Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My First Pie

Yes, this is it. My first real pie. In all its glory.
Isn't it beautiful? This here is a pear pie, with the recipe coming from the Great Baking Good Housekeeping Book. I'll share the recipe with you at the end of the post. And I'll share my pie experience with you....right here.
First step in pie making: the crust. Of course. This recipe is a simple mix of flour, salt, butter, shortening and ice water. I made enough for a double crust, and then refrigerated it in two (almost) even discs for a couple hours.
Then it was time to move on to the filling.
Mmmmmm pears. I chose pear because, I love pears and they're in season, and they're not apples. I mean, I love apples too, but I needed to branch out a little. So anyway, after dicing up the pears, (eating a few chunks), I tossed it with sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and cinnamon.
Fast forward a couple hours...And it's time to roll out the dough. Pie dough is very easy to roll out, so you don't get the muscles like when rolling out cookie dough or anything. Here you roll the dough out so its about 2 inches wider in diameter than the size of the pie plate plus its height times two. Get it? So you have about an inch overhang when you press it in. Mine worked out pretty well - it's important to have it be pretty uniform in thickness. So after pressing in the dough, and pouring in the filling, I rolled out the second disc and cut strips, layering them carefully over the filling. Here it is, right before baking.As the recipe recommended, I baked the pie on a cookie sheet in case the filling overflowed and bubbled over. It didn't really. It looks delicious now though. Must resist eating. And check out this little detail here. After I finished the lattice top, I couldn't resist fashioning a little pear out of the remaining dough. You could tell that was a pear, right? Right?
Anyway, I liked this pie, but it wasn't my shining achievement. The dough wasn't perfect - I don't know quite what the problem was - and it seemed bland and not very sweet, but the recipe didn't call for any sugar in the crust.
The filling was good, but it didn't slice up that easily or neatly. Not that I mind. But you might.
Please, tell me about your pies! I want to hear all the tips, stories, and disasters when it comes to pies. They are my new frontier. And I need your guidance.

Tip of the Day:
With any fruit pie recipe, you can substitute similar fruits for a different taste, or even mix complimentary fruits together to experiment. Try this recipe with plum, peach or even cherry. But make sure to adjust the sugar content.

Pie Crust:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1/4 cup shortening
4 to 6 tbsps ice water

Mix flour and salt, and with pastry blender or two knives cut in butter and shortening.
Sprinkle in ice water one tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork, until dough comes together.
Shape into two disks and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3 pounds pears, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter

Stir together pears, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and cinnamon.
Roll out dough and line 9 inch pie plate. Spoon filling into crust and dot with butter.
Roll out second disk and cut into strips. Layer on top of filling.
Bake pie on 425 for 20 minutes, then on 375 for 45 to 60 minutes.

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