Monday, October 27, 2008

W8ing 4 pie; trying 2 connect...

That's the headline I wrote last night, clumsily tapping my little iPhone screen with my fat thumb, after many fruitless attempts to connect my laptop to the internet. Hoping to write instead one tap at a time, I soon discovered that I wasn't able to access what I needed via iPhone, and gave up, frustrated, but at least I had some pie to ease my disappointment. The iPhone is a wonderful piece of technology, but despite what I once suspected, it cannot do everything.

Reunited with my kitchen at last, I decided to celebrate by baking a hearty apple pie. I love making (and eating) pie. Anne Cori at Kitchen Conservatory makes the best pies, and before my last day working there, she gave me a much-treasured lesson on pie perfection. I love that pie dough can be challenging, but also forgiving. My pies never look like beauty queens; I patch them together and they always taste great.

I was surprised to see an issue of Everyday Food in my mailbox yesterday - I thought my subscription had expired long ago. As it was their November "Thanksgiving" issue, of course there was a section attributed to pie-making. I flipped through, curious to see what Martha had to say on the subject. I haven't yet seen any other recipes that compare to the one I was taught. Most recipes call for butter. Some do call for shortening. Anne uses an equal combination of butter and shortening - for an equal one-two punch of tenderness and flakiness - which is how I also make my chocolate chip cookies. In Martha's recipe, I saw the word "food processor" and nearly dropped the magazine.

Anne frequently teaches classes on pie-making, which I highly recommend. But if you are unable to make the trip to St. Louis, here are a some pie tips:
  • Use a pastry blender to be sure you are still leaving dime-sized chunks of butter in your dough. You should be able to see it.
  • Only drizzle as much ice water that will allow the dough to just come together. Don't knead or over mix.
  • Chill dough for at least 1/2 hour. Cold dough + hot oven = good pie. I also like to chill the pie plate for when I piece my pie together later. I am a s l o w p o k e.
  • Only roll out the dough once. Mine is never perfect, and I always end up patching it together.
  • Dust the extra flour off the dough. It won't cook, and won't add any flavor. I do this with my pizza dough, too.
  • Try using potato starch for your filling. The flavor is more neutral than corn starch, and will allow your fruit to shine.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Thank you! Be sure to make lots of pies next week!