Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To Pie or not to Pie, that is the Question

As part of my top 100 list I have included a few pies.  Pies are not something that I bake a lot, well not real pies with flaky, homemade crust and fruit filling.  Nevertheless, part of having a top 100 list is to challenge myself, right? Right.

So, on this one particulate Saturday, I was ready to tackle two items on my top 100 list—Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and a double crust pie.  When I went to the wholesale super store that morning, I bought a large tub of strawberries.  Yet, when I went to my favorite local grocery store, they had no rhubarbs in stock.  (Mind you, ever since this day I have seen them in stock.   Just not on the day when I needed them…)  Without rhubarb I could not make a Strawberry rhubarb pie.  Considering I had more strawberries than my household could eat before perishing, I had to think of a plan B.  Peaches were just starting to come into season, and looked great.  So, the idea become a Double Crusted Strawberry Peach Pie.

I used this original recipe I had for Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, with a few tweaks to account for the peaches instead.  I first made the dough, taking caution to keep the ingredients cold and freezing butter and shortening, etc…  I wanted a flaky double crust.  I hulled, peeled, cut-up, sliced, and mutilated all the fruit.  Now came the time for rolling out of the crust.  I rolled the dough between parchment papers, but I just could not get it to work for the bottom of my piecrust.  The dough started to get warm and I freaked out, thinking about the butter and shortening speckles I carefully ensured were cold during the mixing process melting into the dough.  So, in the freezer the dough went.

I did this 2 more times before feeling like I wanted to give up.  Why could I not get this dough rolled out properly AND into my pie dish?  I was ready to quit and actually was in the process of wrapping the sough in plastic wrap and taking it to the trash.  However, when I considered the amount of butter in the crust I would be wasting and having no clue what to do with the fruit that was now ready for the pie, I put on my problem solving hat.  The dough was not getting big enough without being too thin to cover the pie pan. I decided to turn the pie into a single crust pie, quickly working the two separate dough rounds into one and putting it back in the freezer ONE more time.

This worked like a charm and the one layer of crust was perfect.  Just to point out, the recipe was not the problem, it was me!  I used a pie pan larger than the recipe recommended 9-inches.  There was not enough dough to cover the bottom and top of my-too-big pie pan.  Now, what would I do on the top of the pie to cover it?  Two, and only two, words came to mind, crumb topping.  I googled and quickly found a well-rated crumb topping recipe and whipped it up and placed it on the pie.

The pie baked up pretty well and looked okay.  Taste wise, the bottom crust was flaky, and the fruit filling was divine.  It was not too sweet and paired nicely with a scope of vanilla ice cream.  The crumb topping was nice and crunch on top (no nuts were in it), but did not bake evenly.  I may have piled it on far too much, squishing it in the process.  The center was slightly underdone.  Overall, the pie was okay, but not worth sharing my recipes as I am not thrilled with my initial results.  I will continue to play around with it.  After all, I went from trying to accomplish two items off my top one hundred list, to accomplishing none!  So, there will definitely be more pie in my future… unfortunately…

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