Meet Jessica Jensen. Don’t you love her photo just below? I believe she’s in Iceland there. She’s a world traveler, an attorney specializing in consumer banking regulatory compliance, a Marquette basketball season ticket holder, and my son’s girlfriend. When not working Jessica enjoys spending time with her friends, yoga, reading and of course cooking and baking. Jessica told me she enjoyed reading the posts from Smitten Kitchen. I had never heard of the blog till Jessica told me. We have not included the recipes here but used links to them on Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen site. The pie looks fabulous! Perfect for beginners.
Pie is one of my favorite special occasion items. My personal favorite is apple pie, but I think the best pie I’ve made recently is a Strawberry Rhubarb. The first time I made it was this summer, for my boyfriend’s birthday.
Step 1: The Crust
I think lots of people think pie crust is difficult or intimidating to make, but it’s really quite simple! There is nothing wrong with using the premade, unroll from the box curst either, but trust me, making your own is easy, tastes better, and makes it a more special dish.
I am a huge fan of the Smitten Kitchen blog, and her All Butter Really Flaky Pie Dough is my go-to pie crust recipe. It’s simple (just 4 ingredients), makes a dough that rolls out beautifully, and tastes incredible. I follow her instructions, except I cheat and use a small food processor to blend the dough, instead of using a pastry blender.
As noted in the recipe, the dough comes together so much better when you use COLD butter. I cut the butter into small cubes, and then throw it in the freezer for a few minutes while I’m assembling the rest of the ingredients.
Make the dough at least two hours before you want to assemble the pie, as it needs to chill for at least that long. I typically make it a day ahead of time, so I don’t have to worry about my timing.
In the past when I’ve made berry pie fillings, they have always been very runny, so while tasty, they are quite messy. Once again, Smitten Kitchen to the rescue! In her Strawberry Rhubarb pie, she makes the genius addition of tapioca. The tapioca soaks up the extra berry juice, without taking away any of the moisture or flavor.
Just toss everything in a bowl, give it a few stirs, and you’ve got some pie filling!
Rolling out the dough is the most stressful part of pie making (for me). For a two crust pie there are three assembly steps: 1) roll out the bottom crust, put in the pie dish 2) add in the filling, and 3) roll out the second put it on top.
I like to stay simple with the top crust, using a small cookie cutter to cut a small circular hole in the top, pinching the bottom and top crust edges together with a fork. I’ve made a lattice crust once, and it took me forever!!
The egg wash over the top gives a pie that crackly browned look, so while it’s not essential, it makes a pie look at least 50% more fancy. (OK, I made up that number, but I think it looks so beautiful!)
Step 4: Pie!
Put the pie in the oven, and bake!