Now that it’s autumn, it’s time to let the baking bug take over. It’s wonderful to fill our homes with the scent of freshly made cookies, loaves, and pies… To smell the sweet perfume of some delectable treat just waiting to be cooled on the windowsill. Making your own pie from scratch may sound daunting. Today, a lot of people may go to the store to get a pie, or even get a frozen one from the grocery store. There’s no shame in admitting it! But making your own pie can be a lot easier than most people realize, and you’ll feel really proud of yourself.
The first step to making a great pie is a great crust. You can get frozen crust from the grocery store (we won’t consider this cheating as long as you make the filling yourself), or you can make your own. Again, it’s surprisingly easy and you only need flour, unsalted butter, salt, and ice water. I’ll explain how to make your own crust below, but I just want to remind those of you who may opt for crust from the grocery store to read the directions. Frozen crusts need to be thawed to roll out properly or they’ll break or crumble. If they fall apart though, don’t panic! You can kneed it back together into a ball and roll it out flat again.
Make your own pie crust:
(This recipe comes from “Dana” on Allrecipes.com, and I’ve personally used it many times.)
½ cup unsalted butter, cubed (one stick)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup ice water
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Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture looks crumb-like (you can use your hands to achieve this too). Cutting the butter into the flour is what makes those yummy flakey layers. Stir in water a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. Don’t just dump all the water in! You might not need it all, and then your dough will be too wet. Finally, wrap the pie dough in plastic and refrigerate. You need to use ice water and refrigerate the dough to keep the butter in the crust cool.
Next comes the filling. You can look up any recipe you want (I always recommend checking out Allreceipes.com because the recipes are rated by people who have tried making them, so you get a good idea of the best recipes out there), whether they be sweet or savory. The best part? You can pretty much put anything you like in a pie. I once read about a family that makes “Thanksgiving leftover pie’ with turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. I personally opt for a vegetable pot pie, where I just sauté whatever vegetables I want with garlic and onion, add seasoning, and pop the whole thing in the oven. Unless otherwise advised, it’s usually best to at least partially cook your savory filling before putting it in your pie, to ensure that everything is cooked properly when the pie is done (especially if you’re using meat).
When your filling is ready, get your dough and divide it in half to roll flat. A rookie mistake is rolling out all the dough, filling your pie, then realizing you forgot the top!If your filling looks very wet, you can bake your crust a little (about ten minutes) before you add your filling so it doesn’t come out gooey, wet, or under-baked. Some people brush egg white over the top of their pie before putting it in the oven so they get a glossy top, but you don’t have to.
Bake at 425 degrees for half an hour, and sit back and enjoy the wonderful smells that fill the house!
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