Tag Archives: pie

Probably not perfect pie crust

19 Mar

March 14th was Pi Day!  3.14, get it?  I love pie but don’t take the time to make it very often.  Nate and I had just picked up some frozen organic blackberries to stock the freezer with; what better way to use them than in a pie?

As I was looking online, I found a number of pie crust recipes that claimed to be the “perfect pie crust.”  I’m not sure how there can be so many different perfect pie crust recipes.  You would think that some of them would only be “amazing” or “wonderful,” but not quite perfect.

But I digress.

I had been eying the Pioneer Woman’s pie crust recipe for a while because it’s supposed to be super flaky, a trait that I most enjoy in my crust.  The key is a tablespoon of white vinegar, which you aren’t able to taste in the final product.  I had intended to follow the PW recipe to the letter but it’s a shortening crust.  We didn’t have any shortening in the house, but we did have a pound of organic unsalted butter in the freezer that I snapped up while it was on sale.

So, I searched out found a perfect all-butter crust recipe on Simply Recipes.  This recipe suggested smooshing the dough (this is a technical cooking term ala Meggie) on your counter to achieve maximum flakiness.  I was feeling lazy so I couldn’t help but think, what if I just replace a tablespoon of water with a tablespoon of vinegar instead?

Blackberry pie with lattice crust

Thus, the crust for this pie was adapted from these two “perfect” pie crust recipes.  Because of that, you could probably consider it to be double perfect, although realistically it’s probably not really perfect but merely wonderful and amazing.

For the filling, I mostly followed this recipe for blackberry pie.  I added extra lemon zest and juice because we like things tart around here and used vanilla extract instead of almond.

Slice of blackberry pie with lattice top

This was my first attempt at a lattice pie crust and I’m quite pleased with myself and the results.  We drizzled a little good half-and-half over the pie, but vanilla ice cream or whipped cream would be, well… perfect!

Mother hubbard squash pie

13 Jan

Baked hubbard squash pie with a pie crust decoration of the state of Oregon with a heart cut out of the middle.

“Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.”

I’m familiar with this old Mother Goose nursery rhyme but I’m not sure what, if any, connection it has to the mighty and delicious (or should that be mighty delicious?) hubbard squash.  We planted one hubbard squash plant this past summer, which should have yielded several squash.  Due to an unfortunate (but understandable) mix-up of the hubbard with a globe zucchini plant, we ended the growing season with only one full-sized hubbard squash.

A diptych with two photos of a bearded man with plastic framed glasses holding a large, green, hubbard squash. In the second photo, he is tossing it in the air.

Due to the “rarity” of homegrown winter squash at our house, it was of utmost importance that we put it to good use by fully utilizing its deliciousness.  I’m not sure why, then, I decided to use it as the filling in my first fully-homemade pie, considering that homemade pie crust is infamously finicky and difficult to get “just right.”  Now, I’d made several pies before, but always with store-bought crust.  Any purists out there may be scoffing at me, but honestly those Pillsbury refrigerated crusts aren’t half bad.  And they save a ton of time, as I found out from this cooking session.

Start to finish, it took me several hours to make a single pie.  That said, some of the extra time was due to using fresh squash rather than stuff from a can.  I peeled the squash, chopped it, roasted it in the oven, and then pureed it in the food processor.  The cool thing about making a squash pie is that from this point on you can follow any standard pumpkin pie recipe.

Image of a piece of pie crust cut into the shape of Oregon with a small heart cut out of the middle.

Back to the crust.  I followed the single crust recipe in The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  One of the benefits of making your own crust is that you have the freedom to be more creative.  A trick that my dearest Momma often uses to add some visual pizzazz to her pies is to cut a shape out of the leftover crust.  She often adorns her pies with dainty little pie crust leaves and swirling vines.

Not wanting to be too much of a copy-cat (and, quite frankly, doubting my ability to handle something so fragile), I instead free-handed a rendition of my second favorite Oregon iconography.  Baked on a cookie sheet until brown, this tasty treat waited on the counter until the rest of the pie was finished baking.

Baked hubbard squash pie with a pie crust decoration of the state of Oregon with a heart cut out of the middle.

Upon first taste, I found the pie to be a great success.  If you’ve never had a pie with homemade squash or pumpkin, you’re really missing out.  I don’t want to be a culinary elitist; pie made with canned pumpkin is perfectly decent and I doubt you’d ever see me turn down a slice.  That said, once you try the alternative it’s difficult to go back.  As far as the crust goes, the critic in me thinks that it could have been flakier but I didn’t receive a complaint from any of my taste-testers.  In fact, people cleaned their plates!

While I’m on the topic, what’s the plural of squash?  Is it also squash?  I’m guessing that it isn’t “squashes” but I could be persuaded otherwise!