dough recipe, just an everyday recipe, nothing notably different then others I have tried. The trick is to keep it cold. Which I know is nothing new, but even though it was a chilly day in my kitchen I kept placed the dough back in the refrigerator after every action. The results speak for themselves. Is it possible to have pie crust TOO flakey?
After chilling my dough I rolled it out into a rectangle and but it into four rectangles. I probably could have gotten six but I didn’t want to overwork the dough. I then place the dough in the fridge while I made the filling. I didn’t have a recipe, but just added what I usually do to apple pie.
1 crisp apple diced
2 T butter
pinch of salt
2-3 t cinnamon
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
2 T brown sugar
1-2 T flour
Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat till melted, add in the apple and cook still slightly softened. Then reduce heat to low and add the remaining ingredients. Stirring to combine. Let thicken slightly. Pull cut crusts out and proceed to dividing the filling between the pastry. Moisten the edges with water and fold over. Crimp the edges with a fork and brush the tops with an egg wash. I choose to then sprinkle the tops with some large granulated sugar. And don’t forget to use a sharp knife to vent the tops!
I put them back in the fridge for about 10 minutes before placing them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. They are done when the tops are beautifully brown and the edges look flakey. Make sure you let them cool so the filling sets up or else it will be runny!
Important note:: my oven is incredibly unreliable so your cooking time will probably differ!
So in the end I have learned a valuable lesson, always, ALWAYS keep the pie dough cold. Then only comment from Matt as he inhaled the handpies was that they could be a little sweeter! But all in all they were a success.