Get Your Pie Thing On
The season is here for making pie. I LOVE pie! I love it because it can be so many things. It can be a breakfast quiche, a luncheon of chicken pot pie, or a myriad of desserts. So what’s not to love about pie? Some would say pie is too difficult but really they say “Easy as pie” for a reason…it really is quick and easy to make.
A good crust has four things: solid fat like butter or shortening, flour, water, and salt. The fat and flour should be in a 2 to 1 ratio and for every cup of flour you’ll need 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cutting in the fat, I use a fork to shave off little curls of it (I always use shortening) until it’s whittled it down to nothing. Then I go around the bowl and smash up the bigger pieces against the sides of the bowl and swirl the bowl a bit to make really thin dough flakes. In the end the mixture should be loose and grainy not clumpy.
The tricky part is adding cold water…just enough to make the fat and flour come together and not ruin those flakes. The less you mess with it the better. I measure 3/4 cup icy cold water but I don’t always need all of it and I have never used more. I pour, toss it together, fold it up a few times, then push it into a tighter mass in the couture of the bowl. Another secret to flaky pie crust is to refrigerate the dough until it’s cold through and through. It behaves much better if you roll it when it’s really cold, plus it tends to stick less to the pin and the rolling surface.
For a two crust pie or two pies I use the following:
- 1 cup shortening
- 2 cups flour (plus about 1/4 cup while pinning)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup icy cold water
After the ingredients are combined as I mentioned above and refrigerated for at least a half hour, I pin out each half on a floured surface with a flour coated pin and roll out a reasonable circle. It needs to be at least an inch and a half larger than the diameter of the pie plate and of even thickness. Glass or ceramic plates work best I think.
To transfer it from the pinning surface to the plate, I lift up the edges to loosen it well, then fold it in half, in fourths, pick up the point, support the end, and move the point to the center of the pie plate. Now all I do is unfold, and ease the dough around the plate, making sure there are no pockets of air trapped between the plate and the dough. I trim extra ragged pieces at the edges to make a more even rim. If there is a thin place around the rim, I use the trimmed scraps to patch those spots. Now to make it Diva worthy, I use my finger, lay it diagonally across the rim, press, and go around the whole edge every inch or so that way to make a fluted ruffly pie crust of prettiness.
- 2 average size sweet potatoes, microwaved 7 minutes and cooled completely
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or plain cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- a pinch of salt
I preheat the oven to 350°, peel and chop the sweet potatoes into chunks, put them in the processor with the eggs, and run it until the mixture is absolutely smooth like thick pudding. I move this mixture to a larger bowl and add the brown sugar and all the other ingredients. With the electric hand mixer I blend everything together then pour it into my pie shell. This gets baked for 35 to 40 minutes. It is done when the center is barely domed and the crust is golden. As it cools it will flatten
Now that wasn’t so hard was it? The hardest part is finding a place in the ‘fridge to hide this thing while it cools. I have a feeling I’m going to be pretty popular after dinner tonight. I hope you will try this easy recipe too so get going…get your pie thing on this holiday season!