Sunday, March 15, 2015

#87 - Pi / Pie Day

I like odd holidays, and "Pi Day" on March 14 certainly qualifies.  However, I've never been particularly talented at pie crust, so I usually just think about making a pie rather than actually baking one on the right day (or any other day).  This year, I had some time (due to a last minute schedule switch at work) to really focus bettering my pie skills.  I decided to try to make both my grandma's lemon pie recipe AND a recipe for apple handpies from a blogger/cookbook author I follow - here's a link to the handpie recipe.

First up was the lemon pie.  I was determined to make the crust at an acceptable level - I normally only can produce crumbs and give up before I get to the filling part.  So, I went directly to an expert and called my mom!  She did give me a couple of tips that I hadn't known, and I am pleased to report that it turned out to be the best traditional pie crust that I have EVER made.  Not anywhere near the level of my mom or grandma, but it held together and tasted like pie crust and wasn't a doughy glop under the filling and looked okay.  I really did a great job on the filling though ... the lemon curd turned out perfectly.  I was particularly happy with the bright color since I made the filling from scratch and did not use any coloring.  It just looks like a happy pie to me.
My grandma's lemon pie recipe ... our family mostly doesn't like meringue, so we rarely put anything on top of the lemon

I started to move on to the handpies.  I actually had unexpected company through most of this process which made the baking more fun.  However, it also made me pay less attention to what I was doing, so I ended up doubling the filling recipe (because I had so many apples) and then forgot to double the dough recipe to match.  So, I have a batch of apple filling in my refrigerator waiting for me to make some more dough and finish off the pies.  This dough recipe was a lot easier to work with, but I don't think I would like it in a traditionally shaped pie.  I tried several different ways of assembling the pies (only photographed one).  The filling was on the sweet side, but also quite addicting.  My guest last night asked me if there was caramel inside - there isn't, but the flavors blend to give that impression.  If the juices leak out, the pies are a bit sticky ... I may try additional shapes when I bake the rest to overcome this problem ... so, pack something to wipe off your hands if you bring them in a lunch or on a picnic.
Apple handpies made in silicon muffin tins - you can see I didn't get them to seal entirely, but none of the bottoms burned from the juice

I count this year as a very successful Pi Day!