Fall is here, Redmond. Pumpkin spiced lattes, football games, and color changing leaves are among us. Not only is there is brisk of chilly breeze in the air, ladies and gentlemen are gearing up their ovens and kitchen mixers for autumn and winter baking sprees!
What is one of my favorite sweet treats to bake in the fall? Pie. From classic apple to sour cherry and coconut cream, pie is a favorite in the holiday season. Topped with an oat streusel or lattice crust, it is an eye-pleasing dessert for guests.
Pie can be broken down into three parts:
Lets concentrate on the bottom crust: keeping it super flakey and golden delicious.How do you do that? Check out my top 3 tips.
1) Blend the butter into the flour until it looks like cornmeal, also known as "mealy crust."
Remember, classic pie crust comes in two forms: mealy or flakey. In flakey pie crust, the butter is "rubbed" into the flour until it forms large pea-size shapes. In mealy pie crust, the butter is more "rubbed" in, looking like cornmeal. Thus, mealy pie crust is very tender, gentle, and the filling's moisture is less likely to absorb into the crust versus flakey crusts.
2) Bake your pie crust at an initial high temperature.
Start your oven high, about 400 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn down your oven to medium heat, about 350 degrees F. Please adjust the temperature to YOUR oven's need. "Knowing your oven" is half the battle is most baking mistakes. At home, I have a standard, domestic convection oven.
3) To pie crust, add COLD fillings. Not hot fillings!
Some pie fillings may require stove top cooking (like lemon curd and certain apple recipes) before pouring it in the unbaked pie shell. Make sure you chill the filling until cold or room temp. I like to spread the filling in a large baking pan (like one for brownies) and cool it in the fridge.
Also, I always, ALWAYS use real butter, versus other fats, when I am making my crust. It had the best flavor and creates a tender crumb.
Another sweet tip: After you mixed your pie crust together, chill it for 1-2 hrs before rolling it!
Happy baking and fall everyone!