Monday, November 24, 2008

Pie making workshop

On the day before Thanksgiving, Alisa and Sandy and I had a pie-baking workshop, to brush-up our pastry skills. The results were yummy.

Pie crust (makes two nine inch rounds):
Fill a two-cup measure with ice and add water to just cover, set aside. In very large bowl combine 3 cups flour and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cut in 1/2 cup good quality solid vegetable shortning (Crisco) till consistency of cornmeal. Cut in another 1/2 cup (1 cup total) shortning till combined coarsely. (Do not overwork.) Sprinkle in about 1/3 cup of iced-water and combine with a fork; add iced-water till dough sticks together but is not mushy or wet, tossing with fork continually. Discard any extra iced-water. Do not overwork the dough. Dump dough onto a sheet of waxed paper or freezer paper and use paper to form into a ball. (Do not touch dough with hands.) Put in freezer (no longer than 45 min. to 1 hr.) Wipe out bowl and set aside for apples.
Streusel-topped Apple Pie (makes 2 nine- or ten-inch pies)
For pie filling, in small bowl combine and set aside:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
a few scrapes of freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of salt
For streusel topping, in medium bowl combine and set aside:
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
Mix flour and sugar, cut in butter with pastry blender to coarse consistency.
Peel, core and slice (1/4-inch to 3/8-inch slices) 15 or 16 Golden Delicious apples (about 5-6 lbs.). Set aside in large bowl.
Take pie-crust dough out of freezer, unwrap and cut in half. On flour-dusted pastry cloth using a rolling pin covered with a flour-dusted rolling-pin cover, roll pie dough into a rough circle about 13 to 14-inches in diameter. Using cloth, fold crust in half and transfer to pie pan with your hands. (If you do not have naturally cold hands, rinse them in cold water, and dry them before touching dough.) Fold under edges of crust and scallop. (Cut off any excess dough.) Repeat for second pie.
Mix contents of small bowl with apples. Toss lightly. Divide apple filling between two crusts, heaping apples till no more will stay in (leave a few cinnamon-sugar coated apples in the bowl for the kids to pilfer). Sprinkle each pie with half of the contents of medium bowl (streusel topping). 
Bake in pre-heated 425-degree oven for about an hour, or till apples are soft when tested with a sharp knife. (Cover pies with aluminum foil after 30-minutes of baking to prevent over-browning of crust and topping.) Remove from oven. Set on racks to cool completely. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Libby’s brand Pumpkin Pie recipe (makes two nine-inch pies)
This is the traditional holiday pumpkin pie. This classic has been on LIBBY'S® Pumpkin labels since 1950. 

1-1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
28-oz. can Libby's 100-percent pure pumpkin (Do not use pumpkin pie mix!)
4 eggs
3 cups half and half (light cream -- Original recipe calls for evaporated milk; I don't use that.)
2 nine-inch (4 cup measure) pie shells (see pie crust recipe above)
whipped cream, if desired
Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in half-and-half. Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350-degrees; bake for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for two hours. Serve immediately, or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.