Last night I baked my first recipe from Killer Pies, a gift from my friend, FaerieKissed. This book contains recipes from some of the best pie joints in North America (US & Canada). Since B's Aunt had given him a large bags of fresh pecans from her tree, it seemed appropriate to make what we call 'brownie pie'. There was a recipe from a place in Napa.
The one thing that has always kept me away from making pie is the crust. Making the dough is simple enough, but I can never get it to look pretty.
Last night I did slightly better, but for about a quarter of the pie I didn't get quite a full inch of overhang and so it shrunk a bit when it was blind baked. It was still quite tasty, but not perfect.
One of the interesting things about the crust is that it called for 2 sticks plus half of a tablespoon of butter. This probably means that the recipe is for an industrial size mixer. It also called for 2 egg yolks (plus 6 eggs in the filling).
Putting the dough together only took a few minutes thanks to the Cuisinart. Then it had to chill for half an hour. Once chilled, it was time to roll it out and then freeze it for an hour. This actually is a great technique and if I hadn't done it, I can only imagine how much more the shell would have shrank. After an hour in the freezer, you cover the crust completely with foil and put in weights (I used rice), and blind bake it for 20 minutes. The final step is to remove the foil and weights and let it bake another 3-5 minutes. Whew!
Nothing was very complicated, but there are a lot of steps, and waiting. I have been watching the new series, Everyday Baking, on PBS. It is a spinoff of Everyday Food. I watched an episode devoted to pie, and did learn a few tricks. One is that when you put the dough in plastic wrap to chill it, try not to touch it. You can use the plastic wrap to form it into a round. The less your warm hands come in contact with the dough, the better.
The other trick is that instead of trying to roll the dough in different directions, turn the dough instead. This was made even easier as I had to use a sheet of parchment paper to roll the dough out as the counter is tile and would leave marks in the dough. I was able to just turn the paper and that helped quite a bit. I think my problem was that the paper wasn't quite large enough, thus why I didn't get quite enough overhang.
The secret to this filling is maple syrup. It was a nice touch and definitely adds a deeper flavor than simply using corn syrup. The pie didn't come out of the oven until after midnight, so we actually had to wait until morning to taste it. Yes, we had pie for breakfast. It was really good, even if it didn't look picture perfect.