Learning how to bake for me was not always so idyllic. You’ll quickly catch on to this if you read my first blog. I learned the hard way – by myself, through trial and error.
The first time I made a pie, it was like a mammoth pimple with an ungodly slime (which was the sorry excuse for the filling), that oozed out from every crevice of the crust. It was impossible to cut through with a fork and too leathery to chew. Epic failure. The second time it looked better but the scalloped crust had shrunk and the filling ended up all over the bottom of the oven. There was also an inch-high pool of juice in my pie pan after I cut a slice. Consecutive attempts continued to render fails. At times, the pie would look like a fruit geyser, or the dough would fall apart in my hands while crimping the edge. But without fail, the crust was always tough and leathery when chewing. I didn’t get it. I could bake so many other things with such ease and success. Why was pie so hard to make?
With each and every attempt, I’d swear and curse and just want to give up. By week two, my family would come home to the smell of pie and gag. I tried multiple recipes, some with butter, some with shortening, some with lard and some with a mix. (I have yet to try with oil.) I followed the instructions accurately on each recipe, but clearly something was amiss. “Easy as pie?” Probably the world’s most misleading idiom . Pie is NOT easy.
On what I believed was my last attempt, I was in a zombie-like state. It had been a couple weeks of rolling, refrigerating, waiting. By now I had the pie crust recipe and instructions memorized and my mind and hands relaxed. I stopped stressing if the butter chunks were the right size; if I was using too much water or if I was handling the dough too much. I stopped obsessing if my bowl was chilled, my butter chilled, my pastry cutter chilled, chilled, chilled… I simply let go and let my hands go into cruise control. Almost every recipe I came across told me not to over-work the dough, and to chill everything. Did I mention to chill everything? And I had followed these instructions with fervent diligence. But not this time.
While the crust chilled a couple days in the fridge, I made the filling. I pan fried the apple filling and let in cool before popping it in the fridge to cool completely. Later that day, I assembled the pie and set it in the oven. As tempting as it was to open the oven door, I let the pie be.
The timer went off. This was the moment of reckoning. With immense patience, I let the juices settle and absorb (about an hour). Not a moment too soon, I of course immediately dived into it with a fork. Finally. The perfect pie. The crust was flaky with a rich buttery flavour. There was some juice but not an ocean at the bottom of my pie pan. But really, for me, the victory was that the crust wasn’t leathery. It was perfect.
Its been many pies since the original trials and tribulations, but I eventually got the hang of it. So take solace in that you’re not alone. And remember the secret tip is to chill… not so much the ingredients but chill yourself. And I promise, pie will become easy as pie.
Apple Raspberry Pie with Pistachio
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INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST
- 3 Cup (400 g) AP Flour
- 1 1/2 Cup (340g) Unsalted butter Cold
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup ice water
- 1/4 cup (30 g) chopped pistachios
- 1 Egg (to wash crust)
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (optional) to sprinkle after egg wash
INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for frying)
- 5 Apples (about 400 g) Granny smith
- 1 Pack (170 g/ 6 oz) Fresh raspberries
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon All-spice
- 3 table spoons cornstarch
- 3/4 (150 g) Cup brown sugar
- Grate the butter with a box grater (larger hole), put in ziplock and pop in freezer for about 20-30 minutes
- Rip out a long sheet about 20 inches of parchment paper and fill a misting bottle with cold water and set aside
- Sift the AP flour and salt in large bowl, add the butter (after it's chilled for 30 minutes in the freezer)
- Toss with a fork until its mixed evenly.
- Add a table spoon at a time of the cold ice water and gently mix with fork working quickly.
- Dump everything into a pile on the parchment paper
- Using the parchment paper, fold the dough over itself, several times until each side has been folded over... all the while misting with cold water on the dry spots.
- Eventually the dough will become somewhat integrated...
- Work quickly and keep in mind seeing chunks of butter is a good thing. As well, a few mildly dry spots is okay as well. You don't want to overwork the dough
- Once the dough pretty much stays together, cut in half and form discs
- Double wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours
- Peel, core and slice (about 1 cm thickness or to your liking) apples
- Turn stove top on medium high and add about 2 tablespoons of butter to a pan
- Once the pan has warmed up and the butter has melted, add the apple slices
- Then add the all-spice and cinnamon and stir well
- After some juices have formed from apples, add the sugar and mix
- Add cornstarch and mix thoroughly
- Continue to cook and mix over heat for another 5 minutes or so until the apples have softened and the liquids have thickened.
- Spread apples out onto tray or large bowl, allow to cool before covering with plastic and popping in fridge for at least a couple hours or overnight
- Take pie discs out from fridge about 10 minutes before rolling.
- Roll on a lightly floured cool counter
- Start from the centre and roll outwards once, rotating dough so that it doesn't stick on bottom
- Roll until the dough measures about 14 inches for a 9 inch pie plate/pan
- Loosely roll onto your pin and unroll carefully onto your pie plate/pan
- Add the fresh raspberries to the chilled apple filling mixture bowl, and give it a gentle mix
- Fill the bottom crust with the fruits
- Cut any excess crust thats more then 1 inch beyond the pie pan lip
- Take the remaining crust, fold and tuck under to form a thick lipped edge (keep in mind the edges will shrink somewhat after baking)
- (NO LATTICE PIE - just regular pie...follow the same instructions as the bottom crust only this time make it about 10-11 inches in diameter. Brush some egg wash on the bottom crust edge before placing top pie dough on. Crimp the edges by making your thumb push in the crust towards your other hands index and thumb. Or an easier way to close the pie off is by indenting with a fork all the way around the pie. Make sure to poke some holes with your fork to allow for steam to escape while baking. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with crushed pistachio and turbinado )
TO MAKE LATTICE CRUST
- While you're cutting the lattice top, pop the pie pan with the fruit and bottom crust back into the fridge
- Roll the lattice top out to about 14 inches
- Taking a ruler, measure out 1 inch strips and cut with a pizza cutter or sharp knife
- Lay about 7 strips vertically folding back every other (half of them)
- Then lay one horizontal strip, lay down the folded ones
- Fold back the vertical strips that weren't initially folded this time and lay another horizontal strip, then lay down the folded strips...continue this until the pie lattice is completely done. (please refer below for a helpful Youtube video...they're not my own (videos is my next project) however it's helpful 🙂
- Brush the crust with egg wash
- Sprinkle with some crushed pistachio and turbinado
- Cover the crust edges with foil
- Bake in a preheated oven with a tray on the middle rack at 425F for about 25 minutes
- Drop the temperature to 350F, remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Totally about 50 minutes to an hour.
- Let cool for about an hour before slicing/serving.
- Heres a link to a King Arthur video to help with a lattice. The pie I baked here is a braided lattice.. For this, you'd just make 6 of the strips about half an inch rather then an inch to have two braids both vertically and horizontally
STEMS & FORKS https://www.stemsandforks.com/