Key Lime & Coconut

My adventures in the world of food & wine

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Life of Pie

Well, I'm back in Boston after an amazing week in Philadelphia with Joe. It was so relaxing, and I got quite a bit of satisfaction out of feeding Joe and his roommate. While I was in town I baked them not one but two delicious pies - pecan and apple. See, I really wanted to make a pie, but Joe didn't have a rolling pin. He ended up buying me one to keep in his apartment in exchange for my promise to bake him a pie every time I come visit. Of course I will gladly oblige. I even overcompensated this time by making more than one.

I used the same crust recipe for both pies because it turned out so very well the first time. It's flaky and buttery and everything a pie crust should be. The trick is to cut the butter into the dry ingredients the old-fashioned way, with a pastry blender. You could use a food processor, but I think that just creates more mess than it's worth, and really it's the uneven results of the handmade method that make the crust so good - the pockets of unincorporated butter in the dough are what create the flakiness. The other key thing to remember is to use very cold butter and to give the dough enough time to chill in the fridge before you roll it out and then again before you put the filling into it.

Both pies turned out spectacularly. The only other thing I should note is that no matter how badly you want to eat it right away, you have to let the pecan pie sit and cool for a few hours before you serve it. Otherwise, hot pie juice will gush out at you when you cut into it. It still tastes good, but no one wants liquid pie.

Pie Crust
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 c. ice water
Mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the dough chunks are the size of peas. Sprinkle on the ice water and blend just until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Turn the pastry onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 13-inch round. Ease the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate and trim the overhang to a half-inch. Crimp the edges decoratively. Refrigerate until firm.

Georgia Pecan Pie
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. dark corn syrup
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 oz. pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and salt. Whisk in the light and dark corn syrups, butter and vanilla until combined. Stir in the pecans. Pour the filling into the pie shell and arrange the pecans in a decorative pattern. Cover the rim of the pie with foil strips and bake the pie for 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is puffed but still slightly jiggly. Remove the foil strips and let the pie cool completely before serving.

Cinnamon Crumble Apple Pie

Filling ingredients:
  • about a half-dozen Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
Topping ingredients:
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. golden brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into half-inch cubes
  • vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 400. Mix all filling ingredients in large bowl to coat apples. Blend first 5 topping ingredients in processor. Add chilled butter cubes; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles wet sand. (You could also do this manually with a pastry blender.) Toss filling to redistribute juices; transfer to crust, mounding in center. Pack topping over and around apples. Bake pie on baking sheet until topping is golden, about 40 minutes (cover top with foil if browning too quickly). Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until apples in center are tender when pierced and filling is bubbling thickly at edges, about 45 minutes longer. Cool until warm, about 1 hour. Serve with ice cream.

P.S. Just to prove that I didn't make ONLY junk food this week, a picture of Tuesday night's dinner - beef rib-eye and vegetable stew with homemade buttermilk biscuits.

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Blogger Lydia said...

Both pies look delicious!

8:02 AM  
Blogger katiez said...

Yeah, the stew's nice...but I want the pies, hot or not!
Lucky guys!

4:43 PM  
Blogger JB said...

Becky - thanks so much for stopping by my blog. When I'm done working my ass off for the man I'll have time to try some of those delicious pie recipes. Thanks

10:10 AM  
Blogger eatme_delicious said...

Mmm homemade buttermilk biscuits, I have to try those! And the top of that cinnamon crumble apple pie looks so good and like it would be crispy and perfectly crumbly.

11:06 AM  

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