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Archive for the ‘Fruit Pies’ Category

[You can find the recipe for Slab Pie Pâte Brisée right here.  You can find the recipe for Slab Pie on Martha’s website right here. And finally, here’s why I do not include the recipes in my posts.]

Great recipe! Pretty quick and easy and the results, while simple, are quite impressive.

You start with a special recipe for Slab Pie Pâte Brisée which is very similar to Pâte brisée, I think it just makes a bigger batch. In fact, it’s almost more than one food processor can handle. (This is the food processor I use.)

Once the food processor has done its work, the dough is worked into two rectangles, one slightly larger than the other. These are wrapped and chilled.

The recipe is for one large 18″ x 13″ pie but I opted to make two smaller pies (about 12″ x 7″) using two different fruits. So once I had my two rectangles, I halved each of them so I’d have a bottom crust and top crust for two separate pies.

These are rolled out and placed in dry pans. (My favorite rolling pin.)

Fruit is prepared with a basic sugar mixture and poured into the pie shell. I opted to make one strawberry and one peach pie. The MSBH recipe’s first recommendation is for sour cherries, which would be awesome, but after two years of looking for them everywhere – even frozen – I had to give up and go with a different fruit choice. But I honestly think any type of pie fruit would be great in this recipe.

The top piece of dough is rolled out and placed on top of the fruit, the edges folded and crimped.

The top is brushed with a cream wash and pricked with little holes. Sanding sugar is optional but I highly recommend it. It is one of those little touches that goes a long way.

Then into the oven to bake. I had some juice leak out but otherwise they baked up beautifully. (Stack-able cooling racks.)

The best part about these pies is how easy they are to slice and serve. They would be perfect for a summer potluck or cookout.

I somehow had the idea to stack two different pieces, creating this pretty layer pie! You could get really creative with this and make some truly impressive dessert plates.

As for flavor and texture, it was delicious and perfect. The MSBH’s pie crust recipes are great and seem to be pretty foolproof. There’s nothing new or exciting going on here: it’s a basic fruit pie. But sometimes a basic fruit pie is just the thing, you know?

Have you made the Slab Pie from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments!

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Here’s another simple fruit pie from the MSBH that knocks it clear out of the park.  So good!

Apricot, peaches, and pitted sweet cherries make up the filling.

And a batch of pâte brisée makes up the crust.  It’s really quite straightforward.

The topping is a lattice formation, which I rushed through making because I was pressed for time.  My lattice pieces are horribly inconsistent in size!

The MSBH takes a very devil-may-care attitude towards the edging, instructing you to just do whatever your want with it.  I opted to pinch everything together and score with a fork – quick and easy, if not a little hurried looking.

Then it’s brushed with an egg wash, sprinkled with sanding sugar, and baked for about an hour.

The trio of apricots, peaches, and cherries are inspired – one of the best pies of my summer!

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I have said it before and I’ll say it again: I love fruit pies.  They are, perhaps, my favorite dessert of all time.  This simple blueberry pie from the MSBH is perfect, just perfect.

Blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice make the pie filling.  I also threw in some lemon zest because why the hell not.

A couple discs of pâte brisée are used for the bottom and top crusts.  The top crust is actually a collage of star shapes cut from the pâte brisée dough.  It is what separates this pie from other, less patriotic pies.

During the course of this little blogging project I’ve accumulated a lot of baking miscellany.  It took me a while to find my star-shaped cookie cutters.

Finally, there they were.  I really like Ateco’s line of graduated cookie cutters.  You can get them in all kinds of different shapes and they come in slim, round tin containers that make storage a snap.  They are really sturdy and keep their shape, despite being so thin and light-weight.  Hooray for good things.

The top portion of the dough is rolled out and frozen before being cut into the star shapes.

The bottom portion of dough is frozen too, after being shaped in the pie plate.  The filling goes into the frozen, unbaked crust and is dotted with butter.

And then it’s just a matter of placing the stars on top.  The more level my filling was, the easier it was to arrange the stars so that they overlapped a bit.  Once assembled, the top is brushed with egg wash and then the entire pie is frozen for about 30 minutes before going in to the oven to bake.

My stars shrunk while baking, and some began to sink in to the pie filling but I like how it ultimately turned out.

The flakey, buttery pâte brisée stars were a big hit and we picked them off our slices and ate them like little cookies.

Overall, this was a cinch to make.  There isn’t a lot of prep work for the fruit, as the blueberries just need to be washed and picked over.  The stars really were no fuss at all and they are so much more interesting than just a plain solid top crust or even a lattice crust.

It was still way too warm to slice and plate when I took this picture, but we couldn’t wait any longer.  The smell of sugary baked blueberries was too strong to ignore.  The slices held their shape much better the next day, after the pie had completely cooled.  But I do encourage you to enjoy one serving while the pie is still a little bit warm from the oven, with a scoop of quality vanilla ice cream on top.  Microwaved pie is not the same as warm-from-the-oven pie.  And really, is there anything better in the world that a slice of warm blueberry pie served à la mode  with a glass of cold, fizzy ginger beer after supper in July?  (No, no there is not.)

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This apple pie recipe is almost identical to the MSBH recipe for Classic Apple Pie except that instead of using Pâte Brisée you use a recipe for Almond Crumb Crust.

This crust is made with finely ground blanched almonds, which I highly recommend one buys rather than makes.  Bob’s Red Mill sells them in most grocery stores in small bags (“Almond Meal/Flour“).

The crust and topping for this pie are the same thing and are made by cutting the butter into the almond flour and other dry ingredients.

I had a hard time forming the crust mixture to the create the lip of the crust, so my pie ended up with a very organic, handmade look.

I  finally found the Rome and Cortland apples (organic, even!) that the MSBH is always recommending.  Unfortunately, I found them in a large Cheyenne grocery store.  This is becoming a theme for me here – having to find ingredients 45 miles outside of Laramie in Cheyenne.  I hate to say it, because I want everyone to support Laramie businesses, but what I’ve found is that the produce in Cheyenne offers not only a wider variety, but much higher quality than what can be found in Laramie.  One of the perks of living in one of Wyoming’s “major” cities, I suppose.

I understand why the MSBH recommends these apple varieties for baking.  They keep their shape while baking and come out with just the right tenderness.  They have big apple flavor too.  I love them.

I always use a lot of fruit in my fruit pies.  Then the remaining almond crumb mixture is crumbled on top.

It bakes up as easy as, well, pie.

It’s a nice alteration of the Classic Apple Pie recipe and tastes wonderful.  The Almond Crumb Crust is delicious and provides a nice nutty complement to the apples.

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So there was this hilarious but short-lived t.v. show called Samantha Who that starred Christina Applegate and if you had a chance to see it before it was canceled last year, you know that as wonderful as Applegate was in it, the real stars were her character’s two best friends, Andrea and Dena, played by Jennifer Esposito and Melissa McCarthy, respectively.

So in the Second Season episode, “The Ex,”  it is revealed that beautiful, gorgeous, fashionable, confident Andrea doesn’t like to have her photo taken because for some reason, she is doomed to look hideously awful in photographs.  There’s this sequence of absurd photos proving her non-photogenicness and then Dena agrees to take a good photo of her come hell or high water, and hilarity ensues and really, why was that show canceled???  I think episodes are still available for download at iTunes and they’re so worth it.

Anyhow, all of that is a very long way of saying that some pies are like the Andrea Belladonna of the baking world.  In real life they are gorgeous and sophisticated and although they may seem shallow, are really quite deep with flavor.  So don’t let the above or any subsequent photos mislead you, this Classic Apple Pie is beautiful.

Granny Smith apples are about the only good baking apples I have access to in Laramie.  I’ve never found any of the Rome, Macoun, Cortland, or Empire apples Martha’s always recommending in her recipes.

The Granny Smiths are just fine, though, and the filling is a literal classic combination of apples, lemon juice, cinnamon & nutmeg, and some of the other usual suspects in fruit pies.

I use Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible a lot and she always allows her apples to macerate before further prepping for the pie.  When I started doing this and then reducing the resulting liquid on the stovetop before filling the pie, my pie-making improved by leaps and bounds.  So, I was reluctant to just immediately dump the apple mixture into the pie crust.  I envisioned a flood of sugary apple juices ruining the pie and wreaking havoc on my non-self-cleaning oven.  I so wanted to macerate.  But I trusted the MSBH recipe and proceeded without macerating.

I did, however, add a tablespoon of pearl tapioca to assuage my anxiety just a bit.  But that’s the only change I made.

You can see the tapioca in the photo above, along with the small pieces of butter you add before putting on the top crust.

The crust is just the simple pâte brisée.  It’s then brushed with an egg wash, sprinkled with sugar, and vented with some small cuts.  The entire thing goes in the freezer before being baked.

The apples cook down quite a bit and I love how you end up with a pie cavern.  I think pies are my favorite thing to bake, especially fruit pies.  And I definitely love to eat them.

See, that piece of pie is, in actuality, a thing of beauty but it just doesn’t translate in the photo.  Biege food is always hard for me to photograph well.  But believe me, it tastes perfect.  There’s nothing here that’s too different from most other “classic” apple pie recipes, but the MSBH recipe for pâte brisée and the simple ingredients are all you really need.

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