Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Hopefully you’re having some leftover pie for breakfast today. # 149: Cherry Apricot Raspberry Pie
Cheers to another Turkey day of delicious food, family time and pie crust! My Thanksgiving traditions have evolved over the years, from cousin’s houses to my partner’s family gatherings, but one thing has always stayed constant: watching the Macy’s Day Parade and the National Dog Show with my mom throughout the morning. They’re the perfect backdrop for making endless amount of pie crust and cornbread/sausage stuffing. Also, the bulldog won this year! He had his own little ramp to get up to the judging table, so cute.
Pie crust can be so controversial this time of year: butter? shortening? both? Everyone’s got their tried-and-true recipe in their back pocket, but I went rogue and tried a new one this year. It had both butter and shortening, plus milk! I know, I know. Calm down. Change can be good.
Now, my grandma’s recipe is an all-shortening crust (see Gravenstein Apple Pie) and my favorite hand-pie crust of all time is a 100% butter crust. Both provide the necessary fat and richness to hold the flour together, but shortening creates a satisfying flakiness and butter makes a mouth-watering almost shortbread like texture with a fabulous flavor.
The reasoning behind the difference has to do with the water content and melting point of each type of fat. Butter is typically no more than 85% fat (the rest being water) while shortening is 100% fat. Since shortening is hydrogenated vegetable oil, it has a higher melting point and so holds it’s shape better in the baking process (translation: less shrinkage on the crust walls!)
The pacifists of the pie world say, use both! I think it’s a fabulous compromise and for a malleable pie crust that holds it’s shape but still tastes really good, you can’t go wrong with a mixed butter/shortening recipe. This crust I chose had about a 25% shortening and 75% butter, and used milk instead of ice water to bring it all together.
Since we didn’t have any regular whole milk on hand, I tried making it with both re-constituted evaporated milk from the can (weirdly tan in color) and with lactose-free milk (which I thought might have a strange effect on the texture of the crust since the milk proteins are already broken down into sugar.) Spoiler: the type of milk made absolutely no difference!
Do you add vinegar to your pie crust? I was super skeptical at first, but it’s one of those hidden ingredients that you can’t taste but helps keep the crust’s texture. On a super small-scale level, it inhibits gluten formation, so you can roll and re-roll the dough without making it tough. This recipe called for apple cider vinegar which helps flavor-wise just in case you are able to taste any!
Pop the prepped bottom crusts into the fridge, and break out your ruler and pizza cutter – time to design a top! I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew I wanted to include braids and some sort of lattice work.
Fettuccine or pie crust?
The texture held up so well! Starting off with a wetter dough really did the trick – it didn’t crack at all while I was plaiting it.
The Rapunzel of pie crusts.
I’ve admitted it before, but I’m not the hugest fruit pie fan. It’s yummy but I’d much rather have a custard or cream pie instead! But since I was making double-crust pies, a fruit filling made the most sense. I raided the freezer for fruit and came up with cherries, apricots, and some raspberry jam.
A treasure chest of fruit gems!
The second pie ended up having a classic apple filling – my mom has two apple trees and the apple haul was huge this year!
I did a half-lattice, half-herringbone design on a whim, by covering the entire pie in strips of dough and folding back a few to layer in a perpendicular strip.
Not very consistent, but got the fun woven look I was hoping for! Still looks a bit like pasta to me.
About as neat and tidy as my current attempts at knitting… but we can always call it rustic!
Swirled braids for the apple pie! I was going to just do the outer edge, but I liked the plaits so much that I kept going.
Egg wash for some sparkle and shine.
Try not to get too impatient while they’re baking – nose prints are hard to clean off oven doors.
Don’t forget to bake up your crust scraps! Sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar and bake until golden. Aww yeah.
Bubbly fruit juice under a tapestry of pie crust.
Can’t wait to try out more crust designs! So many plaits, so little time.
Crust recipe from: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/rustic-milk-pie-dough-recipe