Men love Pie.
It’s a fact. Out of all the desserts that I have made in the past 6 years, Pie is by far my husband favorite dessert. I don’t make it as often as he likes, because well, you know, cooked fruit!
The funny part of it his, is that when I do make pie, it has never failed me (keep this in mind for later) – not once. Every single time, the pie is a success – I make my husband happy, he gets to stuff his face with a dessert that he is likes and I get to say that I made pie - in marriage is the little things. Then, I go into hibernation for months before I make another one.
This week we hit the pie chapter in Rose’s The Baking Bible and it could not have been a better choice, Black and Blueberries pie was up and when I told Tom, he started to high five himself and then went on and on asking when it would be ready. Men can be like little boys.
This should fall under the quick and easy, especially if you make the piecrust ahead of time and keep it in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
Rose’s recipe for the pie crust is a basic cream cheese pie crust. Flour, butter, cream cheese, cider vinegar, salt and heavy cream all came together to make one of the best behave pie dough that I had the pleasure to work with. I used everything but the cider vinegar, which I did not have, and replaced that missing ingredient it with vodka. (yes, I know, I also do use booze on pies)
Rose likes to pour everything into a plastic bag and knead it that way, I like to pour everything into my cold marble slab and use my hands – I know, I know, I like to break rules once in a while, just to save time. And join Raymond in being Alpha baker rebels.
1 hour in the freezer and then; on to rolling, rolling, rolling. As mentioned before, the dough was a dream to work with, no breaks, nothing but beutiful rolled dough. I did use my pastry cloth, which I LOVE. It’s made of durable cotton canvas and rubbing a little flour into the cloth prevents sticking without adding excess flour to the dough, keeping the pastry light and flaky. After using it, you shake out the excess flour and crumbs and fold up for storage – I actually keep mine in the freezer. I also use a rolling pin cover.
Rose uses a flan ring to trim the dough into the round shape and then transfer it over to your pie baking plate. I have yet to make the investment on the ring, so I did it the old fashion way – I took a bowl that is 12-inch round and use that to trim my crust. We’re really high tech at Casa P – especially after walking around my kitchen with a ruler at hand and saying “Hmm, what’s 12 inches in here?” aloud.
Transfer your crust to your pie plate, fold the excess under and since this is a double crusted pie, you can hold off on crimping the edges, until you put the top crust, but I had and idea in my head about my top, so I went head and formed a “V” all around the thing making the whole thing so cute, I could barely take it. I love uncooked pie, they look so very pretty showing the world all the effort you made on the decorating because, once its cooked, all this effort goes out the window, you can never predict what happens in the oven to pie.
Next up the filling, which again a breeze to put together – Blackberries, Blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and corn starch, mix it all up and voila – Finito! Pour into your pie plate and back in the freezer it goes.
Now the top, same deal as before roll the dough out and this is where I totally broke every rule in the bake along and went off scrip – I got creative. The dough was behaving so well, I just could not stand not to get crafty with my top. I wanted something pretty and whimsy – So I took out my cookie cutters and zero in the flower shape and then just started to make lots of flowers, big and small and covered the pie with it. I took a gazillion pictures before I covered in and put it in the freezer.
And then I went into a bit of a panic.
I had started a bit late in the making of the pie and by the time I finished, it was way to dark outside in order for me to bake the pie and have it ready for picture time for the blog. So it was going to have to sit in the freezer for 24 hours before I was able to cook it the next day.
insert FREAKOUT moment here, when I realized that if I left it in the freezer overnight, it was going to be too cold to place in the hot stone that the recipe called for, and that plate (or even the stone) may chatter on me, making quite a mess i the process.
This is when I thank our Facebook group and the internet. I reached out with my concern to the group and Rose responded - cook it on the rack first, let it come to the same temperature and then move it to the stone to finish cooking. And not that I don’t trust her, but I actually reached the Pyrex customer service (via Twitter) and they confirmed to me that cold to hot oven is ok, the issue is hot to cold (Say, hot plate, placed on cold surface) - no bueno.
So I woke up Saturday with all my baker experience intact. Pie went from freezer to hot oven, and sat on the rack for the first 20 min of cooking, and then I moved it to the bottom rack that had the pizza stone and let it cooked another 40 minutes. I took it out of the oven when the top was nice and golden and the juices were bubbling.
And in that moment, it all went to hell.
Pictures lie. it may look really pretty, but underneath was another story.
See, my beautifull pie was super watery and I mean REALLY watering, not normal juicy, its going to harden after resting, because, when I cut the first piece (after 4 hours on the counter), I spooned over ½ cup of juice out of the pie – Yikes!
I had swimming berries in there.
I knew that one other baker had the same issue, since she posted it in our facebook page and during the conversation it was noted that the pie may not have cooked long enough, but my pie was in the oven the full amount of time the recipe said it was suppose to be at, in fact I let it cook over another 10 minutes just because it looked a bit watery when I went to check on it – so I have no clue what went wrong here. Looking at the finish picture in the book, the filling looks almost like jam. Mine – not so much, the fruit was cooked, but about 60% of the pie was still in whole pieces – no jam factor.
I went down a mental list. When I was doing the filling, the fruit was frozen. The mixing of the filling was fine, it did not have any liquid at all when i transfered it to the pie after mixing, the pie went from freezer to oven, so it did not have any time to even break out in a sweat. During cooking, the juices flowing out of the pie, was syrup-y and not watering. The pie sat for 4+ hours on the counter before we even cut into it. So I’m in baffled.
I’m batting at 2 for 2 here, last week the whip cream disaster, this week the filling disaster - am I losing my mojo here? I mean, this is NOT my first rodeo with a berry pie - I made blueberry pie before and no soupy interior on that one.
This was a head scratcher for sure. Maybe the 24 hour freezer was the culprit here?
The tasters (hubby and stepson) did not seem to mind one bit. Both told me the taste was superb, not to sweet, tart as it should be and the crust was flaky and almost cookie tasting. Tom, told me “Even a soupy homemade pie is miles better than a commercial one. Serve it with pride, and if you must do a second one, I will eat it” - can you tell where my husband priority are?
I guess I can call this a win? But, the pool of juice will haunt me on this one.
You can check out the rest of The Baking Bible Alpha Bakers doing their stuff by stopping at the bake along blog.
Disclaimer: As previously noted, no recipes are shared in my Cake Bible posts, due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher of Rose’s The Baking Bible. But, you can support me and her by purchasing the book.