Pie World

Below are some new entries from January to June of 2018

In recent times the decoration of pies has become a very popular topic on the Internet. Pies can be very delicious, but they can also be adorned in an artistic manner so that they become the centerpiece of a dessert setting. Learning to create pleasing designs in shortcrust pastry or pâte brisée that will hold up when baked takes some practice and experimentation. A pie design can only be considered to be a success if it looks good when baked. No one would set an unbaked pie in front of one’s guests so the proof of a design is in the baked product. Certain shapes and designs may look beautiful before baking, but melt or become distorted in the heat of the oven. Under these circumstances it is necessary to reconsider and modify the design. Nonetheless, some pies will look better after baking and some before baking. Shortcrust pastry has a life of its own.

The pictures below show some possibilities for making pies more attractive. Many of the designs can be used regardless of the filling, whether sweet or savory.

All of the pies shown here are my own unique designs.

 

In an attempt to bring some colour into my crusts I tried adding freeze-dried blueberry powder to the dough. For one half of my standard pie crust recipe I added 3 tablespoons of powder. I did not reduce the flour in the recipe or make any other changes. I also did not apply egg wash to the purple parts. The col0ur holds up quite nicely after baking, too. The blueberry powder does not have much flavour, at least not after baking, but the visual effect is quite attractive.

 

From September to December 2017

 

Ornamental winter pie

 

Harvest Time

 

End of Summer

 

 

Peach pie with a hand-cut design

 

Recipe for Flaky Pie Crust (two 9-inch crusts)

 

2 ½ cups (350g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
200g cold butter
1 med. egg + about 5Tbl ( 80 ml) ice-cold water (carbonated mineral water if available – alternative: Non-carbonated water and ¼ tsp cream of tartar) + a few drops of vinegar.

Method (food processor) – our preferred method

  • Place flour, salt and sugar in the processor bowl and process at high speed to mix.
  • Cut butter into strips then into about ½ inch (1 cm) cubes.
  • Add butter to flour mix and pulse at low speed until the butter is in pea-sized discrete pieces. This only takes a few short pulses. Better too little than too much pulsing.
  • Beat egg lightly and mix with cold water and vinegar. Stir in cream of tartar if using.
  • Turn on processor to medium speed and immediately add egg-water mixture and shut off motor. Pinch the dough between your fingers and if it is too dry add a bit more water and pulse. If too sticky add a little flour. When you have done this a few times you will know how long to mix. The process goes very quickly. Do not over mix.
  • Makes about 700g (23 oz). Divide in half, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to 18 hours in refrigerator, or freeze to keep for at least 2 weeks.

Method (using a hand pastry blender, knives or finger tips).

  • Place flour salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix with a wire whip
  • Cut butter into strips then into about ½ inch (1 cm) cubes.
  • Add butter to flour mix and cut the butter in until it forms pea-sized discrete pieces.
  • Beat egg lightly and mix with cold water and vinegar. Stir in cream of tartar if using.
  • Add egg and water mixture and stir in with fork just until mixed. Do not overwork or knead. Feel dough between your fingers and if it is too dry add a bit more water and mix. If too sticky add a little flour. When you have done this a few times you will know how long to mix and the exact proportions for your flour. The process goes very quickly. Do not over mix.
  • Makes about 700g (23 oz). Divide in half, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to 18 hours in refrigerator, or freeze to keep for at least 2 weeks.

These instructions are only guidelines. The amounts of flour and water will need to be adjusted because every brand of flour has a different protein content and degree of hydration. However, a very small amount of water can make a very big difference in the consistency. Since the ingredients are inexpensive it is possible to practice a number of times.

Paisley Pie

 

 

Chocolate pie

Ingredients

1 whole Pie Crust, Baked And Cooled (or you can Use Oreo Or Graham Cracker Crust)
1-1/2 cup (300g) Sugar
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Salt

3 cups (720 ml) Whole Milk
4 whole Egg Yolks

6-1/2 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped Finely
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Butter
Whipped Cream, For Serving  

Method

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together.
Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together.
Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (note: It should be thick like pudding!) remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined.
Pour the pudding into the pie crust (if there is extra, spoon it into small dishes) and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered.
Slice and serve with whipped cream!

 

 

More pies will be added as soon as time allows.

Pie crust