Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pie. It's what's for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch.

Friday's baking lab found me with a working camera battery and pie. Three pies, to be exact. We had three hours to make three pies. I was done first. No comment. Because of the instructor, a lot of people have been dropping the class. Unfortunately, it's almost all of the good people. So, I am left with people like the grandmother of 8 who forgot to put flour in her cookies and the Art Institute drop out who asked why we don't use baking soda in bread three weeks into class. Sweet. I spoke to another one of my chefs before Fall Break about this instructor. He offered to speak to the department head. Apparently, I am not the only one who has complained. The good news is that she won't be back to teach again. But I digress.

Here are my pies.

Apple pie (My illustrious instructor was kind enough to demo on MY pie how to cut the top. This was not my decision. Thus is the problem of being finished first.)

Cherry pie

Coconut cream pie

I brought home the coconut cream pie. I shared a piece with Mary Jane and have been powering through the rest. My love for pastry cream is strong. I make good pie. I make good pie crust too!

Pie crust is deceptively simple to make and homemade tastes infinitely better than store-bought. You mix a lower-gluten flour with a little sugar and a little salt. Cut in the butter. Add just enough ice cold water to bring it together. Roll. Done. You have pie. I suggest adding a little sugar to a dough to be used for savory pies as it helps in browning. It will not make the dough sweet, but it looks nicer.

I found this detailed recipe on Epicurious for pie dough. The only thing I'd do differently is to add maybe two teaspoons of granulated sugar to the flour as well, again, for color, not taste.

I don't recommend making the dough in a food processor since you have a lot less control. I really do prefer to mix and knead my doughs by hand. I find I have a better sense of when it's ready with my hands than by sight or smell. This pie crust recipe would be great for a chicken pot pie too! We've got some serious fall weather going on here. That would be great today.

I encourage you all to try pie dough soon! Report back with the results! I'd love to hear how it goes!

Speaking of going, here's what's left!

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