Thursday, September 29, 2011

Leaf Pie: Q & A

Leaf pie

A long time ago, and far far away, I shared this little number amidst the depths of winter as part of a "scenes from a weekend" post. It was just something I happened to do that weekend and while great times were had by all I'm sure, it never really occurred to me to explain more about it. Then came along Pinterest.

I was stoked when I found out that a colleague of mine from where I used to work in DC founded the site (he was always one of the best researchers to work with and good things should happen to good people!) and then even more stoked when I saw just how popular this little pie had gotten. This seems fitting for me as I used to bake pies for my researches when I had to work on the weekends since baked goods have a way of getting people to not keep you in your cubicle for all hours of the night on a Saturday. Well anywho, I was never the popular girl at school (teenagers who are into baking pies and working at antique stores so often are not, alas) but it's several months down the line now and I am still fielding questions about it so I thought it was high time I posted them here for all to see! Let's get right to it, shall we?

pastry cutters

How did you get those leaf shapes?
I used these cool little pasty cutters from Williams-Sonoma that make the indented leaf shape. I believe they make different shapes according to the seasons and I got mine as a stocking stuffer. Cuz, you know, my husband knows I am way too cheap to buy them for myself.

You could use cookie cutters but the nice thing about these is they have a spring mechanism that helps press the dough out without smooshing them (yes, smooshing is my technical term). And as anyone who's made pie knows, the key to a good one is handling the dough as little as possible.

Hint from my Nana:
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough as soon as you get it all mixed. After 15-20 minutes, place the dough on your floured surface and roll it out with the plastic wrap spread out between your rolling pin and the dough. This will ensure it handles better and that you touch it less. The refrigeration will also give the dough the "umph" it needs to sit out and play nice while you cut it up.

How did you stack these leaves in the pie? Is there a top crust too? Did you use an egg wash to make them stick to each other?
The leaves you see are the top crust, there is no dough underneath supporting it and no egg wash. I just went at it and started placing them in ever smaller concentric circles that slightly overlap, beginning from the outside in. I think the key is in just having them barely overlap like they are here as too much overlapping would create a whole heck of a lot of dough. Also, you can see I left some spaces at the first layer and there are some more little spaces between each layer due to the barely overlapping placement—this leaves air vents to make sure that your innerds gets cooked all the way.

How long did it take you?
Not that much more than a usual lattice crust (so, like 10 minutes?). I think the pie probably looks intimidating but it really didn't take that long. Lots of folks end up buying store bought because they think pie crust is hard, but you don't have to hate on those who make pie because it's actually super easy once you get the hang of it. I just wouldn't lie to you about something like pie!

What kind of pie supports that crust? 
I have always used the Basic Pie Dough recipe from my hand-me-down 1980 copy of The Joy of Cooking (recipe blogged here).  That said, I rolled the dough out a bit thinner than usual for the leaves (app. 1/4 inch), so the weight of the thing did not even cross my mind at the time and I think you could get away with just about any fruit/mince meat type filling as long as it was not too runny. In that particular photo, I used an apple filling from scratch which gave it that nice crested shape.

How messy is it to serve?
Mine crumbled a bit when we cut it but not to the extent that anyone cared. Because, well, it's pie that you made from scratch and everyone is just really excited about how cool it looks and how awesome it's going to taste, you know? Embrace the crumbles!

Good luck and happy pie making! If you've got anymore questions, just leave them in the comments section on this post and I will answer so everyone can see.

P.S. If you want to follow me on pinterest, I'm over here.


Angela said...

Oh very cool that you have such a popular pie on Pinterest.... how did you find out how many people "pinned" it?

thestoryofkat said...

You know, I don't think there's any one great way to do it yet because people can pin your content from your blog/shop/flickr/wherever and it's nearly impossible to filter through the stuff from each website on there. I just found a picture from my blog I'd been tagged in and then was able to click a link that took me to other photos from my blog. The other thing that will show me some of what's been pinned is just searching my shop's name. Can't wait until they make it easier to know how much of your own content is on there!

Meeling said...

So cool Kat!! That is an absolutely gorgeous pie!!

Hope all is well...haven't seen you around much busy gal! ;-)

Brynn said...

This is beautiful! I found this via pinterest, also, just so you know... :) I think I would do a buttertart-like maple filling in here with pecans and raisins. :)

I Play Outside The Box said...

So very pretty!

Anonymous said...

I need the recipe please, the link is not abalable.
many thanks

thestoryofkat said...

Tesi, the link has been fixed, not sure how that happened but thanks for the heads up and happy pie making :)

Becca said...

I would like to pin this post! I found it through another blog that was pinning your post without attribution. I like to hunt down the original website and author so I can pin it directly from the original. Your website doesn't allow me to pin the image (I imagine you did that on purpose), and your official pinterest doesn't have this pie on it (unless I am missing it?). So therefore, my only option to pin this photo is from the other site. Any suggestions? I guess I just want you to know this issue I am having.

[On a good note, through this I have discovered your blog and twitter, which I love! I've added you to my RSS reader. Thanks! I'm a new fan!]

thestoryofkat said...

Thanks so much Becca—I'm flattered to have you as a new reader and I really appreciate your due diligence in respecting my work and images!
I am not aware of any reason why one of my images could not be pinned as I have not, at this time, made them "unpinnable." I also do not pin my own images as that is discouraged by Pinterest. You should be able to pin here, but if you choose to pin from the other blog, I would much appreciate a line of credit in the note with the pin itself. I hope that everyone respects my copyright and does not repost my images without my permission, but I do not mind if they get pinned, and appreciate the "free press" as it were :) Unfortunately, in this day and age, that is the best light to view that kind of thing in as one is so powerless in doing much about it.
(p.s. I don't currently have a twitter feed, so that is probably someone else you have found there)