Have you heard? It's almost pie season!
There are some people out there that make pies all year long, but in my house, pies are generally reserved for the fall and winter holiday season. Every year, I wonder why I don’t make them more often. If I’m brutally honest with myself (and you, for that matter) it’s simply out of laziness.
In my mind, making a pie is a huge task to undertake. Thinking about making a pie brings to mind a lot of work. Crazy as it sounds, especially when the kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house and cooking hardly ever feels like a chore. For some reason, pies just seem huge, tedious and messy desserts to make.
Generally, once I’m making them I feel rather silly for putting off the task. There really isn’t a huge amount of work involved in pie making, especially when you break it down into steps. You don’t even have to make the “whole pie” in one day! Do you see why I feel so silly for dreading and putting off pie making?
Honestly, making pie crust is my biggest “issue” with pie making. Well, that and the fact that making a “pretty pie” has never been my strong suit! My kids still laugh at me when I succeed at making a “pretty pie”. They remind me of the time that I made a really pretty pie and took a picture of it before I even took it out of the oven. I just knew something would happen to it and I would never be able to prove that I’m not a failure in the pie department.
My pies almost always taste good, it’s the look of the pie that bothers me. I want that pie house, perfect pie that any baker would be proud to have grace the cover of any culinary magazine or publication. Am I asking for too much? Perhaps, but everyone needs to have goals, don’t you think?
If you are anything like me, finding a way to save time and also be able to make pies easily and more often would be a dream come true. OK, so the dream would also include a pastry chef at my disposal to make the pie crusts for me any time I felt the urge to bake a pie. I know, keep dreaming!
While we wait for our personal pastry chef, let’s discuss some very real time saving tips that will help all of us gear up for pie season! Don’t get me wrong, I love pie. I love it when someone else makes it, I love it when I make it (after it’s finished, mind you) truth be told! It’s the whole “making it” part of that phrase that gets to me.
So, what’s a pie challenged girl to do? Simple, make pie crusts up ahead of time and freeze them. Making the dough in my food processor is super easy and goes quickly. It’s super easy to whip up several batches, one right after the other. For me, knowing that I am not going to make the whole pie at one time makes this job easier. I know, I’m a bit silly, but at least I recognize that fact.
One of my favorite gluten-free pie crust recipes is on Gling, it’s TanyaG’s recipe. It’s the easiest gluten-free pie crust I’ve ever worked with. The flavor is perfect and not one that anyone would know is gluten-free. I’ve used this for a couple of years now and everyone loves it!
Once the pie crust dough is made, I can easily put it in the freezer in a freezer bag and it’s ready to take out the day I know I want to make a pie. It just needs to sit out on the counter to completely thaw, then you can shape your pie crust and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Figuring out what you put in your pie is the fun part of this process. The sky is the limit as far as that goes. What’s your favorite? Apple pie is always a winner in my house. One of my grandmother’s favorites was always pecan pie. Given the time of year, pumpkin pie is always a winner as well.
If you are doing a pie that only has a bottom crust, my personal favorite, you can even avoid rolling out your crust. Simply shape the dough into your pie plate with one of those fancy small rollers. How cool is that! You don’t even need to get flour on your counter top and you still get to enjoy pie.
I’ve even taken bits of pie crust dough and mixed it with brown sugar and butter for a kind of crumb type topping on a pie. See, always finding ways to avoid the “ugly pie”. Another tactic for avoiding the dreaded “not so pretty pie” is to do a rustic, free form pie, also known as a tart. I love the look of them and they are far from perfect. Just my kind of pie.
Sometimes, all you really need is a bite. Using the pie crust recipe above and cutting out small circles of dough, you can make individual mini pies that are completely portable and easy to snack on any time. Using a mini muffin tin, you an also make mini sweet potato pies, or any other flavor in just minutes.
So, embrace this “pie season” and enjoy making some pies! Get your kids involved in more than just the eating of the prized pies, you might find that you have young pastry chefs in the making and THEY can make your pies for you. In the mean time, while your young pastry chefs master the art of pie making, enjoy the memories you can make while making a tasty treat the whole family will enjoy!