As easy as pie

I have been baking since I was nine.   Cakes, biscuits, cornbread, cookies and my specialty is pies.  Every kind of pie – pecan, pumpkin, apple, cherry, banana cream, coconut cream, plum, key lime – you name it.  My absolutely favorite pie is blueberry.

I made a blueberry pie the other day using Mooresville berries picked from my cousins’ bushes out in the back yard.

I found a pie crust recipe in the same cookbook that I used to cook from when I was a kid:

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For a double crust pie, preheat the oven to 400° and stir together:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cut in 2/3 cup shortening (or 1/3 cup shortening, 1/3 cup butter) with a pastry blender or two knives until pieces are the size of small peas.  Then, scrimble the dough between the flats of your fingers until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

Then sprinkle with 5 to 7 tablespoons ice water, one spoonful at a time.  Toss with a fork until the mixture holds together.  You will proabably not need all of the water so watch how the dough is shaping up. 

At this point, many recipes would have you refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax so that the crust doesn’t shrink when you bake it.  I employ an extra technique at this point that I learned from French cooking, frissage.

Take an egg-sized lump of dough in your hand, place it on the counter and smear it away from you.  Do this with all of the dough, then gather it back together.  This further mixes the dry and wet ingredients to give a dense crust.

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 Now refrigerate the pie dough for 30 minutes.

After the dough and I have relaxed, I get out my secret weapon:

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I roll half of my my dough out between two sheets of waxed paper until it is slightly larger in diameter than the pie pan.

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Then, I peel off the top layer of waxed paper and invert the flattened dough onto the pie pan and gently press it into place.

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Carefully peel away the remaining layer of waxed paper and Voila!

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The crust is ready to fill with much less hassle than rolling it out and managing to finesse it into the pan keeping it in one piece and without stretching it.

This time I have mixed together

  • 4 cups of Mooresville blueberries

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg

  • grated rind of one lemon

Once it is in the lined pan, I sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and dot with a couple of tablespoons of butter.

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I roll out the top crust, place over the top and seal and crimp the edges.  Then I cut in some air vents and brush it with beaten egg yolk.

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Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

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Great with Chantilly Cream

Mix whipping cream, pure vanilla flavoring and confectioner’s sugar.  Beat until soft peaks form. 

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