Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Okay guys. This is going to be speed-blogging. I'm at work and I got ten minutes until it's 9 am. I know I shouldn't really be doing personal stuff here, but gosh darnit, it's been too long since I've put anything up here! And I've got two perfectly fine pies waiting to be posted up. So this is going to be quick and dirty: two pies, two successes.
This season was my first time to try pies. Can you believe it? After calling myself sarah the baker yoon for quite some time, it was quite embarrassing to admit that I've never tried pies. I never understood why they have the saying "Easy as Pie!" 'cause it seemed like such a challenge to me. I guess it was always the fear of failure but I've finally come full circle in my pie-angst and I've dealt with it. And what a great dealing it was.
Of course the challenge with a great pie is inevitably the crust. Fillings don't seem to be such a big deal, but when it comes to the crust — we get quite sensitive. It can't be soggy or stiff or breaking apart or tough. It needs to be perfectly flaky and buttery and crusty in order to be received with much love. But I found that with just the right recipe, a few video tutorials, and a careful touch, it's really quite simple to make the right pie dough.
A few tries wouldn't hurt either, but with luck on my shoulder, I made two great pies for the first time. My apple pie was for Thanksgiving dinner (yes, us Canadians have our Thanksgiving early October) and with a perfect scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream, all I heard was mmmmmm's and ahhhhh's. The second was for my parents' guests and they were so proud of me as all of them devoured the pie together. Now my mom keeps asking "So... Just wondering... how about that pie again?"
After trying to find the perfect recipe, Joy of Cooking, Allrecipes, and Dorie's recipes were in consideration, but in the end I was convinced by Cook's Illustrated video tutorial and decided to go with that. And what a great choice it was. They explain scientifically why their dough works and made me a believer. Their secret ingredient in the pie dough is VODKA. A solution to easier rolling, but preventing a tough dough from over-worked gluten from too much water. The vodka burns away in the oven and is tasteless afterward.
Also, they give an option for those who don't own a food processor, like me! They have a foolproof way of keeping the butter chunks balanced perfectly with the flour and you can use your stand mixer! The procedure is quite different than of the usual cutting method, but it works wonders. It's the science behind it I guess. So I thought I'd give you a visual step-by-step guide to making a foolproof crust. I always questioned "what exactly do you mean by pea-sized to cheese-curd-sized butter chunks?" So if you were struggling to visualize that, here it is! :D
Anyways, I don't have much time (yikes! It's 12 after 9!) So please enjoy the photos for now, and I'll post the recipe when I have the time! Happy pie baking, everyone!!