The crispness in the air has me thinking of fall, and all the great things you can bake once the summer is over. A friend was baking apple pies this week, and while I’m too far away to try a slice of hers, she made me keen to try my hand at pie making.
I have never made my own pastry before, always feeling like it’s too finicky to tackle alone. My mom makes a great pie crust; in fact many of my favourite childhood memories are of pie making with her. I would sit across the counter, make mini pies from the scraps, and often eat quite a bit of the dough. I’m not sure what was so tasty about raw pie dough; I tasted a piece today, and I must say the appeal has worn off!
When it came to crust making today, I decided to go for shortening as a base because I really dislike both the idea and taste of lard. I thought about just following the Crisco box, but instead did some googling and came across a Canadian Living recipe for “Perfect Pastry.” It uses both butter and shortening, as well as some vinegar, egg yolk, salt and cold water. It was fairly simple to mix together, and came together into a dough without much effort at all.
The rolling was not quite as easy! I rolled the crusts between 2 pieces of parchment to try to decrease the mess and sticking, but the paper just moved all over the counter. Luckily Kevin was around to hold the parchment still. I managed to get 3 crusts out of a recipe for 2, and so my 1 pie became a couple.
First I made an apple pie- 4 peeled and sliced Gala apples tossed with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp lemon juice, mixed together and surround by pastry goodness. I baked it for 15 minutes at 425F and followed that up with 45 minutes at 350F.
Then I made a pecan pie with my leftover crust. I found a recipe that didn’t call for corn syrup, an item that I consider fairly useless in the world of modern cooking. This pie filling recipe can be found here. I baked it for 10 minutes at 400F and then 35 minutes at 350F.
Both pies smelled heavenly baking- the cinnamon in the apple and the vanilla in the pecan wafting through the air and taunting me. Unfortunately for me, the pies are for company, and not afternoon snacks. Let’s hope they last!