Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pie on the Brain

In preparation for Thanksgiving, this past weekend I taught a class called "How to be a Pie Ninja".  30 people showed up and we had a blast sharpening our pie making skills and demystifying the art of pie dough. The best part of the class was watching each group of people decide on the spices, fillings and decoration for their pies. It was wonderful to see people getting comfortable with the process of making a pie from scratch, a task that can seem intimidating to some. Really, when it comes down to it, if you can follow a recipe you can make pie, and if you do it a few times you start to see what works and what doesn't. The best part is, pie makes people happy, and it doesn't have to look pretty to taste good. We donated these 6 pies to Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen for their holiday meal.
Here are some links to some of my pie recipes, and our pie party from last winter. My favorite pie dough recipe is linked below as well.

Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie
Peach and Raspberry Pie
Pie Party 2011

Life has been so busy this year, that I haven't been able to post the dozens of ideas I wanted to share about food for the Thanksgiving meal. For some Thanksgiving inspiration, check out our table from 2009, or 2010.

Here are a few wonderful links to pie obsessed bloggers that I have enjoyed, not to mention some excellent recipes:
A cool blog,, where a nyc family celebrated 'pie month':
A great article from Melissa Clark on pie doughs, and some great pie recipes as well.

The Best Pie Dough
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (1 cup white flour plus 1/4 cup or more whole wheat flour or wheat germ)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar (white or cider)

   1. Make the pie dough: Cut butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Measure and sift all of the dry ingredients. In a mixer, food processor or using two forks,  cut the butter into the dough until it is the size of larger peas. Some larger sized piece of butter are good, just pinch them flat. Add the ice water and vinegar and mix dough till combined, dough should be tacky, but not sticky. If the dough is crumbling apart, it is too dry, add a spoonful more water. Gently form the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour or longer until well chilled.

   2. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to an 11-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish and trim the overhang to 3/4 inch; fold the overhang under itself and crimp decoratively. Prick the bottom of the pie shell all over and refrigerate until firm.

   3. Line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edge. Remove the foil and the weights and bake for about 12 minutes longer, or until the pie shell is golden brown and cooked on the bottom. Cover the rim of the pie shell with foil when it starts to brown. Leave the oven on.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

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