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Pies

On this cold grey day before Thanks­giv­ing D and I finally had the chance to sit down the long antic­i­pated (by us) pod­cast about pie. Con­tin­u­ing on with my last post about learn­ing to tell sto­ries about food in their con­texts and with their mean­ings we were excited to explore this iconic food from more than one angle.

No ques­tion about it for me, the most inter­est­ing part of pie for me is the social part of it. I like to eat pie. I like to make pie. But it doesn’t drive me crazy with inspi­ra­tion like other ways of bak­ing. I do how­ever feel fas­ci­nated with who makes pie, why they make it, who they make it for, and who taught them to make it.

This I think is the main rea­son that I am such a fan of these peo­ple and their farm. They look at where pies come from, they know who makes them, and who they teach to make them, and really also they know that the space where you share food is impor­tant too. This model opens up some re-imagination of a food­scape as place where folks get to expe­ri­ence fluid roles in their food.

My mom taught me to make pie along with most of my other attempts of early bak­ing. She was and is how­ever more of a cheese­cake expert. My sis­ter passed either one of us up with her pie skills while she was in high school and became obsessed with banana creme pies. But the real ace pie-maker in my life is this guy who’s wide breadth of tal­ents amaze me. Below I have included his favorite crust recipe from Tartine.

Once again I’d love to hear from you out there in inter­net land about your inspi­ra­tions about pies!

One (10-inch) pie or tart shell

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tea­spoon salt

½ cup cold but­ter, cut into pieces

¼ cup cold short­en­ing, cut into pieces

1/3 cup water, very cold

Cook­ing spray

Alu­minum foil or parch­ment paper

Pas­try weights or dried beans

1. To make dough by food proces­sor: Put flour and salt in work bowl and process a few sec­onds. Add but­ter and short­en­ing and pulse just until coarse crumbs form. Add water and pulse until the dough just begins to hold together.

2. To make dough by hand: Put flour and salt in a mix­ing bowl. Scat­ter but­ter and short­en­ing over flour. Using a pas­try blender or forks, cut fat into flour until the mix­ture forms large crumbs. Driz­zle in water and stir and toss with a fork until the dough begins to come together in a shaggy mass.

3. Trans­fer dough to a sheet of wax paper and shape into a slightly flat­tened disk. Wrap and refrig­er­ate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

4. To line a 10-inch pie pan, first spray very lightly with cook­ing spray. On a lightly floured sur­face, roll dough out to 1/8-inch thick­ness; begin rolling from cen­ter out toward the edge in all direc­tions. Lift dough and dust sur­face with flour as needed to pre­vent stick­ing. Roll to a cir­cle about 2 inches larger than pan. Care­fully trans­fer dough to pan and ease into bot­tom and sides, press­ing gen­tly. Cut dough so there’s about a ½-inch over­hang, fold under and crimp or flute, or sim­ply leave plain for a more con­tem­po­rary fin­ish. The unbaked shell will keep, well-wrapped, in the refrig­er­a­tor for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

5. To fully bake pie shell: Pre­heat oven to 375 degrees. Line shell with foil or parch­ment paper and add pas­try weights or dried beans to cover the bot­tom; don’t fill entire shell with weights. Make sure edge of dough is also cov­ered with foil or parch­ment. Bake shell until the sur­face looks light brown, about 25 min­utes; to check, lift a cor­ner of the paper. Remove from oven and remove paper and weights. Return shell to oven and con­tinue bak­ing until golden brown, about 5 min­utes longer. Cool com­pletely on a wire rack before filling.

6. To par­tially bake pie shell: Pre­heat oven to 375 degrees. Line shell with foil or parch­ment paper and add pas­try weights or dried beans to cover the bot­tom; don’t fill entire shell with weights. Make sure edge of dough is also cov­ered with foil or parch­ment. Bake on cen­ter oven rack 15 min­utes. Care­fully lift foil and weights out of pan and with a fork, lightly pierce dough that has puffed up. Con­tinue bak­ing 5 to 8 min­utes or until set. Cool on a wire rack com­pletely before fill­ing. (A par­tially baked shell should be used right away.)

From “Tar­tine” by Elis­a­beth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson

3 Comments

  1. At age 18 months Chelsea would yell “Pie” wield­ing a dough cov­ered spoon with what­ever was being mixed. It was a generic for any­thing in a bowl with a spoon. Don’t let her fool you with any sci­en­tific tips, she just likes to get her hands in the dough, always has. — Her Father

  2. Unfor­tu­nately, your sweet­heart is not here to help me with the crust so I have fallen to using frozen crust. A bit lower qual­ity but a major time saver. From the Pie Girl’s Mother. I love you!