Who doesn't love pie? As my grandmother Eve would say, "what's not to love?" Pie is simple and good and crowd pleasing. It creates that kind of dumb-happiness. Like when you have a crush on someone and you say things like, "Wow, you're ears are so nice." Pie is a happy dog chasing bubbles or eating peanut butter.
Pie is so obviously all-American it is kitsch and iconography. Insert flag, pie, red & white gingham, lawn and picnic table.
And what better time to make pie? None, that's right. Pie is summer, BB Q's, days at the lake, inter-tubing, berries of all shapes and colors, gnarled stone fruit, sleep-away camp and too much time on our hands. It's kin to to "putting-up", canning and making jam. It's cousins are cobblers, crisps, galettes, shortcake, tarts, and the little odd shaped treats made from the trimmings of pie dough baked in the oven with cinnamon sugar.
On the other side of the coin, pie is a little scary. It's so simple and old fashioned that it can be daunting. Pie, people say mmmmmm, look off into the distance, the memories flood in, and then, wait! The horror fills the eyes, they go wide, and the person is violently snapped back into reality when it comes to them like a red fly bite on the motor boat---- THE CRUST! "I can't make pie dough," they say.
Especially with the onset of the trans-fat scare, pie dough has become a real conundrum. Even before the scare became public, I had a weary suspicion of a fat that was not solid in its natural state and have always preferred butter. (Big surprise, I know.)
So without further ado, I introduce you to a pie recipe. The dough comes straight out of The Baker's Dozen Cookbook, both a book of recipes and a textbook. Almost 15 years in the making, The Baker's Dozen cookbook has as many contributors. Living American culinary treasures. Some my colleagues and friends, none whom I take for granted. The recipes set forth are tried and true, literally, as they have been tested over and over, looked hard at and tasted critically. Anecdotes, hints and careful instructions fill the pages and instructional photos share space with clear, beautiful images of many of the delicious possibilities.
2 Cups all purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
4 Tablespoons sugar (I may have altered this from the original recipe.)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter
*Cube butter evenly and freeze. Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid. When butter is frozen, use paddle attachment with mixer on the very lowest setting, and drop butter in a few pieces at a time. Stay close by. Put ice and cold water in a measuring cup. When the chunks of butter are slightly larger than pea size, dribble in the ice water until dough does not appear dry and JUST begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a dry surface and push together with the heel of your hand. Try not to knead or overwork the dough, you want it to come together so you can roll it out. This dough can be used right away! (***THIS IS THE BEST THING ABOUT IT***) This amount makes enough for a top and a bottom. If you are not going to use it right away, double wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to a month.
*If you're looking for the HOWS and WHYS of making this all butter pie dough, click on this link for an explanation of every direction given in pie dough crust making and baking.*
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 Meyer lemon, sqeezed
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
But I don't like my pie too set or two sweet. The first pie I made was Blackberry, Blueberry and Tayberry. Yesterday I made Boysenberry, Tayberry, Royal Blenheim Apricot with a dash of nectarine and Meyer lemon zest.
*Hint: pie dough doesn't much like the microwave or even the fridge. I can't imagine that it will last long enough to get to these places, but just in case...
In the end, pie is yum.