pie fest: part 1

21 Apr

your pie awaits

there has been a trend in my postings as of late, mostly consisting of a stream of apologies for my absence, excuses for said absence, and then begging for forgiveness.  for your sake and my own, i will now issue a blanket statement for all future posts: erm, oops?

alright, now that that is settled, we shall get to the business at hand– pies.  now that it is april, these pies might be a little out of season.  that is because i baked them in november (please see blanket statement above).  but in the spirit of the new year (cough three and a half months ago), i’m going to try something new, instead of saying i’m late with this, i’m going to say that i am excessively early.  i might even take it a step further and make up some new motto for 2009, which would be something along the lines of “let’s break traditions and get a little crazy up in here.”  who says pumpkin pies have to be baked in the fall? we have these fancy things called grocery stores… and canned food… namely, canned pumpkin!  the sheer magic of out-of-season produce at your fingertips all year long!

so, i baked these pies (there will be another posting tomorrow) for pre-thanksgiving- a tradition/holiday my college friends and i started so that we could celebrate thanksgiving and gorge ourselves together before going our seperate ways to meet up with our families and gorge ourselves some more.  perhaps i shouldn’t be confessing that i am just now blogging something for thanksgiving and instead just pretend that i am kooky and really in to eating fall-themed pies in the spring (although, i’m not quite sure you can call april in new england spring. i am still wearing a plaid wool skirt for goodness sakes.)

alright, moving on to the pies… to start we must make the pie dough. i know, i’m fancy like that.  no pre-made doughs for me… at least this time.  i plead the fifth about what i use when i’m not blogging the experience.  this recipe comes from a williams-sonoma pie dough class i went to at some point in the past. the classes they give at their stores are nice and pretty informative, but unfortunately do not involve hands-on activities or samples. but they are free and potentially are taught by cute pastry chefs (like at the one i went to).


what you’ll need: 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons very cold water

1. stir together flour, sugar, and salt.

2. cut butter into 1/4 inch squares. the recipe i have says to use a pastry cutter or two knives and to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse corn meal with butter pieces no larger than small peas.  but when i went to this class, the pastry chef told us to smoosh the butter into flat squares, as you can see in the photo below, and then to just work the flour into those smooshed butter pieces.  this way the pastry will come out with buttery layers.  i’m sure the other way is just as effective, but i just get a kick out of smooshing my butter/using my hands in general.


3. add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.


4. transfer the dough to a work surface (aka my kitchen table), and pat into a ball. please note that  this dough should be rolled out immediately for best results.


5. lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps from your rolling pin. lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. lightly dust the top of the dough/the rolling pin as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.


this makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie.


voila! a beautiful pie crust. and if you are like me, you must now practice intense self restraint to keep from muching on the edges of this dough.

now that we have our dough, we need our filling. this particular pie is pumpkin.  because how can you have pre-thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?  or to put this in this season’s context, how can you not be an awesome quirky-but-cool person without a nice mid-spring (cough still winter) pumpkin pie?

the pumpkin pie filling comes from william-sonoma as well.


what you’ll need: 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamin, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. ground cloves, 2 cups pumpkin puree, 3 eggs, 1 cup heavy cream ( i used light bc the store was out of heavy and i didn’t think the difference would be too upsetting as no whipping was involved), 1/3 cup milk, prebaked and cooled deep-dish pie crust

1. first off, this recipe calls for a prebaked pie crust. so in order to do this, you must preheat your oven to 350°f. carefully place the dough in the pie plate.  make sure to push it down in the edges.  trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the lip of the dish and then tuck the overhang underneath itself along the edge of the pie dish. at this point, i also like to attempt to make fancy little edges by using a fork, or smooshing with my finger. chill your pie crust for 30 mins and when it is sufficiently chilled, line the pie crust with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil. fill at least two-thirds full with pie weights, like dry beans.  as you can see in the photo, i used sushi rice that a former roommate left behind.  i don’t believe in waste. bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, cool a few minutes and carefully remove the pie weights. poke small holes in the bottom of the pie crust with a fork and return to the oven (without the weights) and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is golden. cool completely before filling.


2. now for the filling: preheat oven to 375°f.

3. in a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamin, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  add the pumpkin, eggs, cream, and milk, and whisk to combine.


i can’t decide if i think this looks super gross, or kinda cool…  i’m leaning towards the former.


looking much better, and less like kitty barf.  (why do i always have to go there?)

4. pour the filling into the piecrust and bake until the center is set- about 60 to 65 minutes.  cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil after 30 minutes if they brown too quickly.


5. transfer the pie to a wire rack and let it cool completely–at least 2 hours–before serving.


pumpkin pie!  so good you won’t even care that it is out of season!  erm, hopefully…

coming up next: chocolate pecan pie


4 Responses to “pie fest: part 1”

  1. AJ April 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

    looks good!

  2. mrred April 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

  3. Hi, interesting post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for writing. I’ll definitely be coming back to your posts.

  4. Hi, interesting post. I have been pondering this issue,so thanks for writing. I’ll likely be subscribing to your blog. Keep up the good work

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