Tag Archives: apple pie

Mmmmmm pie.

I can count the number of pies I’ve made on my fingers. I’m hoping to include toes soon. In spite of my low number I really do love baking pies. I have a beautiful pie plate that needs more use. So in honour of Thanksgiving this past weekend I baked an apple pie for one of the three dinners I have attended/will be attending (2 down, one to go).

I couldn’t remember what recipe I used for my last crust, so I hashed together a new crust recipe! Based entirely off the proportions for good ol’ Barefat’s “Deep Dish Apple Pie”. Except I replaced the shortening with DUCK FAT and the water with VODKA.

Let me explain a few things for you, in case those last two ingredients make you question my sanity (it’s ok, I totally understand). I’m big into the idea of animal fat over shortening. I mean shortening has its place, I’m sure. It makes for flakey things, and I use it when I need to. It’s just, believe it or not, way creepier than animal fat. The process you go through to render fat from various vegetables? That shit shouldn’t happen man. It just shouldn’t. But animal fat? That is a much more reasonable and natural process. Just embrace it and pretend you’re European, or a cowboy, or whatever. The extra bonus of animal fat is that the exceptionally attractive butcher will explain to you all the differences between the animals. Lard (pig fat) is the cheapest of animals fats, and is good for use in sweet or savory pies. Beef is ok too, but should really only be used in savory crusts. Chicken tastes SUPER chicken-y, so not such a good plan. Duck, ah yes duck, it’s the most expensive (other than goose I’d assume, or polar bear, but I’m not THAT fancy…. yet), but it is exceptional for all types of crust. OH, THE TASTE! So I use duck fat. It smells a little woody, but it’s soft and easy to work with. And you can freeze it.

My choice of vodka as a substitute for water is not based on my love of a good tipple, no,  but instead: SCIENCE. The problem with water is that when it meets flour it gets gluttony, or something, and makes for a tougher, less flakey crust the more you work with it. Using vodka means you can have a wetter dough which is easier to work with, without sacrificing flake. Go team vodka!

People, my pie-hating sister ATE ALL THE PIE. This crust is THAT good. So I will share it with you.

Duck Fat Vodka Pie crust:

This recipe will make a bottom crust and a top crust.

Make sure all your ingredients are very cold, but not frozen.

1 ½ sticks of good unsalted butter, cubed

1/3 cup duck fat, splodged (it doesn’t really cube as it’s so soft, like all our fatty bits!)

3 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

½ cup of ice cold vodka (I like to pour myself a glass on the rocks and measure it out from there)

1 egg and a splash of milk for the eggwash, keep separate.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 415 F (an odd number but it worked). Stick a tin foil lined baking tray on the lower rack to catch all the tasty juices that will inevitably ooze out of your pie. This way your kitchen won’t smell like it’s on fire. Maybe.
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Throw butter and duck fat in with the flour and cut in with two knives, continue until it’s a bowl full of pea-sized floury buttery bits. I usually get impatient and start using my hands. This works especially well if you are a vampire, or have naturally cold hands.
  4. Slowly pour in the ice cold vodka, and work into dough with your fingers until it’s all just combined.
  5. Divide dough into two disks, and put in fridge for 30mins, or forever. It’s up to you.
  6. After you’ve made your filling, or washed your hair, or whatever, roll out the dough until it looks like a big enough circle to fit into your pie plate with some over-hang. THEN (here’s a handy tip), fold it in half (or into a quarter triangle guy) and place it in the dish, and then unfold in the dish. This avoids breaking it to a billion pieces. SMART. Press gently into the dish.
  7. Pile in your filling! I used a cinnamon spiced apple filling and piled it in HIGH, but do whatever makes you happy! Peaches, plums, pears, whatever!
  8. Do the same but with the top! I cut out ADORABLE hearts, but if you don’t want to be barf-tastic, just make some slits with a knife, or whatever. Your pie is like a puppy, it needs to breath! So make some breathing holes.
  9. Eggwash your pie! Dip a brush into the eggwash you made, and then paint the top of your pie with it. I forgot this step, but I just did it 45mins into baking. It worked out fine.
  10. BAKE! I baked mine for about 1h 25mins, the crust was a delicious golden brown and the juices were bubbling and gurgling and leaking on to the tray below nicely. I’d start checking in about 45mins in, if your top is getting too golden for your liking, place some tinfoil on top!

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Baby don’t you cry, gonna make a pie

For Christmas this year Santa (Mrs S Claus to you) gave me an Emile Henry pie plate. For those of you unfamiliar with fancy-pants pie plates, this plate is the shiz. Mon amie Emile set up shop in 1850 making enamelled ceramic bake-ware. It’s beautiful. It’s chip resistant. Adaptable to extreme temperatures. Basically, it’s a baker’s wet dream. Santa bought me the lovely “Le Grand” 30cm (that’s right baby!) pie dish in blanc. At first I thought about exchanging it for something more flashy, perhaps a cerise or fraicheur, but in the end I decided that the white was traditional and classic. And besides, flashy never calls you back.

This glorious dish has been sitting on my bedroom floor since Christmas, with only the warm, fluffy body of the cat occasionally napping inside its wavy walls. And last week it was time for me to pop this plate’s cherry, or rather apple. Caramel apple.

Now, let me let you in on a secret. I don’t bake pies often. I experience trepidation when it comes to creating a pie crust. It’s a lot of pressure. It needs to be flakey, buttery, crispy but not too crispy, not quite sweet and most certainly not salty. There’s much to be balanced, and I’m the kind of girl that falls down the stairs a lot. Add to that the labour intensive process of cutting cold butter and shortening into flour, and making sure everything is the right temperature, and then rolling it out nicely. Baking, as I’ve often been told, is a chemistry, and I stopped taking science after grade 10 Biology. So as mean a cake I can bake, and as awesome a cookie I create, it’s all magical instinct, and not a lick of science. This horrifies some of my more by-the-book and scientifically inclined baking buddies; their mouths often agape as I guesstimate the amount of sugar to pour in and accidentally throw in an extra egg or five. But, it all works out in the end. For me at least, probably something to do with my weekly blood sacrifices to the Gods of Baking.

Anyway.

So I decided to bake a caramel apple pie. This will be the fourth or perhaps fifth pie of my illustrious baking career? I can’t quite remember. I decide to use the crust recipe from my first ever pie. It’s a Barefat Contessa recipe for a deep dish apple pie. And when Barefat says “deep dish” that chick means it. This pie heaves more than a mermaid nailed to the front of a pirate ship. I made this pie in the heady days of autumn or winter 2007. I baked it to show off my mad housewife skillz to the guy I was smitten with and seeing at the time. The pie filling of that particular pie is a shit tonne of Granny Smith apples, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and some sugar. It’s a refreshingly tart pie. But one of the best pies I’ve ever made. So jackass tried some of my beautiful heaving pie, and says to me “Sometimes it’s nice when apple pie tastes like apple pie, and not like, you know, other stuff.” So after I ripped out his tongue and punched his teeth out, I asked him to write down what he meant by that ridiculous statement. Basically he meant he doesn’t like lemons. Or oranges. Or spices. Everyone else loved my pie. Even Dave who had only recently heard of an avocado loved my pie. It was a damn good pie. Jackass can suck it.

Right, back to present day. So I’m looking up this recipe on the Food Network’s website and for some ridiculous reason I decide to read the comments. I figured, as this was such an AWESOME pie, there would be a big puddle of praise: “Oh Barefat you win again!” “I ate this pie up like a BOWSS” “It was like a party in my mouth, and everyone was in love!” Or something similar. I mean it’s a great pie, and the internet is all about praise right? Bah hah hah sorry, I went too far with that last sentence.

No my friends, the internet is all about free speech, which as it turns out is all about bitching people out. Which is EXACTLY what I’m about to do. Yay interwebs!

So I present you with some of my favourite comments:

You know what? My boyfriend didn’t like the pie either, but guess what got thrown out? NOT THE PIE. Oh and the crust crumbling all over the place? Yeah, YOUR FAULT! Not the recipe. I dunno what you did, but you did it wrong. Stupid bint.

Too much zest? THROW IT AWAY. Makes sense to me. FACE PALM. ~Insert crude joke about confused husbands and pie~  Can’t get the taste out of your mouth INDEED. Twit.

Incidentally the soft and mushy-ness is YOUR FAULT. Also, I wish your ugly face wasn’t so soft and mushy either. Blockhead.

Oh JoJo, it’s such a shame you threw out $6 worth of apples instead of covering them in 75 cents of COOLWHIP and EXTRA SUGAR, you unpalatable fiscally irresponsible fool!!! Also you suck at ENGLISH.  Dunce.

The moral of the story is my caramel apple pie worked out just how I wanted it to. The crust, stolen from its citrus-infused counter-part, held up beautifully, and the sickly sweet caramel, was sickly sweet, but the Granny Smith’s still tasted like apples. And to all you foolish fools whose palates have been destroyed by too many Ho Ho’s and Passion Flakey’s, don’t, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS BAKED, throw out your “tart” pie, just put some freaking ice cream on it. Was your childhood some how devoid of things NOT coated in sugar? Have you ever just eaten an apple before? Surely you had sourballs and sour keys growing up? But seriously, don’t throw out your pie, just freaking SUCK IT UP.

How’d you like them apples?

Chumps.

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