Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lessons on Pie

vegan pie crust
Yesterday, my friend Jenn came over to teach me how she makes pie crust.  We were skeptical at first about the making of a vegan pie crust, but as you can see, it turned out beautifully.  I am now a little bit obsessed with pie.  The possibilities are endless!  I have visions of savory and sweet pies.  Pies made from fresh fruit, dried fruit, cheeses, herbs, pies with leaves, and pies with hats, pies with birds, and pies with UNICORNS!!!
The great thing about pie is that it can be filled with just about anything your heart desires.  The not so great thing about pie is that it makes just about everything infinitely more unhealthy.  I'm going to have to walk a lot of dogs to work off this hobby.
Jenn made a balsamic strawberry pie with a basil crust:
balsamic strawberries

The final outcome:

I made a blueberry-peach pie with cinnamon and ginger:

Jenn forgot her pie birds when she came over, so we made our own out of foil.  I think next time, I will make slits instead.  I didn't like having a hole in the middle of my pie.  I will probably also invest in some pie birds of my own.
blueberry peach pie
So, let's begin the lesson.
It's a good idea to make the dough first, as it needs to chill out in the fridge for a bit.
6 oz (12 Tbs) VERY COLD margarine (I used earth balance)
2 oz (4 Tbs) VERY COLD shortening
12 oz (2 cups) flour
1 tsp salt (can be cut in half or even eliminated if using a salted margarine)
1/2 cup ice water
1.  Combine flour and salt in food processor  (pulse once)
2.  Add butter (cut into tablespoon size chunks).  Pulse until mealy (about 5-8 times).  Do NOT over processes.
3.  Add shortening (also in small chunks)  Again, pulse just until mealy.
4.  Add ice water about one tablespoon at a time.  You do not necessarily need all of it.  You want it to be just barely enough.  Pulse after each tablespoon is added.  You can alternatively use a  spray bottle to add the water.  Stop adding water as soon as the dough forms and clings in one big lump on the side of the processor.  DON'T add too much water or you will have to start over.
5.  Form dough into a ball.  Divide in half.  Wrap the two discs in plastic wrap or put into ziplock bags.  Refrigerate for 30 mins-2 hours before rolling out.
6.  Make your filling
7.  On a floured surface, roll out dough into two large circles.  Starting at the far edge, roll the dough onto your rolling pin.  Unroll it over your pie plate.  Trim edges.  Brush with coconut oil.  Place in 400 degree oven for about 5 mins.  Remove from oven.  Add filling.  Cover with top dough circle.  Be sure to cut some slices into it or use a pie bird so it doesn't explode.  Decorate as desired. Brush with coconut oil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 mins until crust is starting to brown or until middle begins to bubble over the edge.
8.  If the crust isn't brown yet, you can always brush it with more oil and place under the broiler for 30 seconds or so.  WATCH IT.  It will burn really fast and the coconut oil will smoke quickly.  Keep the door open and rotate it until desired color is reached.
9.  Cool completely on wire baking rack.  It will be a mess if you cut into it before it is completely cooled.  Be patient.  Leave the house if you have to.  Do whatever it takes.
10.  Enjoy your pie!

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penny for your thoughts?