Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pi Day Pie Experience

I love baking and cooking. I make dinner for my family pretty much every night, and I spend a lot of my freetime collecting recipes that I want to try. If I’m bored, one of the first things I think to do is bake something.

However, I have never tried my hand at pie-baking until just recently.

People always say that pie crusts are one of the most difficult things you will ever try to make. My own grandma is always complaining about her pie crusts, and she’s made them for years. So I just had it in my head that I could either just buy a pie or have someone make it for me. Why bother putting myself through so much stress?

Pi Day might be a mathematical day, but, hello, it’s called Pi Day, pronounced pie day. Obviously we need to eat pie on Pi Day.

Dean agrees. Image courtesy of Google image.
For some reason, I had the urge to attempt my very first pie on this year’s Pi Day.

I looked up a bunch of pie crust recipes, decided on what kind of pie I was going to make, and set off to buy the ingredients. I originally wanted to make a butter crust, but Mom was all “No! Pie crusts need to be made with shortening!” I tried telling her that the recipe I found said that it was better than any shortening crust, but she was convinced that I needed a shortening crust.

I looked up a few more crust recipes and found the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. Hers calls for shortening, so, because I love her show and I trust her judgement (better than my own mother’s when it comes to pie crusts; sorry, Mom), I conceded and bought some shortening.

So the grocery shopping was complete and the hard part over. All that was left was to actually make the pie.

Because I had never made a pie before, I didn’t exactly feel comfortable experimenting. These are the three recipes that I used to put the pie together.

Apple Pie with Oat Streusel (I only used the streusel part of the recipe, and I didn't use a food processor)

The crust.

Confession: The Food Network channel is one of my favorite channels to watch. However, I am very selective about the shows that I watch. The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite shows; she’s just so warm and cheerful, and I love her ranch! Plus, her food looks amazing and isn’t too different than what I’ve grown up with (some of those shows have really weird dishes and I’m like “Yeah, I’m never going to make that; I don’t even know where I’d get the ingredients!”) I was very happy when I found her pie crust recipe.

She gives very detailed descriptions for her recipe, so it was easy for me to follow along. I divided the dough into two parts instead of three because I wanted a thicker crust. I don’t think I formed the dough ball correctly because the edges kept breaking when I rolled it out, but it wasn’t TOO difficult to keep it all together and form something that resembled a circle.

The hard part was when I needed to get the crust into the pan. I didn’t exactly get it centered, but I was able to salvage all my hard work. By the time that was complete, I wasn’t exactly prepared to make the edges look pretty. Besides, who cares what it looks like as long as it tastes like a little slice of heaven?

The filling.

Peeling apples isn’t my favorite thing to do, although coring has become significantly less daunting ever since I got my nifty apple corer from Casa Bella. So once I got the peel off, making the filling was probably the easiest part (besides eating it, of course).

The topping.

This is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted in my entire life. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but you get the point.

I knew I wanted a crumbly, streusel-like topping, sort of like what you find on a typical Dutch Apple Pie. However, I wanted to incorporate oats into my topping, and the Dutch Apple Pie recipes I found didn’t really have what I was looking for. So I typed in “Oat streusel recipe” into Google. I didn’t find just a recipe for streusel, but it was easy enough to look at a recipe that uses oat streusel and just use that part of the recipe.

I didn’t used the entire amount that this recipe made because it make a lot and I didn’t want to overpower the apples. While I was waiting for the pie to bake, I made the worst decision of the day and decided to start snacking on the leftover streusel. I couldn’t stop. Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? Oh, yes.

The pie went into a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. When it was done, it got a generous amount of Smucker’s caramel sauce drizzled all over it.

And then the hardest part of all: waiting for it to cool.

Who knew that pies take at least an hour to cool? I didn’t.

But it was so worth the wait. And all the deliciousness cost me was time and my kitchen!

Don't worry; cleaning up was the second thing I did once the pie was in the oven!
(Eating the crumble was the first thing I did :) )
Because I knew I would eat the entire pie if I kept it, I took two slices over to my grandparents and one to the professor whose office I have pretty much claimed as my headquarters during my various breaks during school hours. One of my classmates was in my professor’s office when I got there, so they shared the pie.

I got raving reviews.

So the crust gave me a little trouble, but not too much. I am no longer intimidating by the pie-making process, which is a good thing; I still have the other crust in my freezer!

Any suggestions on what my next pie should be?



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