Posts tagged crust
Apple Pie
Pie Love
The first baking thing I mastered is apple pie. I mean most pies are a variation on a theme, so if you can get a pie crust down and the fundamentals of filling the pie you are good to go.

Honestly, my mother who is not the kitchen kind of mom who was raised by a not a kitchen kind of mom recited the recipe for pie crust as the golden standard when I was in my teens. I was so startled by her knowing this nugget of information that I can tell you where we were when it happened.

In a world where people want a better, easier, healthier, etc. ways to do things, this is the old standard. I'm not going to lie and say that I've not been tempted with replacing some water with vodka or using a different fat, but this is the best tasting recipe. Period. And the ingredients aren't fancy.

Pie Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3-4 tablespoons water

Double by 2.25 for a double crusted 10 inch, deep pie pan. The recipe easily gives you one standard issue 9 inch crust.

In a roomy bowl toss the flour and salt together lightly. Add the shortening. Take your time here and cut the shortening into the flour. Make sure there are no lumps, you can even rub the flour and shortening together so long as you move quickly and don't let the mixture get too warm from your hands. Add 3 tablespoons water and toss lightly. Take a walnut sized piece and squeeze it together. If it doesn't hold easily add additional water. Form into a disc. Chill 30 minutes.

Roll between 2 sheets of parchment. Loosen the pie dough from the parchment as you roll it flat. Flip it into the pan as quick as you can.

Apple Pie Filling
1 lemon
3 pounds apples, less one you eat to see how much sugar is needed. Peel and core
3/4 cup sugar, more if the apple is very sour
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Juice the lemon in a big bowl. Peel and core the apples, tossing in the lemon juice as you go. You can get all up into which apples are good for what but Golden Delicious are readily available and they make good pie. Add the sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Toss thoroughly.

Apple filling ready to be topped.
Pour apples into pie shell. Dot with butter. Top with a second pie crust.Flute the edges.

2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon sugar, AA big fatty crystals if you have them.

Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut slits or get decorative with vents in the top of the crust. One tip for bakers wanting to look a little more fancy than average, buy some giant crystal white sugar and top things you bake with it. It adds sparkle and a little something that elevates your baking.

Fluted and sugared
I put the pie pan on a cookie sheet line with a piece of the parchment I used to roll the crust. This catches the drips and makes for easy clean up.

Do you have a recipe you know by heart?
Pâte Sablée or Tart Crust
I sometimes reference the fact that I worked as a baker once upon a time. Who knew I was falling in love on the early mornings when I was a mere babe, only 20 years old?

It was then that I felt kinship to a group of unknown people who came before me. And I'm not talking about crazy Joe who worked in the kitchen, taping off his piece of the work bench, marking his territory, keeping his colleagues out of his space and wiping up an errant spray of flour quickly. I like a twitch of OCD in my kitchen people but he was barely tolerable on the spectrum of tidiness.

No, I'm talking about the folks who ages ago found the magic in butter, flour, eggs, cream and sugar. The masters who created pastries in kitchens without electricity or refrigeration. Often I would think they too welcomed the morning with flour on their strong forearms and mealy sweat on the back of their necks. They, like me, were busy before the rest of world, ready with something delicious out of the oven and a hot cup of coffee for the newly awaken. I love those people.

There was a tart we made then. Honestly, I didn't know that it was anything special until I left and I tried to find a recipe. We used a Pâte Sablée which is crumbly when you make it. It was difficult to find ours as it had cooked egg yolk in the dough. It adds a tenderness. Most recipes don't have the cooked egg. I was shocked. I thought they all did! Looking for recipes I finally came across one that I could use as a starting place. 

12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 hard-boiled large egg yolk
2 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups white flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Push the hard-boiled egg yolk through a sieve and stir the raw egg yolk and vanilla into it. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until blended.
Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and stir until blended. Shape the dough into a disc (it will be very soft), wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least an hour, more time if you can.

Roll and line an 11 inch tart pan. Bake blind at 350 for 10ish minutes.

At the place where I baked, we'd line the shell with chocolate, fill with pastry cream, top with fruit and glaze. It really was all that.

How many times have you come across something only to find it was special after it was long out of your life? Lucky me to be able to recreate this little piece of my special history.