the making of a pie

Making pies, or more precisely, making pie pastry was something I figured I would never master.  Much like I had mastered making bagels, pitas, buns, and pizza dough, yet couldn’t make a decent loaf of bread to save my life (until, of course, Kira shared her dutch oven method).  I have made many a tasty desserts, but shied away from pastry figuring I just didn’t have the special touch.

That all changed last fall when I happened upon the Martha Stewart Living Magazine iPad edition in which there was a short video of their tried and true method of pastry making.  Since then I have been making pies like crazy.  Curry spiced beef and veggie pie, chicken pot pie, even some tasty Jamaican patties.  With a few more tips and tricks from Ashley English’s book A Year of Pies, I have realized the art of building a pie from the ground up.

It has become my favourite thing to make and find myself in an almost meditative state while making one.  To be honest, I never really got people’s obsession with the pastry of things, as I grew up in a house where you ate the filling and left the pastry for dead because it was simply not worth eating.  You ate it to be polite.  With the little bit of knowledge I have gained over the past year I have mastered a pie crust that I will never leave behind.  Firstly, I learned that keeping it icy cold is not just a suggestion and that without a good food processor I would likely still not be able to make it.  Second, I learned that butter makes it taste wonderful (in fact, butter makes everything better, the end) and shortening makes it flaky so I find I like to use 3/4 butter and only 1/4 shortening.  And third, I like an egg wash finish sprinkled with a coarse sugar.

Pictured, are the two most recent pies I made.  One is a browned butter apple pie with lattice top and the other is a triple berry with lattice top.  Lattice tops are my new fave thing.  I honestly don’t use much of a recipe for the fillings and feel that simple if better for our tastes.

Afterwards, with the leftover pastry, I roll it out and let the kids go crazy with their cookie cutters, use a bit of the egg wash and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Next time though, I think we will have to make Nun’s Farts as suggested by Stephanie.

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  1. Posted August 14, 2013 at 9:24 am by Susan | Permalink

    Between my 10 year old’s pie and pets de soeur (nun’s farts) making and your post, I am inspired to attempt to master the art of pie making myself… never had much luck with crusts. :)

  2. Posted August 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm by laura | Permalink

    swap out the shortening for lard and you will never look back. it’s the secret!

  3. Posted August 25, 2013 at 11:47 pm by Lee | Permalink

    I read your words often, but have never said Hello or thank you. Today I enjoyed a big bunch of posts I had missed in our busy summer. Recently I’ve been feeling homesick (The Kawarthas) which is not a normal emotion for me as the Yukon has been a comfortable home for so long. I’m thankful to you for memories of Kawartha Dairy (gold medal ribbon how I crave thee!) bare bum babies in the flowers- a constantly repeated photo from my childhood. Solid Ontario furniture so frequently discarded and cheaply bought from yard sales and farm auctions (my husband curses these on moving days, but we question why people replace them with modern crap.) Berries, berries, berries warm and sweet in the sun. Apples with spots and imperfections. Peterborough zoo which is a true gem and a sanity saver every time we visit. And finally thank you for talking about the choices we make as parents and being true to ourselves and accepting evolving values. (wordy, grammatically and structurally incorrect…but true)

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