Tuesday, September 15, 2009
This blog is rapidly shifting from musing about my life in general with some navel-gazing thrown in, to Lauren's blog about what she cooks and bakes. To run with that theme, I'm writing about pies.
Over labor day weekend Ethan's parents had everyone over for a family dinner of Thanksgiving proportions, only celebrating summer rather than fall bounty. Everything was delicious even if it didn't all make complete sense together (jerk chicken with mango salsa, caprese salad, cucumber and onion salad, and pasta salad). For dessert, I made pies. To be exact, I made two butterscotch pies and one chess pie.
Inspired by my friend Brittany, who recently made her own crust, I decided to try doing my own. Making pie crusts has always seemed like a daunting task to me, mostly beccause I never had, and I've heard many people say that they couldn't make a good one despite numerous tries. My solution was to go to recipezaar, and pick a highly-rated recipe with reviews like "wow, this was super easy! It was the best and easiest pie crust I've ever made!" And my method worked!
3 cups flour
1/2 cup butter + 1/2 cup crisco buttersticks, cubed and frozen for 30 mins or so
1/2 tsp salt (leave out if using salted butter)
1 large egg, beaten
5 T ice cold water
1 t white vinegar
Directions: cut fat into flour/salt mixture until it resembles peas. Don't overmix because you want the fat to be marbled within the dough in the end, like fat marbling through a good steak. That's what makes it flaky. Combine egg, water, and vinegar and slowly add to flour mixture, mixing with hands until a dough forms. Cut the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic; let it rest in the fridge for 30 mins or until needed.
Roll out between wax or parchment paper. Each half will make one 9 inch pie crust. If it gets too crumbly during rolling, wet your hands with cold water and work it into the dough until it starts sticking together.
If baking crust alone (ie for pudding or fresh fruit pie) stick it in the oven at 375 for 15 mins.
Pies (also courtesy of recipezaar)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 T flour
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1/2 t vanilla extract
Baked and cooled pie crust
3 egg whites
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t cream of tartar
6 T granulated sugar
Pie: Preheat oven to 350.
Stir butter and brown sugar in saucepan over med-low heat until melted/dissolve, then for 2-3 mins longer. Remove from heat.
Combine/stir 1 cup milk, flour, and beaten egg yolks. Add salt and stir until combined. Stir in second second cup milk.
Add milk mixture to butter mixture slowly over med-low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and pudding-like.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour into prepared pie crust and top with Meringue
Combine vanilla, egg white, and cream of tartar and beat until silky and soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon on top of pudding mixture, making sure to seal the meringue to the sides of the pie crust.
Bake pie at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until meringue looks golden and pretty.
Pie #2: Chess pie
Cream 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar until creamy; add 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks and mix. Add 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tsp of vanilla.
Put mixture into unbaked pie shell, bake at 350 for 35 mins to an hour (took me 45 mins). A knife inserted should come back without any custard stuck to it.
When the pie is finished, it will look like the whole thing is floating in melted butter (as it probably is). It looked weird to me, which is why I give the warning.
Note: People liked the chess pie just as much, and some people preferred it. It tastes like a pecan pie without any pecans. And it was ridiculously easy. If I had any eggs, I would be making myself one for breakfast with the leftover pie dough I have in my fridge.
Non-pie news: I've had two interview offers for residency! I am super excited... and wondering if I need to go buy a new suit, as the one I have (which I have only ever worn to interview for medical school) is rather drab and schlumpy. Not to mention that I've lost about 25-30 lbs since then (my college lifestyle, in retrospect, was rather unhealthily decadent).