i guess i just go through phases. i've had my oatmeal phase, my mac and cheese phase, my black sesame phase... every december i have my marzipan phase... this pretzel phase just happens to be sort of a dangerous one, i guess? i never did have a rebellious or druggie phase, so i suppose that food grade lye being my chemical substance of choice can't be all that bad.
yesterday i pretzeled pie and it came out beautifully. you know when you get those big pillowy pretzels they have a nice glossy layer that you can peel off and eat all on its own for a double shot of pretzel flavor? that is what these pies have. they have that layer that tastes like a perfect pretzel.
and then there is the crust* and whatever you fill the pie with. i added marzipan and apples to some, and sausage and apples to others. both were magnificent and i encourage you to experiment with different fillings. there are so many amazing pies out there, like this pear, gorgonzola, and walnut one, and these concord grape ones. you should really be able to fill these pretzel pies with anything, because amiright that pretzels can go in any direction they want? they can go with salty, sweet, meaty, cheesy, nutty, vegetable-y...
*can i admit something to you about the crust that i used to make these? it is store bought. i can see the mortified look on mum's face right now (i know, mum, i know). but yesterday the market did not open until noon and i was not aware of this, so there i was, way across town, way before it opened. not enough time to go home, way too much time to stay there. but i had no choice... so i diddled around the strip mall, listening to a young(er) conrad tao on "from the top" (that was the only good part about my long wait). why does nothing open until noon in my tiny town? come noon time, alllll of the townspeople were suddenly at the market, and it was crowded and i was tired. and i just did not want to make pie crust.
so if you are wondering if you can use that special family heirloom pie crust recipe for this, the answer is that i don't know. i imagine it would be fine, but i am somewhat of a pie novice, so i don't want to make any promises :-( (if you try it and it works, perhaps you could tell me!)
without further ado, here is how to pretzelize pie:
makes 6-8 hand pies
ingredients & supplies
1 batch of pie crust (read the spiel above about the crust)
1 1/2 cups of any pie filling that you please
latex or rubber gloves
3 tb food grade lye
4 c cold water
kosher salt, for sprinkling
on a floured surface, roll out pie dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out circles (i use the lid of a wide mouth mason jar).
place half of them on a floured baking sheet and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling into the centers. wet the edges and place remaining circles on top. seal very well with a fork. freeze for 20-30 minutes.
preheat oven to 400. prepare a baking sheet with greased parchment paper. gear up with your gloves and protective eye wear, and in a medium bowl mix the lye into the water, one tablespoon at a time. be careful that it doesn't splash.
when the pies are done freezing, work one at a time to dip the topsides of the pies into the lye bath for 10 seconds. sprinkle with salt and bake for 18-20 minutes, until cooked through.
enjoy with mustard, unless you're using a sweet filling because that might get weird.
(to dispose of the lye water, place the bowl flat in an empty sink and let cold water run in it for a few minutes so that it gets very diluted. then slowly pour it down the drain.)