Hello friends! I desperately want to hang out and chat [so so so much to update you on!] but I have a handsome pilot that I’ve pretty much super-glued myself to and I’m going to kick off the weekend early! Whoo! Not to worry, I’ve left you in the best of hands. Stephie will not only feed you, SHE HAS PIE! That sort of makes her infinitely cooler than I. Friends, meet Stephie. Stephie, meet my blog peeps. Ok go be besties while P and I play catch-up and snuggle the chickpea!
Hello, loves! I am so excited to be guest posting for Jenn today and helping her out while she spends some much-deserved time with her family.
For those of you who don’t know me, I blog over at Stephie Cooks, where I share all manner of recipes, but – when it comes right down to it – I am truly a baker. And, as a baker, I want to take a few minutes today to talk to y’all about a topic very near and dear to my heart – PIE.
Yes, you just read that correctly. Pie. More specifically, pie crust! I know, this is a bit of an unusual topic around these parts where veggies reign supreme, but hang in there with me.
Pie is my favorite thing to eat and make, and as such I have spent a lot of time experimenting with pie crust – because a good pie starts with a good foundation, after all. So today, I would like to share with you my top 4 tips for a great pie crust:
- Diversify your portfolio fat: More specifically, consider using a combination of butter and shortening in your crust. Now, I come from Southern roots, so the idea of using shortening has never been outrageous to me. For those of whom are less sure about combining shortening and butter in your crust, consider this: Because shortening is 100% fat, it makes pie crust tender. Because butter contains 20% water (which creates steam when baked), it makes pie crust flaky. By using a little of both fats, you can achieve the perfect balance of flaky and tender, and an all-around more delicious pie crust. (If you are nerdy and want to know more about the science behind this, you can check out my shortening vs butter post.)
- Add some vinegar: This sounds weird, but a tablespoon of vinegar does worlds for helping make your pie crust more tender and flaky. This is because the vinegar helps hinder the formation of long strands of gluten, which is what makes pie crust tough! I promise, you won’t even taste it in the finished crust.
- Step away from the dough: Whatever you do, do not overwork your pie crust dough. The more you stir, knead, and generally mess with it, the more you will activate the gluten in the flour, which will create a tough, chewy crust. While this is delicious in, say, sourdough bread (where dough is kneaded for a long time in order to activate the gluten in the flour and create that chewy texture), in our pie crust? Not so much. Work it just enough to bring it together, and then step away.
- Keep it cold: Cold butter and ice cold water are key to creating a flaky pie crust that is easy to handle. Keep your ingredients cold, only removing from the refrigerator or freezer just before incorporating into your dough. If things start to get too warm or soft, throw the whole mess back into to refrigerator or freezer for a few moments to bring the temperature back down.
Still a little afraid of approaching your own pie crust? Never fear. Simply try my Flaky Tender Pie Crust recipe and refer to my step-by-step pie crust tutorial for guidance. I promise that all it takes is a little practice and patience to make the perfect pie crust for any pie.
Ok. So now that we’ve talked pie crust, fat, and general carb-filled things…you didn’t think I would leave you without any veggies (or fruits), did you? Of course not! Here are a few of my favorite pie recipes that rely on fruits and veggies as their base, so you can make sure you’re ingesting something besides just flour and sugar with your dessert:
- Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Pie: Leave off the streusel for a version with less sugar that is sure to be just as delicious.
- Sweet Cherry Pie: Use fresh or frozen cherries to make this twist on a cherry pie.
- Deep-Dish Crumb-Topped Apple Pie: With apple season in full swing, now is the perfect time to make this deep-dish version of America’s favorite pie.
- Perfect Rhubarb Pie: If you’re lucky enough to have frozen enough tart rhubarb to make this pie, you’re lucky enough.
And when in doubt, turn things savory and use your new-found pie crust skills to make a killer quiche, savory hand pie, or chicken pot pie. Believe me when I say that your family will love you.
Note from ze blogger: I hope you guys are as butt-crazy in love with Stephie as I am and visit her over at her blog. She’s beyond awesome and can bake like an absolute goddess! Oh AND she loves sweet potatoes! We were meant to be! Now it’s time for me to break out that superglue! Hope you guys follow suit and superglue yourself to someone [or something!] you love. Can I also superglue myself to one of these pies? Sweet potato please! With extra streusel! Ooh! AND this cranberry pumpkin cornbread: