I’m not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions, mainly because I have no will power and rarely follow through. But this year I made a resolution that I am happy to report I have actually had some success with. Healthy eating? Working out? Spending more time with the kids? No, no silly … my grand 2016 New Year’s resolution was to finally make a decent pie crust. This is a noble endeavor really, what problem can’t be solved with a perfect pie?
I consider myself a pretty decent baker, my decorating skills leave something to be desired, but everything always tastes good. Pies were always my Achilles heel though and it pained me deeply. My crusts were always cracking, soggy, shrinking messes — just a failure everytime. Over the years I have tested approximately one and a half million pie crust recipes but couldn’t find one that consistently worked. This year I finally hit upon the all-butter crust from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds book (a great pie cookbook for those that like delicious but slightly weird pies). The crust is the usual butter, flour, salt business, but adds a generous amount of apple cider vinegar for flakiness and tang. I am positive I have tried other cider vinegar crusts before, but this is the first one that has consistently worked for me. I am in love with this recipe and have made probably 10 pies this year using it. I have had great success for everything except crusts that require par-baking (I’m still working on that one!)
I’ve made a pie probably every other week for the last 4 months or so (I’m fat is what I’m sayin) and I’ve been really really happy with the results. My presentation continues to need tweaking and I still have some crust cracking issues (that sounds vaguely gross, but you know what I mean!), but I can finally bring a pie to a party and not hide in the corner with shame. I consider that a success. Some recent pies posted to Instagram. (I can’t figure out how to make these images smaller, bear with my poor interneting skills)
Early spring strawberry pie. I got the basic idea for the filling from Four and Twenty Blackbirds, the recipe called for a shredded baking apple which releases pectin so you can use less binding agent (flour, corn starch, arrowroot), which means your pie is less goopy (technical term). Genius.
Insta description says it all. This was one of Riaz’s favorites.
This was a straight blueberry pie that we took to a dinner party. It was a huge hit.
Very very tart, but with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, totally divine.
Yummy and expensive. The farmer’s market apricots were nearly $4 a pound and this recipe called for 3.5 pounds!! I guess a $12 pie isn’t too much, but I’m a cheapskate.
The quest for the perfect pie will continue since I’m still having problems with single-crust pies and also because … you know … pie is good.