Thursday, September 29, 2011
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?
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.