Easy as Pie

This saying never made sense to me. Up until yesterday and the day before, I found making a good pie insanely hard to accomplish even using a pre-made pie round. Well, let me restate that: I found making a good pie crust insanely hard to do. Fillings made much more sense and were easy to pull off.

I think part of the problem was fear. You always hear people lament about how the crust wasn’t flaky, was tough, and so on. This always was in the back of my head as I tried to prepare pies at home and really started to scream when I made the decision to make everything home-made. That plus my lack of knowledge always resulted in less than stellar pie crusts. Basically, I’d manage to pull off a patchwork quilt type bottom, and forgo the top for some streusel (although I do love streusel so it worked out).

Then, it was cut-in method day in class. The first day of this block I felt somewhat nervous. Basically, it was pie and biscuit day (something I never attempted!). Chef began his demo, and used a method I never saw or heard about before to make a flaky, tender pie crust. Rather than rub in the butter pieces, after tossing them with the flour and salt, he more or less pushed them out to shingle type pieces using the rolling pin. After this was accomplished, he formed a well, added all the cold water, and folded in the flour. As he portioned out 10 ounce pieces to make 10 inch pies, you could actually see the layers of butter. It was amazing.

And surprisingly, it was easy to imitate. It was the first time my pies didn’t require a patchwork pie bottom. Had I decided to do a closed-top fruit pie, I think that would have come out great as well. Instead, I opted to try a lattice crust, which didn’t look perfect, but I kind of liked its rustic look. Not to mention, it was a pretty darn delicious combination of blueberry and sour cherry fillings and that crust, well it wasn’t too bad either.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges