When the crisp mornings of fall finally blanket over the sunflower state it’s finally the season for one of my favorite baked goods: pie.
Now, that’s not to say that pie can’t be made other points of the year. My family tends to make coconut cream during the spring and summer and it’s definitely a hit, but there is something about having pie during the fall that just makes it even more satisfying.
After moving out of my parent’s house almost four years ago, I never had pie except on holidays such as Thanksgiving or special occasions. My mom is the pie maker in my family. I have watched her make crust and filling so many times that I figured I could do it myself.
After finally attempting a homemade pie crust on my own, I realized that it isn’t as easy as she makes it look, but with a little patience, the results are magical.
One of the greatest fights in the pie world is whether to use pre-made or homemade dough.
Pre-made dough is definitely easier; all the kneading and rolling out is already done for the baker, which is always a plus if someone is in a pinch. But homemade dough, to me, is just so much better. It has a flavor and flakiness I have rarely found in store-bought doughs.
The only downfall is the workload involved with homemade dough. It does take a little bit of time to cut in either butter or shortening to the flour and there is that pesky rolling out process (not my forte), which makes it a little time consuming.
Whatever the method, the pie dough is an important part of the process. Without a good dough, your filling won’t be quite up to the level you would want it to be. Why go to so much work on a great filling if the crust is lack-luster? That’s why, to some bakers, making the homemade dough is better. The pie crust recipe included is my mother’s. She has made some killer pies with this dough, and it is her favorite recipe.
For the fall, two kinds of pie are natural fits to the season: pumpkin and pecan.
But with frozen fruit available year-round, you can make a peach or cherry or even a blueberry pie after the frost has already set in. For a party, I recently made a peach and blackberry pie, using a combination of fresh and frozen fruit.
Keep in mind that whatever type of pie you choose to make, if it has good crust and a good filling, it will be a treat to family and friends alike.
Shortening-Based Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of shortening
1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
Less than 1/2 cup cold water
Combine salt and flour in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter until the dough looks like sand. In a one cup measuring cup, add the egg and vinegar together and beat. Add water to the mixture until it reaches a 1/2 cup. Add wet ingredients to dough and mix.
Once the dough is combined roll out on a well floured surface.
Makes two 9-inch pie crusts.
Grandma Opal’s Apple Pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust.
Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy, and stir in melted butter.
Stir in the brown sugar, white sugar and the flour; mix well. Last add the milk, vanilla and nuts.Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until done.
Peach Blackberry Pie
3 cups fresh blackberries
3 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup white sugar, with extra for eggwash
1 double crust ready-to-use pie crust
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg for the eggwash
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Mix the blackberries, peaches, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl.
Press one of the pie crusts into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan.
Pour the blackberry mixture into the pie crust. Cover with the remaining pie crust. Crimp the edges of the two crusts together to seal.
Cut slits in the top of the pie to vent. In a separate dish, beat the egg, extra sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Brush the mixture over the top of the pie.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook until top crust is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
Adapted from allrecipes.com