it's a video!! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 (and turn the sound on, it's my pops playin!)
I have some personal news… I make pie now.
Which is awkward since my whole life is basically a display of loyalty to #teamcake. I even wrote a whole thing in my book about kondo-punting homemade pie dough out of my life and didn’t even feel bad.
But now here I am in 5778 and I not only make pies but I also post near daily pictures of Sven, a cat. Which is weird because I come from a long line of dog people and so genetically I am a dog person. I just can’t help it with the fluffy ball of glee that is Sven and with the pies, well, I suddenly just can’t get enough of them. (What’s next? You think I’ll eat a banana?) I think this pie thing actually started when Erin posted a few pie videos last year. That is when the crimping thing suddenly made sense and seemed like something that would actually be fun and not miserable to do. I had just gotten home from my book/#teamcake pride tour where a bunch of you urged me to just give pie making another chance, one of you even brought me a jar of lard about it, and from there I slowly started ruling out the idea of never making a homemade pie crust again.
I also couldn’t really stop thinking about a few bites of peach and apple pie that Sarah fed me like two years ago while she was testing recipes for her book and grew this desire to not have to drive all the way down to the cities anytime I wanted a Sarah-quality pie.
So I took a seat in back, reached across the aisle to #teampie, and began my research. I sat with a stack of all of my favorite baking books and flipped to the very shiny, untouched pages with the pies. It felt like going down an unexplored aisle of the grocery store but I was ready to just rip the band-aid off. Here were some takeaways:
1. At first I resented the fact that when the pie comes out of the oven you can’t level off the top and have a few scrap snacks, as you would a cake. But then! I learned the satisfaction of egg washing the pie dough scraps, salting the bejeezus out of them, and then baking them into little crackers. I even made some cat shapes.
2. I have become such a rabid pie maker that I won’t even turn the heat on in our house for fear that the crust will get too warm. Have you any long underwear recommendations?
3. You can really pile those apples into the crust since they bake down quite a bit. But, as I learned in Stella’s book, it’s important not to over-bake them, lest they get mushy and prevent you from getting a clean slice. Baking until the apples are 195ºf is what Stella recommends and that ensures that the apples are fully cooked but still retain their structure.
4. All-butter pie crust (Pâte Brisée) recipes are all pretty much the same and consist of 1 1/4 c flour, a bit of salt and sugar, 1/2 c butter, and 3-4 tb water. There are a lot of small variations out there, like adding an egg or some dairy. I found that I prefer subbing a tablespoon of the water for a tablespoon of vinegar, as vinegar helps prevent the development of gluten, which will result in an even flakier crust. I also like using Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter here which has a fat content that is 3% higher than American butter and more fat = more flavor.
5. A good pie has a thick golden crisp crust and innards that sing with flavor. It’s important that when you’re rolling out the dough you don’t make it too big and that when you’re trimming the edges you don’t trim off too much because you want that crust to be as thick as possible. Sarah suggests baking on a pizza stone to help the bottom crust get crispy, which is great because I like letting my pizza stone live in my oven. And as for the innards, I like amping up the apple flavor with a bottle of boiled cider that’s been in my cabinet for forever and Hawaij, which as we discussed a few falls ago, is what happens when pumpkin spice goes swimming in cardamom. It is so very good. (You can order boiled cider here but if you just can’t wait, omitting it will not be the end of the world. And you can make Hawaij with this quick lil recipe.) This baby is topped with cardamom whipped cream which only makes the Hawaij more… Hawaij-y and the whole situation more celebratory.
6. I’m sorry, I am not sure what kind of apples are growing on our trees out back (they might be McIntosh??) but they are not too sweet, pretty crisp, and great for baking since they hold up and taste good. Here’s some literature on apple pie apples in case you don’t have a tree in your yard.
Ok I can’t actually get over how satisfying pie making is and I have a feeling that I’m about to start making up for lost time as a cake snob. Molding pie crust is just so soothing. Let the crispy fall air roll in, put on the Sufjan, and omg, let me crimp the edges. That’s my favorite part. And can we just take a moment to enjoy giving it that little hug at the end to make sure his crust stays on the pie pan rims?? I don’t plan on getting into all of those fancy pie crust art productions that I see around the internet but I do plan on latticing through the winter and beyond.
it's another vid!! 👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼
hawaij apple pie with cardamom whipped cream
makes one 9-inch pie
8 apples (1000g), washed and dried
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c (200g) dark brown sugar
2 tsp Hawaij
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tb cornstarch
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tb boiled cider
1 tb apple cider vinegar
6 tb water
2 1/2 c (318g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tb sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Unsalted Butter, cold and cubed
2 tb Land O Lakes® European Style Super Premium Unsalted Butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tb turbinado sugar
Flaky salt, optional
1 c Land O Lakes® Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Chop the apples into 1/4” slices, place them in a large bowl, and toss with the lemon juice. Add the brown sugar, hawaij, cinnamon, cornstarch, and salt and mix to combine. Mix in the vanilla and boiled cider. Cover the mixture and let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so (while you make the pie dough).
To make the dough, combine the cider vinegar and water in a measuring cup and stick it in the fridge (or the freezer even) to get really cold. In a large bowl or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and either use your hands to toss it with the flour and pinch the butter into flat sheets or pulse in the food processor, incorporating the butter so that about 75% of the mixture is mealy. The rest of the mixture should have some slightly larger, pea-sized bits of butter. Drizzle in the vinegar and water and mix with your hands or continue to pulse in the food processor just until the mixture comes together to form a dough. If it seems dry or is having a hard time coming together, add a bit more water a few drops at a time until it comes together. Turn it out onto a clean surface, using your hands to press on any stray crumbs, and divide the dough in half. Pat the halves into discs, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Adjust a rack to the lower third of the oven (with a pizza stone if you have one) and preheat the oven to 400ºf. On a floured surface roll out one of the discs to a circle just larger than 12 inches. Place it in a 9” pie plate and refrigerate it for 15 minutes. Meanwhile you can roll out your top crust. For a basic top crust roll out the remaining dough disc on a floured surface until it’s a little larger than 10”. For a lattice crust, divide the remaining dough disc into two and roll out two 10” circles. Cut the circles into 2” strips.
Fill the pie crust with the apples (it will seem like a lot but they bake down!) and pour the juices over it. Chop the 2 tablespoons of butter into small pats and distribute it all over the top. For a basic crust, place the top crust over the pie, pinch the edges to seal, trim any stray bits with kitchen sheers and then fold the edges over and crimp. Cut 4 slits in the top. For a lattice crust, refer to the video above for how to assemble. Pinch the edges to seal, trim, fold the edges over, and crimp. Give the edges a little hug to make sure they are sitting snuggly on the rim of the pie pan otherwise they could fall off in the oven.
Freeze the pie for 15 minutes. Brush it with egg wash, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and flaky salt, if desired, and then place it on a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature reaches 195ºf. Begin checking for doneness at 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly.
To make the cardamom whip, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and cardamom in a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium high to stiff peaks.
Serve pie with a large dollop of cardamom whip and enjoy!
Thank you so much to Land O’Lakes for providing me with the butter and heavy cream for all of my pie baking adventures and for sponsoring this post. Their European style butter is so gosh darn good and rich and perfect for pie crust.
Additional thanks to Eggboy for his videography and to pops, Jim Stephenson, Patrick Godon, and Cedille Records for the soundtrack on that first vid!