Monday, 4 October 2010

The secret to a pie

This year the apple tree out back has finally come back after some TLC from my dad. He pruned it at the end of last year and this spring tended to it again.
Years ago when my neighbour Ken was still alive he was a bee keeper and kept orchard bee's. If you haven't heard of these little guys and have always fantasized about keeping bee's these are fairly easy to manage and if you have any fruit trees in your yard you'll be amazing just what a difference they can make.
Here's a beautiful example of one that someone made : Clicky clicky here
My birth mother and her husband used an old piece of wood and he drilled holes into it and then installed it under the shed's eaves to provide shelter from the rain. They have had a great time watching them through the seasons and love the fact that they are the first bees out and pollenate all their fruits and vegetables.

ANWAYS so long story short.. we had good apples this year! A few weeks ago I went went a-wandering with my pooch

..and I picked blackberries and then picked some apples in the backyard.. and had this BRILLIANT idea to make pie. I have never made a pie before but figured.. how hard can it be?

I found a recipe in my humble but good enough book collection (which I look at once every three months when I'm bored rarely do I use them I'm affraid)

One recipe said shortening or butter. So.. I went to the store and tried butter. I found it was really dry when I made the crust.. it burned and it was super flakey. I wasn't very impressed.. the bottom seemed ok.

The next pie I bought a bunch of pears and used an old recipe of my mothers for the filling and used the crust recipe again thinking because I had used my kitchen aid maybe that was the problem. I mean.. butter makes EVERYthing taste better? Am I right folks? Certainly it was the key ingrediant??

The topping on this pear pie recipe of my mothers doesn't use a pie crust topping. Instead it was more of a crumble on top. I also bought too many pears and didn't chop them up very well. It told me not to in the recipe and even though my gut feeling was the pears were bigger then the ones that were for purpose intended.. I did it anyways.

the pie was ok.

I took a pie vacation for a few weeks and I had a AH-HA moment walking through the leaves last week. Years ago when gray hair was a mere myth, I was a care taker for a little old lady who had made plently of pies in her life time. Too old to stand alone without her walker I often just "held" her (stand beside or behind her in case she fell) whilst she made pies. SHE LOVED making pies, buns..whatever. The AH-HA moment was when I recalled her telling me "LARD iz the secrat"( she was french )

Lard.. Well I did try lard with the next one and got vegetable shortening for this last one... and guess what? PERFECT pie crust.

LARD is the secrat! Or veggie shortening.

I just followed the recipe on the container and made a milk/egg glaze. The glaze you put on the fruit pie and let it sit for 45 mins or so before you put in the oven and about half way through the baking time give it another sweep for a beautiful golden brown look.

Also I have been messing with the filling. My latest one:

5 large apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
4 tbsp flour
1/2 cup flavoured yogurt (peach is good with apples :) )

IF you feel your pie still needs to cook but your crust is burning, but a piece of tin foil over top to prevent it from browning or burning.

REMEMBER fruit pies like to sit for a while ( an hour ish) especially berry pies after coming out of the oven. This allows the juices to settle or you might encounter runny pie juices and all the pie filling will fall out into the opening when you take that first piece out.


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