Homemade pie, with all of its wonderful little imperfections, is pretty stinkin great. It doesn’t look like that oddly perfect-looking pie from Village Inn, Stepford Wife-esque with its unblemished crust and crimped edges. No sir. The homemade pie might have a little burnt spot on the edge. Maybe the fruit inside spilled through the seam a little. There could be a couple tears in the crust like this pie has. But unlike that store bought pie that was probably made completely by machine, this pie, the handmade pie, is baked by a real live person. Probably someone you know and love. They tended the crust (we all know pie crusts need a little TLC) and made sure nothing got too warm before baking time. They picked out the best fruit they could find. They turned on their oven in the middle of summer when the last thing anyone needs is a giant box filled with 375-degree air in their non-air-conditioned house, spewing the leftover heat into the kitchen like it’s a fire-breathing dragon. This person baked you a pie. And that, as my mom would say, is a beautiful thing.
This pie starts out, like most good things, with butter.
This crust is a little different because while the butter is still cold, you’ll roll it out so it makes little strips of butter. It’s kinda tricky but that’s cool cuz we’re going for the flakiness here.
Then it goes back in the bowl, and you’ll add buttermilk.
Then it’ll need some time to cool off in the fridge. It’s hot outside, and pie crust can feel it too.
Now, it’s berry time. These babies will get tossed with some lemon juice and sugar.
When the crust is finally done chilling, roll it out on a floured surface, gently lift it into your pie pan, sprinkle some breadcrumbs in there to help absorb all the berry juice, and pour in the berries. You can see a few spots where i had to patch the pie crust. No big deal. That’s what the homemade pie is all about!
Then, grab the other piece of dough from the fridge and roll it out, lift on top, and seal the edges. I won’t pretend I know how to beautify the edge of a pie crust, so I’ll tell you not to worry about it. No one will notice, and if they do, they’ll forget as soon as they have a bite, And if they don’t forget, take away their pie and give it to someone else. (Not that I want to deny anyone a slice of this…but still.) Make sure to cut some vents in the top so the steam from the fruit juice can escape.
I realize it’s a little late in the season for blueberries (where did you go, summer?), but if you can find them, this would be the perfect send-off for them until next year.
Blueberry Blackberry Pie
Makes 1 double-crusted 9-inch pie
For the crust:
1 cup (two sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (5-6 ounces) buttermilk, cold
For the filling:
2 pints fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
1 cup granulated sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
a big pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 a lemon
juice from 1/2 a lemon, or more to taste
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs or crushed graham crackers
1 large egg, beaten with about a tablespoon of water
First make the crust. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Measure out your buttermilk and place it in the refrigerator so it stays cold.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Grab the butter from the freezer and toss it with the flour mixture until all the butter is coated.
Dump the cold butter and flour onto a large, clean area of counter for rolling. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture so that the butter cubes become flat, thin sheets. Work quickly – the butter should stay cold.
Gather the rolled butter and flour, but them back into the bowl, and refrigerate for 10 minutes. When the butter is cold, remove the bowl from the refrigerator and make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour the cold buttermilk into the mixture all at once. Using your hands, bring the dough together, breaking up any clumps of milk and flour that form. The dough will be shaggy, but all the flour should be moistened. If it isn’t, add another tablespoon of buttermilk. Once it’s all mixed together, divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
At this point, you can keep the dough in the fridge for 3 days or freezer for 3 weeks before using it. If you want to freeze it, roll the dough into sheets and wrap them in plastic wrap, then freeze.
While the crust chills, make the filling. Rinse the berries and place them in a large bowl. Add the flour, sugar, salt, zest, and juice to the bowl and stir it all together gently. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then taste it and add more lemon if needed.
After at least and hour has passed, remove one of the pie crust disks from the fridge. Flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll the crust out into a circle. Lift it into the pie plate and trim the edges. Leave bout 1/2 an inch of overhand all around.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs or crushed graham crackers over the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. Slowly pour in the berries and spread them evenly with the back of a spoon. Have your egg wash ready and moisten the edges of the crust.
Place the pie plate with the bottom crust and filling in the fridge while you roll out the top crust. Make the top crust into a 12-inch circle. Remove the pie plate from the fridge and drape the top crust over the filling. Trim it back tuck the two crusts under so the dough is flush with the edge of the pie plate. The egg wash will act like a pie crust glue, keeping them together. Crimp with your fingers or the tines of a fork to seal. Cut 4 slits in the top crust to act as vents. Place the pie in the fridge to chill while the oven preheats.
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven, and a cookie sheet on another rack below to catch any juice that bubbles over. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Brush the top and outside edge of the pie with the egg wash. Generously sprinkle granulated sugar over the top. Bake the pie at 425 F for 30 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling up through the vents. If the crust starts browning too quickly, cover the pie loosely with foil while it bakes (the steam will still need to vent).
Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Don’t worry about it getting to cool. I brought my pie to a barbecue, it sat outside for about an hour and a half, and it still steamed when I cut into it. Enjoy and give yourself a pat on the back!
I’m definitely not one of the neatest people in the world. I don’t always do my dishes right away (and by ‘not always’ I mean ‘basically never’). My bedroom floor is a mess of books and socks and shoes. My purse is a mess of hair ties and receipts. And don’t even get me started on my laundry situation…who needs to fold clean clothes when you can just keep them in the hamper until they’re all dirty again?
So the first time I saw a picture of a galette, I was pretty excited. It’s just like a pie, but a little messy! You don’t have to worry about rolling the dough out to fit the pie pan, or rolling the top crust to the perfect size to fit the bottom crust. No need to secure the two crusts together and make it all fluted and pretty around the edges. All you have to do is roll out the dough to a mostly-circular shape, put the fruit on top, and fold over the edge. It’s as pretty as pie in a messy kind of way and tastes just the same. Perfect for those of us who can’t be bothered with too much neatness.
A galette begins just like a pie does, with a nice buttery crust. We roll it out and drape it over a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Then the fruit! I’ve never made anything with rhubarb before. I think it’s one of those things that you don’t like as a kid and then you forget about it until you see it at the store years later and think, “Huh. That looks good.” So I decided to give it a try. (Good decision, obviously).
This galette is perfect for spring. It’s mostly sweet, with a little tartness from the rhubarb. Some slightly sweetened whipped cream gives it the perfect finishing touch.
Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
From Food and Wine
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 tablespoons ice water
Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl and blend with a fork. Scatter the butter on top. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or your hands until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle the water on top and toss with the fork.
Use your hands to press the mixture into a dough. Pat the dough into a 6-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
For the filling:
1 pint strawberries, thickly sliced
1 pound fresh rhubarb, cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole milk, or 1 beaten egg
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. On a clean floured surface, roll the dough into a 16-inch round 1/8 inch thick. Work quickly to keep the butter cold. I also found that I needed to use a little more flour than I normally do for dough, so don’t be afraid to overdo it. Transfer the rolled-out dough to the baking sheet and chill 10 minutes.
Toss the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large bowl. Spread the fruit over the pastry to within 2 inches of the edge. Fold the outer edge of the dough over the filling, pleating it every 2 inches or so. Brush the dough with milk or egg. Sprinkle some extra sugar on the dough if you want. Dot the filling with the 4 tablespoons butter.
Bake the galette for one hour in the center of the oven, or until the fruit is bubbling and the dough golden brown. Let cool slightly before cutting.
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla on high until soft peaks form or until your desired consistency.
Serve aside the galette.
Is it okay to post two lemon recipes in a row if the first one is savory and the second one is one of the prettiest desserts you’ll ever see? I hope so, because I actually have a third lemon recipe to share at some point, but I’ll give it a rest for a while after this. But this. I had to share this. As soon as I could. In these cloudy, misty, so-foggy-I-can-only-see-two-cars-ahead-and-WHY-DON’T-YOU-HAVE-YOUR-HEADLIGHTS-ON days of winter, this tart is a much needed ray of sunshine for the tastebuds. Come on people. Turn on your stinkin’ headlights and maybe I’ll share with you, too.
Seriously. It’s the food version of what I imagine sitting under one of those sunlight lamps for a couple hours would feel like. Bright, cheery, and a little sweet, this tart is just the pick-me-up you need right now. Plus, when life, in the form of your Southern Californian aunt who has a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard, gives you eight fresh Meyer lemons, what else are you going to do?
We start this off like most good things start. Butter, egg yolks, flour, sugar…
This is what the tart looks like without the candied lemons on top. Just a nice, soft, creamy filling made of cream and lemon zest and lemon juice and sugar and eggs.
Then the candied lemon slices get arranged on top and we sprinkle some powdered sugar on and bask in the little bit of sunlight that just came out of the oven.
Meyer Lemon Tart
Recipe by Roxana, found here.
For the Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the Filling:
3/4 cup superfine sugar (you can pulse 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a food processor a few times if you don’t have it. I don’t have a food processor and also didn’t have superfine sugar, so I used plain ol’ granulated sugar and it turned out just fine.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
For the Topping:
2-3 Meyer lemons
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
Make the Crust:
In a food processor, pulse the flour, butter, egg yolks, sugar and salt for about a minute until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You can also use a pastry cutter and a bowl, or your hands, which is what I did. Just make sure that if you mix it with your hands, you work quickly so the butter doesn’t get to warm or soft. Add a couple drops of ice water at a time, until the dough forms a ball. I ended up using about a tablespoon of water.
Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 400 F. After 30 minutes in the fridge, remove the crust and roll it out on a clean, lightly floured counter. Carefully lift the crust and place it in an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom corner and edges of the pan and trim the excess. (I used a 9-inch pan – just had a little more extra dough to trim.)
Place a piece of parchment paper in the crust and fill it with pie wights/dry rice/dry beans. Bake 15 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights and bake the crust uncovered for 10 more minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Make the Filling:
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes, until pale in color. Add in the cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake for 35-40 minutes, until just set. Cool the tart completely before removing from the pan.
Make the Topping:
Thinly slice the lemons and remove the seeds.
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon slices to the sugar water and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until the pulp looks transparent. Remove the slices from the water and arrange them on the tart. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, and enjoy.
I took this tart into my office and it was gone within an hour, but I suspect you could keep it in the fridge for a couple days without anything bad happening.
Last week was one gigantic sugar-coated, caramel-filled, chocolate-dipped Christmas treat extravaganza at my office. We had a potluck one day, and the 40+ people who work there couldn’t even finish all the desserts. I definitely had
a little more WAY more than my fair share, just at the potluck. There were countless cookies, rice krispie treats, chocolates, Hershey kiss and m&m topped pretzels….
The day of the potluck, I ended up at work until almost midnight. The plus side was that while I was working, I got to snack on the leftovers. A couple cookies at 8:00, leftover salad at 9:30, and at 11:00 another sliver of this tart, which was my potluck contribution. Don’t ask me how it didn’t all get eaten during the day. Who picks too-sweet but still tasteless store-bought cookies over something rich, chocolatey, homemade, and a little boozy? Beats me. I’d pick this tart over something from a grocery store bakery any day, but I was glad to have some late at night.
This tart is rich and very chocolatey, with a nice citrus flavor, a hint of booze, and a little spicy kick from the cinnamon. We start by candying some orange peel.
Then we’re mixing butter and cocoa powder and sugar and cinnamon and a little flour and salt.
Crust gets rolled out and baked.
Then, the orange peel gets chopped up and some chocolate gets melted.
Orange peel and almonds go in the crust.
Melted chocolate gets poured in, and the tart chills for a bit in the fridge. And then we get to feel really fancy while we eat it.
This tart is a little labor-intensive, but completely worth it. It’s worth your weekend afternoon, both for the taste and for the oohs and ahs you’ll get from your family when you show up at Christmas dinner with it. Have a wonderful holiday!
Dark Chocolate and Orange Tart with Toasted Almonds
Candied Orange Peel:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup slivered almost, toasted, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liquor
For the candied orange peel:
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel (orange part only) from the orange in strips. Cut strips into pieces the size of matchsticks and place in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 seconds and drain. Rise the pan, add 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and peel. Over medium-low heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer until the peel is translucent and the syrup thick, about 20 minutes. With the tines of a fork, transfer peel to a plate to cool. Peel can be made 1 day ahead. Cover it and store at room temperature.)
For the crust:
With an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the cocoa powder. Add in the four and beat until dough comes together in moist clumps. Form the dough into a ball; flatten the ball into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Roll the crust out between sheets of waxed paper to an 11-inch round. Remove the top sheet of paper and invert the dough over a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Peel off second sheet of paper. Gently press the dough into the pan, pressing the overhang in to form double-thick sides. Pierce dough all over with a fork and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake crust until the sides look dry and the bottom looks bubbly, about 14 minutes. Transfer crust to rack. If the sides of the dough are falling, use the back of a spoon to press them up. Cool crust completely.
For the filling:
Toss the almonds, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Chop all but 2 strips of the orange peel. Sprinkle the chopped orange peel over the bottom of the prepared crust, and then sprinkle the almond mixture over. Place the cream in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the Grand Marnier. Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust. Refrigerate tart until filling is firm, at least 3 hours. Garnish with the remaining 2 orange peel strips. Tart can be make 1 day ahead. Keep covered loosely with foil in the fridge.
To serve, gently loosen the crust from the sides of the pan with a sharp knife. Cut tart into wedges and serve cold.
When I was about middle-school age, demanding and hard-to-please as any other 13-year-old girl, my great-grandma used to make me pie crust cookies every time she made a pie. Extra dough, cut up into squares, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and baked until just the tiniest bit golden, Granny’s pie crust cookies were perfection. That 95-year-old lady sure knew how to make my bratty pre-teen self happy.
Why did I like those pie crust cookies so much? I’m definitely a crust person. Save the pie crust, cheesecake crust for last. It’s the best part. I call dibs on the corner brownies. That snake-looking brownie pan in SkyMall that makes ALL the brownies edge brownies? Dream come true. I guess it runs in the family because my grandpa (Granny’s son) was also a crust and edge brownie person. It really is the best part. And this pie totally has the crust to filling ratio nailed. It’s better than a regular circular two-crust pie. Those have way too much filling. This pie has a thinner layer of apple filling, just enough to add the sweetness a pie needs, but let the crust be the star. And star it is, my friends. The crust of this pie is glorious. Buttery, flaky, and perfect. Just like pie crust cookies.
First step is the dough. We’ll bring flour, a little sugar and salt, cold butter, and cold water together into a big shaggy mess of a ball. Really cold butter and water is important – that’s what makes the crust flaky! Then it’ll sit in the fridge for a while. We don’t want the butter to get soft, because no tiny pieces of butter means no flakes.
Then we’ll peel a whole bunch of apples. I used 4 granny smith, 3 pink lady, and 2 golden delicious.
Apples get mixed with some cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a little lemon juice.
Now, we roll out the crust. This is the trickiest part. You want to work fast so the butter doesn’t get soft, and use a little more flour than you think you need to keep it from sticking to the counter. (The bottom crust of my pie totally ripped when I was transferring it to the pan…but no on can tell!)
Top crust goes on, crimp the edges, cut some vents, brush with an egg wash. And just look at how beautiful this behemoth of a pie is.
Apple Slab Pie
From Smitten Kitchen – I think hers is the best pie crust ever
Serves 15+, depending on how you cut it. I was going for 18 but messed up on the cutting, and if you cut it into 15 the pieces are pretty big. But definitely manageable 🙂
For the Crust:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons table salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, very cold, cubed
3/4 cup very cold water
For the Filling:
3 1/2-4 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into about 1/2-inch chunks (about 8 cups)
Squeeze of lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup if you want it sweeter)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream or one egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk, lemon juice, apple cider, maple syrup (you’ll need more than a tablespoon for syrup) or other preferred liquid (would have used bourbon if I hadn’t brought it to work), plus a little more if needed
Make the pie crust:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter using a pastry blender, two forks, or your hands until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir the water in gently with a rubber spatula, mixing until a craggy mass forms. Knead the dough a few times with your hand to form a ball.
Divide the dough in half (it’s ok – possibly better – if one piece is slightly larger than the other). Flatten each half into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to two days. You can also freeze the wrapped dough in a freezer bag for a couple months. Leave it in the fridge for a day to defrost.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10x15x1-inch cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
Prepare the filling:
In a large bowl, toss the apples with lemon juice until coated. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly coated.
Assemble the pie:
On a floured surface, roll one of the dough halves (the bigger one if they weren’t quite even) into an 18×13-inch rectangle. It will be kind of hard, but do your best to work quickly, keep the dough as cold as possible, and use enough flour so that it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. It will overhang a bit, use this to fill in the corners and edges of the pan. Some should still hang over the sides of the pan, trim the overhang to 3/4 inch.
Pour the apple mixture in the pan and spread evenly.
Roll the other half of the dough (the smaller one) into a 16×11-inch rectangle. Drape it over the filling and fold the overhang of the bottom crust over the edges of the top crust, sealing them together. Cut slits all over the top crust to act as vents. Brush with cream or egg wash. Bake 40-45 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Cool on a wire rack until just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and liquid until thin enough to pour. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the pie. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Pie will keep at room temperature for 3 days.