Thursday, November 24, 2011

Writer's Workshop: pies

I attended a pie-making class at our church recently and since then I'm a pie-baking expert. Ok, expert may be too strong of a word...but I love to do it! I've made an apricot pie (at the class...and I didn't really make the stuff just put it together but it was delicious), 2 apples, and a pumpkin. Today I made an Angus Barn Chocolate Chess Pie - I'm beginning to be daring. I've found this book at the library, "Pie" by Ken Haedrich. I'm hoping for (but not holding my breath for) this book for Christmas. I wanted to share with you the pie I made today.

Basic Flaky Pie Pastry (single crust)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 c. cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/4 c. cold water

To make by hand: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Toss well, by hand, to mix. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and toss to mix. Using a pastry blender (which I just bought yesterday!), cut the butter into the flour until it is into small, pea-sized pieces. Add the shortening and again cut the mixture until all the fat is in small pieces. Sprinkle half the water over your mixture. Toss well with a fork to dampen. Add the remaining water, 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue to toss and mix, pulling the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl on the upstroke and gently pressing down on the downstroke. You may need more water because you're mixing by hand, so add 1-2 tsp at a time of water until the pastry can be packed.

Using your hands, pack the pastry into a ball. Knead each ball once or twice, then flatten into 3/4-inch-thick disks on a floured work surface. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or overnight before rolling. Can be frozen for up to a month.

On a lightly floured wax paper sheet, roll the pastry into a 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin (I did this between 2 pieces of wax paper). Invert pastry over a 9" standard pie pan, center, and peel off (I used a 9 1/2" deep-dish pie pan). Tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge. Place in freezer for 15 minutes (I skipped this part accidentally), the partially prebake and let it cool.

To prebake: Tear off a piece of tin foil about 16" long - NOT heavy duty foil. Center over your pie shell, and tuck the foil like you did the pie shell. It should fit like a second skin - let the excess just float over the sides, don't tuck those over the edges. Fill with dry beans to act as a weight (I used coins).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the shell for 15 minutes on the center rack. Then open the oven and slide out the rack (don't remove the pie). Take out the weights carefully with the foil. Using a fork, prick the pastry 7-8 times all over. Twist the fork a little as you insert it to enlarge the holes.

Lower the temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake for 10-12 minutes (this will be a partially prebaked pie shell). If you see the pastry puffing in this time, poke it with a fork. It should be every so slightly browned when finished.

When you remove it from the oven, use the back of a spoon to press the sides back into position (mine puffed out a bit). Whisk an egg white and brush the bottom of the pie over the holes you earlier made. Put it back in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove from oven and put on a wire rack to cool.

While prebaking: Angus Barn Chocolate Chess Pie recipe
1/2 c. unsalted butter
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Turn off heat and add chocolate. Let mixture stand until chocolate is melted (around 5 minutes or less), occasionally tilting the pan so it mixes. Whisk until smooth. Let cool briefly.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until evenly blended. Slowly pour the filling into the cooled pie crust (mine was mostly cooled).

Place on the center oven rack and bake at 350 degrees until set (30-40 minutes). Rotate it 180-degrees halfway through (turn the pie, not the temperature). When done, the top will have crusted over.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. May be served at room temperature, but has a better texture if it's covered with loosely tended foil and refrigerated for a few hours.

I'll let you know how mine turns out and what pies I bake on Saturday. I may even be really daring and try a gluten-free crust! Eek. I'm also linking up to Mama Kat's pretty much world famous Writer's Workshop. I only have her old button...should update that. But here's a link to this week's linky. Check out the other recipes and other Thanksgiving-related posts.

EDIT TO ADD: This pie turned out pretty well. I won't prebake the shell again, made it too hard later. The chocolate was a bit rich for my taste, but was good. My kids devoured it!

1 comment:

Patty Ann said...

OH yum!! This sounds so good. I made pumpkin pies and apple pies and a pumpkin flan cake!! Dessert is always good!! I have never tried a chess pie, and I think I might have to save this recipe for later!! Thanks for sharing.

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