Monday, May 14, 2012

Suppose We Try...Pie?

Pie crusts scare me.  So do big fancy wedding cakes with spun sugar and fondant...

But, anyway, back to pie crust.  I dunno, it's hard to explain...I mean, it's just butter, flour, and difficult can that be?  But pie crusts are cagey...that's what.  Too much handling, kneading, and they don't turn out right.

About twice in my whole life, I've interacted with pie pastry - the store-bought kind.  Today, though, I felt empowered enough to try my own.

1/2 c. butter (entire stick)
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. ice-cold water

Cut butter into flour (I used the paddle attachment on my mixer) until mixture looks like coarse meal.  Gradually trickle in the water, until clumps of dough form.  The less you handle the dough, the better.  Roll into a ball and press out into a six-inch circle.

At this point, the dough needs to be chilled in the fridge for at least an hour.  Beyond that, it can be chucked into the freezer for a later use, or rolled out on a floured surface to fit into a 9 inch pie pan (which is what I chose to do).

Then, five cups of fresh blueberries, 2/3 c. of sugar, and 1/4 tsp of nutmeg are mixed together, along with a premixed combination of three tbsp of cornstarch and 2.5 tbsp of water.  The fruit sits for 15 minutes (for sugar to dissolve).  The fruit goes into the pie shell.  Then, the crumb topping:

1/2 c. butter (entire stick), melted
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c. flour

Mix it all up, and crumble it on top of the fruit.  Brush crust edge with beaten egg yolk.  And so, when I do all that, this is what it looks like:

The concoction bakes at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  And looks like this:

At this point, it looks decent, right?  Nothing weird or strangely out of place, right?  After cooling it on the rack and in the fridge for a few hours, I finally cut into it, and...

And now you see my dilemma.  It definitely tasted like a pie....but it really didn't look the way I wanted it to.  I was hoping it would look more...well, "pie-like".  It didn't set up at all - too much liquid.

The bummer?  I don't have an accurate assessment of my First Pie Crust Ever (too soggy).  I suppose that means I'll have to try again.

So.  To avoid this catastrophe in the future, I will cook the fruit before I fill the pie shell.  You know, cook off the moisture and whatnot.

I shall not let this minor speed bump slow me down!!!


  1. I always add more cornstarch than the recipe calls for when I make a new kind of pie. I like my filling to be thick. It also helps because I don't precook my fruit. I kind of eyeball the amount I use because I've made a number of blueberry pies, but I usually use about 4 cups of blueberries and a 1/4 cornstarch, along with cinnamon and nutmeg.

    Anyway, keep trying. Once you get the hang of making pie crust it'll be no trouble at all to throw a nice homemade pie together. Good job!

  2. I have made pie crusts for years and I love the standard vinegar and egg recipe (you can find it on I chill it for a while and then roll it out and always end up with a nice flaky crust. For blueberry pie I also add a little more cornstarch than the recipe calls for. I make a two crust pie for blueberry pie as I think it helps it to steam and thicken being "caught" between two layers of pastry. I can tell you this, even if it was a little runny it wouldn't have lasted long in our house. It still looked yummy.