Monday, March 19, 2012

Working On My Pie Skills

Making pies has never been a strong suit of mine.This is because I always have issues with pastry or fillings;however I know there are people just like me struggling with some baking aspect.So recently I said to myself,  I must start practicing on my pie making skills and not be embarrassed by my mistakes.So from all that confidence, I made this very apple pie you see above.Now it wasn't the best that it could be and I had some troubles along the way.But I'm getting closer to my goal.

For this apple pie,I had a easy time preparing the apple filling.There was only four ingredients needed in the recipe and I even adapted it by using frozen apples that were thawed instead of fresh. I do recommend fresh apples to be used, but frozen is your second best choice.Now I knew from  using thawed apples I would run into a filling that's more watery. So I made the choice to bake the pie for 5-10 minutes prior to adding the filling to avoid a under baked crust.This helped quite a bit.

Now for the pastry, I didn't use their recommended recipe in the book. I used 2 rounds of the large batch of homemade pastry my mom made.They were frozen for future use. So I thawed two for a couple hours before starting the apple pie.

Once I got started with the pastry I had some difficulty with the bottom later. While rolling it out it didn't turn out as round as I hope and it became an awkward shape.Now I know you shouldn't work with pastry to much, so I avoided rolling it out again.However I ended up with some really thin edges on some sides so I used my excess pastry to make them thicker.But when I went to bake the crust prior to adding the filling all those sides began to shrink and I really wasn't happy about that.However I knew I could cover that up with the top pastry.

I also had some minor issues with baking the pastry prior.I had some air bubbles come through and trust me I poked a lot of holes in that pastry before I baked it, but they still came through.So all I did was remove it from the oven and poked it again till all the air leaked out. Next time I'll have to add some weights to prevent those bubbles.Now once the pastry was done. I added the apple pie filling and there was no longer any air bubbles left.

Now the top pastry was super easy compared to the bottom.It was a lot of fun cutting out the shapes and having the creative choice of how to decorate my pie.I had all my apple cut-outs layered in the middle and my leaves all along the crust edge.These helped out so much with covering up problem areas on the edge and made it look even better. The look of the pie was a mix of spring and fall.It baked pretty well in the oven;however it did take a lot longer then 45 minutes to become golden brown because of the low temp of 350F.Just have a longer wait for it to bake.

The recipe has been adapted in the pastry aspect.But I can rate that the apple pie filling came out very well.It had a great flavor and was simple to prepare.It had a good balance of sweetness to cinnamon. Now the only issue I have with this recipe is the low temp to length of time to bake.I find the temp way to low for a pie and it takes way longer then 45 minutes to bake.

Now the pastry, had a great buttery flavor and was quite flaky.Even though I had issues with the pastry It had a delicious texture and flavor.It paired well against the apple pie filling.Overall, I've learned more about making pies and I have build up my skill level.I do recommend this simple apple pie filling recipe and to use your favorite pastry recipe with it.I hope everyone uses my tips I've learn to avoid the same mistakes I made.Keep on trying and practice makes perfect.

Everyone have a great day!

Apple Pie 
(Adapted from Company Coming Pies By Jean Pare:Apple Pie)

Pastry for 2 crusts

Pie Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 cups peeled,cored,cut up apples
or thawed frozen apples(peeled,cored and cut up)
2 tsp lemon juice
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Apple Pie Filling

In a large bowl, mix the first amount of sugar,flour and cinnamon together.Add the apples and stir.Sprinkle the lemon juice over top.Set aside.

Preheat oven at 350F

Bottom Pastry

Roll out pastry to fit into a 9 inch pie plate.Rotate piece to help spread out the dough into a round shape.Loosely wrap the dough over the rolling pin and place over the pie plate.Press pastry into the plate.Trim edges,tuck over hangs and used a tin of  a fork to create birds feet on the edge.
  • Only roll the pastry out once.If you work with the pastry to much this will cause shrinkage while baking.
  • Roll out pastry round as possible and bigger then the pie plate. ( Gives you lots of pastry to work with for the edge)
  • If you end up with gap or not enough dough for edges.You can use the excess dough, but be warned those areas will shrink and may fall off. But this can be fixed by covering it up with a top pastry.But try to avoid gaps.
For Fresh Apples:

Add apple pie filling to pie pastry and spread out evenly.Set aside.

For Frozen Thawed Apples

To prevent a wet mushy pastry.Bake the pastry for 5-10 minutes prior to adding the filling.Poke holes in the bottom and sides.Recommend to put some kind of weight on the pie pastry that is safe to prevent air bubbles.Be sure to take the pastry out before it  becomes golden brown.If you don't have weights and notice the pastry has air bubbles while baking then remove it from oven and re-poke till air bubbles deflate.

Let pie crust cool and then add the apple pie filling,spread out evenly.Set aside.

Top Pastry

Roll out pastry and press apple and leave cut outs.Bring the pie over to you and dampen the edges with cold water.Decoratively layer the apple cut outs on the pie and add the leaves along the edge touching the crust.(The leaves will help hide any problem areas on the edges)

Then sprinkle with sugar and place in the oven for 45+ minutes.Till edges and center is golden brown. Note:Pies with decorative cuts outs tend to take longer to bake,especially with a low temp.

Let cool at room temperature.The longer it cools the more the pie crust stays together.