Tuesday, November 27, 2007

mmm pie

I would like to posit that pie is the finest culinary creation ever known to man. Sweet pies are an American classic; apple is my favorite. But it is savory pies that have the power to make something you're thoroughly sick of into dinner delight. Pot pies are, therefore, a natural after Thanksgiving, but I've also done them with leftover beef stew to revive that last sad quart languishing at the bottom of the pot.

And homemade crust is what makes it most splendid. My usual crust recipe involves 3 cups of AP flour, 1 cup of butter (if you're brave, do like my Grandma and go half lard) and about 1/2 tsp kosher salt. I like my crust salty. For the love of mike, don't bother with shortening. It doesn't taste good, will kill you even quicker, and is harder to work with. And ooooh, nothing browns like butter. If you're cheap, just buy butter when it goes on sale and freeze it, then turn it into pies.

Also, don't kill yourself trying to make the most perfect, incredibly short (dry) crust for the most lovely flakes and crumbs. I've been experimenting with using the food processor to blend my dough, but I still add up to 1/2 cup water. Once I have it blended the way I like, i dump it into a zip bag, seal, and mangle it together to make it more consistent. Then, i press it together and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Roll between floured parchment paper, cut-open bread bags, or something else clever of your own devising. You'll thank me.

A final word on pies: the pecan pie beret is underway with pleasing results. I might make it a bit shallower than designed, but haven't decided yet. The pattern notes look intimidating, but brioche stitch is not very difficult at all. Don't get worked up over what looks like a very complicated way to decrease; there are only two decrease rounds, so it's over fast. I'm using Kureyon #147 and Valley Yarns Berkshire in navy on US 4 needles.

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