Category Archives: A Lesson On…
I tasted my first strawberry rhubarb pie only 3 years ago and instantly realized that it was the best pie flavour in the world!
This post is more than just a pie recipe though. This post includes a comprehensive explanation of how to make a perfect pie crust every time. I used to really suck at making pie crusts myself. They would always crumble apart when I rolled them out and getting them into the pie pan? Impossible. They were never the right size and they never baked just right. Because I sucked terribly at pie crusts, I really focussed on developing this skill and now I feel like I can do it in my sleep. There are some definite things that I do differently now compared to before that I will share with you. You MUST try making a pie crust on your own after this!
This post will also show you a comprehensive step by step guide to make a basket weave pie top! It’s really easy and the pie looks 10 billion times better with it!
So sit back and learn!
Let’s start with the recipe:
You will need:
- One recipe of this pie dough…save those unused egg whites
- 4 1/2 cups of rhubarb (around 2 large stalks)
- 2 cups of strawberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
Here are some things you need to know to make the perfect pie crust.
The recipe you use is key! I really suggest using this recipe here. All the other recipes I have tried for pie crusts do not cut it the way this one does. I love the taste of the all butter crust and love the fact that I skip out on those trans-fats by not adding shortening. This recipe is moist enough because of the addition of a set amount of water. Other recipes just say “add one tablespoon at a time” of the water and you never actually know how much you need. Also…this recipe makes enough. So many recipes do not make a sufficient amount of dough for a pie and so when I rolled it out it would break apart because it was too thin. Adding the egg really helps to bind the dough together. Most recipes do not call for an egg.
The technique for making the dough is key as well:
- The butter must be cubed and cold
- Place the butter in the flour and coat all the cubes separately
- Rub the butter and flour between your finger tips, coating all the newly formed smaller chunks of butter as you go…do this until the flour and butter and a real crumbly texture
- Make a well and add the water and egg.
- Work fast and with your hands, bring the dough together…do not be timid, make sure that the dough is mixed well to ensure an easier time rolling it out. Just because you work fast does not mean you need to stop early. I have showed picture after picture of how the dough should look like when you are done bringing it together. The reason you need to work fast is so that the glutens in the flour do not have enough time to release and make the dough chewy…don’t worry so much if it’s your first time but just remember, it is not cookie dough, just knead it until the ingredients are even and then stop!
- Wrap it tightly in something (like plastic wrap or parchment paper) and then place it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Now let’s talk about rolling this dough out:
- Lay down a large piece of parchment paper.
- Cut off 1/3 of the dough and set it back in the fridge
- Dust this paper with flour and be generous.
- Place the dough in the flour and dust more flour on top of the dough…I generally give the dough a little bit of a flour rub down and then sprinkle a little more flour on top…sticky doughs ruin everything and flour prevents this.
- Rub down your rolling pin in flour.
- Now start to roll it out never moving it’s position on the parchment paper. Move the parchment paper itself but don’t lift or play with the dough.
- As soon as the surface of the the dough is without flour, add some more before the sticky dough occurs…at this point also rub down that rolling pin with flour again
- Keep rolling until it’s the size of the pan plus 2-3 inches on all sides. Make sure it’s large!! It’s always better to have more than less. This recipe above will definitely make enough even with the 1/3 of it reserved.
- Now put your hand underneath the parchment paper and hold the pie pan in your other pan and make a quick flip.
- Remove the parchment paper and carefully position the dough in the pie pan a little better after that flip.
- Et Voila!
- Use this technique for the top crust but you do not need to roll it out to have an extra 2-3 inches, it just needs to be large enough to cover the top. In the basket weave I will show you below, cut this dough into 1 inch strips.
- After you have sealed the top on by pinching it to the edges of the bottom crust, cut off the excess with a sharp knife by running the knife along the outside edge of the pie pan.
HOW TO BASKET WEAVE A PIE CRUST
I bought some fresh herbs this week from the grocery store. I prefer them 2 million and 61 over using dried herbs in my cooking, but the reason I don’t buy them so often is because they spoil so quickly.
Well, this week I was up for changing all of that!
Here is the method I have chosen to show if you want to keep your herbs longer:
First wash them…
Now take a huge amount of paper towel and layer it flat…
Spread your herbs over the paper towel…
Now roll the paper towel up…
And store in a plastic zip-lock type bag…
They will stay good for a week and a half or so if you change the paper towel every 2-3 days!
See if it works for you too!
Just a note before you start reading: I am no expert. My knowledge of cooking stems from a few years in cooking classes, my crazy obsession with the Food Network, experimental kitchen craziness, countless hours spent reading cookbooks and passion. I am so surprised to find myself really not knowing much even though cooking and food are major pleasures of mine, and I cannot wait to go to France to learn the art in more fine detail. But…if there is anything I know, it is definitely what components should go into any salad dressings, so read on!
I like my salads super simple most of the time. Every once in a while I’ll add extra veggies or a few more ingredients to the salad dressing depending on my mood. When I add salad to a meal it is for the purpose of brightening up the plate, adding some cool, crunchy, fresh flavours to the hot meal and to, in a way, “clean” my taste buds in between bites. I don’t need my salads to be complicated, just fresh.
There are a few components that go into any salad dressing, but I rarely use all of them in all my dressings. I always make my own dressings (because they are so freaking easy to make, and way cheaper than buying that processed crap!) so I switch up the ingredients as much as possible.
The main components of a salad dressing should be:
- Oil- 3 parts oil to one part acid, generally but I NEVER MEASURE!
- Acid-vinegar or citrus
- Emulsifier- mustard, helps combine the oil and vinegar together
- Sweet- honey, maple syrup, jelly, brown sugar, etc
- Aromatic-herbs, fresh or dry
Sometimes, I leave out the sweet and emulsifier. I usually leave these components out when I do not want the salad to be a feature part of the meal but just something fresh to eat in between bites of the real deal.
My Sour Summer Salad is a great example of a fresh salad which tastes awesome as refreshing treat, leaving the main dish as the centre piece.