Perils of pie making

First apple pie.

Now that I have successfully conquered apple pie making with store bought crust, I figured it was time to try my hand at making that crust from scratch.

Ultimately, my (undeserved) confidence leads me to believe I will be able to bake a wedding cake for a friend by December. So, I need to become familiar with all facets of baking quickly.

For this hobby session, my mother came for a visit. Honestly, I was on the phone with her one day explaining my plan and asking pointed questions like, “What does ‘cut in with pastry blender’ mean?” and, “What exactly is a pastry blender?” (Clearly that wedding cake is a dream.) After those questions, my mother thought it would be easier to just show me how to make a crispy crust.

Grandma’s pie crust recipe.

What the?

As a novice baker, there is a lot of terminology I just don’t know and utensils I’ve never used.

A few examples include:

  • Sifter
  • (Handheld) pastry blender
  • Rolling pin

I’ve also never used Crisco or wax paper for a single food recipe I’ve ever made.

So when my mother asked me if I had wax paper, I looked at her like she had just told me wine is the devil. She explained I would need it to roll out the crust. I told her, since it wasn’t on the recipe card, there was no reason on earth why would I have wax paper. (Details, Grandma!)

This was also the first time it hit me, I would actually have to roll out a crust.

Crusty balls

Luckily, the flour I had was pre-sifted. I didn’t know that was a thing you had to do with flour, and I’m thankful the flour company thought ahead for me.

Despite the odd-looking contraption known as a handheld pastry blender, mixing the ingredients together was quite simple. My experience rolling meal-delivery kit meatballs came in handy here, as I rolled the dough into crust balls.

Ready to roll.

While I was a pro at creating the balls, rolling the crust into even flat discs was harder than expected. Note for other novices: put something on the edges of the parchment (or wax) paper to keep it from slipping. Also, start in the middle and roll your way out.

Ready to roll

On TV and YouTube, pastry chefs make it look so easy to make a perfectly rolled, flat crust. Let me tell you: this is a farce.

  • Your crust will likely look more than a “splat” than a disc.
  • Portions of the dough will break apart from the center.
  • No matter how much flour you prep, portions of the dough will stick to your rolling pin.
  • The longer you roll, the thinner the dough gets, which just adds to the three previous bullets.
More of a splat than a disc.

After preparing the apple mixture and rolling out the second crust for the top of the pie (through complaints over the same issues), it was ready for the oven.

Since I am nothing if not honest, there were some… shall we say… issues with this second attempt at apple pie.

…Issues…

As I have previously stated: I am not a guru in the kitchen. I’m somewhere between a flailing toddler who wants a sippy cup and an out-of-the box macaroni and cheese expert.

So, it came as no surprise to me or my mother that I made a few mistakes this time around.

  • I cannot “flute.” My nails are too long, so I end up puncturing the edge of the crust.
  • I forgot to put butter on top of apples before laying the top crust.
    • Hack: I put the butter on top of the pie about halfway through the baking. This allowed it to seep into the slits of the top crust.
  • The genius hack led me to accidentally turn off the oven in the middle of baking. I’m not sure if I did this when I pulled the pie out of the oven at 25-minutes to pull the aluminum foil off the crusts and put the butter on top, or at 40-minutes when I took it to check the stage of baking. It wasn’t until I added 10 minutes, then five, then another five before I realized this.
Something doesn’t seem right…

Somehow, despite those erroneous issues in the kitchen, the pie turned out flaky, light and lovely. It was almost as flawless as my first one (with store bought crust).

I cut it in half, took one half to my sister-in-law and left the other for my at-home taste-tester. The next day, both halves were gone. I’d say the perils of pie making turned into a promising pie experience.

I would honestly say the only problem: this crust was too crispy. The irony isn’t lost on me.

Up next: Dawn, meet Betty Crocker.

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