The pie that dared not speak its name

So after today, we’re never talking about this again. I made a pie crust with spelt flour, which has provided good results for my muffins, and terrible results in my cookies. Add pastry dough to the list of items I will never make with spelt again.

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The dough was very thick, and tore terribly while I was rolling it. I had planned to make two pies but gave up after rolling out the first. It was just way too difficult to work with.

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This pie was doomed from the start, Boyfriend Unit had a tough time coring the apples, they were very hard. The taste of the pastry wasn’t to my liking.

It’s not bad, I mean it’s apple pie so GET IN MY MOUTH, it’s just not what I’m accustomed to producing.  Back to the drawing board.

Raspberry…danish-like thing

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Huh.  In my head this looked different.  I was bored and curious what would happen if I shoved a fruit and cream cheese filling into phyllo pastry and didn’t even pretend to arrange it nicely?  Would it collapse?  Would it leak everywhere?  For science.

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Made a filling of cream cheese, greek yogurt, sugar, fresh lemon, and egg yolk.  Threw on some frozen berries I’ve been trying to get rid of for ever.  Gave absolutely no fucks as I “folded” the pastry.

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Bake!

As it turns out, phyllo will stay slightly upright!  The centre was wobbly like a jellyfish.  I let it sit for 10 min and drizzled icing over it.  It didn’t taste horrible, but definitely not great. Way too much filling.  Looked like a hot mess haha!

It did turned out more edible than I predicted, but I definitely would not do this again.  For something thrown together in 10 minutes on a whim I’m satisfied.  I suppose one has to bother with all the little knife cuts and the elegant folds.  Eheu.

McCall’s puff pastry 1 review

Well it’s been awhile. I haven’t been able to bake much in about a year, because reasons, but something I’ve wanted to share is that for my birthday last month, Boyfriend Unit sent me to pastry school at McCall’s for a day! It was absolutely spectacular. I learned to make all sorts of treats.

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Cost: $160

Course length: 7 hours

What did we learn:

  • puff pastry
  • pastry cream
  • strudel
  • Mille-Feuille
  • turnovers
  • pastry cream
  • lots of small pastry and savory stuff too

Once again Kay was my instructor, she is a great teacher and very skilled. I recommend this course to anyone aspiring to learn more about pastry and has an interest in hands-on learning. One day I hope to make pastry as effortlessly as Kay makes it, one day… I made this!!!

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A nice feature of McCall’s courses is that the day of the class, you are given a 10% discount on in-store purchases, and a coupon for 10% off the next time you shop there. It’s fun to see the tools in person and figure out what I want vs. what I need to try things at home.

Everything was so delicious too. Puff pastry is a lot of work. It takes hours and requires a lot of folding the dough, letting it rest and chill, and rolling it out to fold again. It was actually pretty exhausting.

For a few years I’ve been reading about pricing in the baking industry; how people balk at the cost of large items like wedding cakes or mass amounts of pastry, but think nothing of going to a restaurant and paying $6 to $12 for one dessert. After these work shop I’m convinced pastry is under priced.  What you pay is not only priced to cover ingredient cost and overhead, it has to account for the skill of the baker and the time it takes to prepare baked goods. Someone is working that dough for hours and they have spent years honing their craft. If you are in a nice restaurant try their pastry! Most times it’s worth your while. 🙂

Patty’s apple strudel explosion

If a pastry explodes in the oven, does it make a sound? More importantly, does it still taste good?

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I researched how to make traditional strudel pastry but it sounds like a nightmare so, not today. I trawled the entire grocery store looking for phyllo pastry and discovered it’s kept near the frozen berries. This is my first strudel and I’m pleased with the results, however next time I’ll add raisins and reduce the lemon juice.

Shout-out to Boyfriend for being my camera man.

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Time required: 1.5 hours

Yields: 6 pieces

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $24

Cost per piece: $4

Kitchen implements I used:

  • large baking sheet
  • parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 3 apples
  • 3 TBSP golden brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP water
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 TBSP powdered corn starch
  • ¼ C lemon juice
  • 4 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • 2 TBSP melted butter
  • 3 tsp finely ground bread crumbs

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F / 176°C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour.

2. Peel, core, and mince the apples. Toss them in a sauce pan with the water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook on Med-Low for 10 min, stirring often.

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3. Combine corn starch and lemon juice, whisk until smooth, then add to cooked apple mixture and simmer for 1 more minute before removing from heat.

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We do not want juicy strudel.

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4. Place one piece of phyllo on the baking tray. Brush with butter, and sprinkle one teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Don’t stress about making this even, doesn’t really matter.

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Do this two more times, then add fourth and final layer (do not add butter or crumbs to top layer).

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5. Spoon the filling down one side vertically, leaving room at the edges.

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Give camera man 2 thumbs up.

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6. Use the parchment paper to support the pastry as you lift it, you’re trying to tuck it over and under the apple filling, and then carefully roll it over like so. Once you’ve got the first turn, peel the parchment paper back towards you.

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Keep turning it, and between turns try to smooth it with your hands to an even shape.

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This was a little nerve-wracking, worried about tearing it.

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Roll it up 3-4 times until it’s at the edge.

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7. Brush butter inside the open edge then flip it so the seam is on the bottom. Tuck the ends in.

8. Dust with a cinnamon sugar mix.

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9. Bake 20-25 min until golden brown.

10. Cool on rack at least 5 min before serving. Mein gott! What is this?

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Verdict:

You want to get judged harshly? Tell people in advance you are using phyllo instead of making the pastry yourself. 

Response from best friend: “0_0 That is really shocking.”

This was fairly simple to make. Aside from the explosion, it turned out great. I may have had a tantrum when I saw that, but I cut it in thirds first, and got 4 nicely sliced pieces, and 2 messy pieces. Cutting through the strudel after it’s baked it harder than I anticipated.

Playlist: Eric Carmen – Hungry Eyes

Tarte au citron vert

Well it finally happened. I tired of looking for my truant tart pan, and bought a new one. Therefore I expect to find the old one any day now. Tonight Boyfriend lent a hand and we made a lime tart together, from the recipe used for the lemon tart, just made with limes instead.

Time required: 1 hour

Yields: who knows

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $24

Kitchen implements I used:

  • sauce pan
  • glass bowl
  • juicer
  • zester
  • mesh strainer
  • fluted tart pan

Crust ingredients:

  •  6 TBSP unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP granulated white sugar
  • ⅛ TSP salt
  • 1 C flour, rounded

Filling ingredients:

  • ½ C lime juice (5 key lemons)
  • grated zest of 3 limes, wash and dry them first
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 210°C / 410° F. Weigh out flour and set aside.

2. In an oven-safe bowl combine: butter, veg oil, water, sugar, and salt.

3. Bake 15 min and remove from oven. Stir in flour.

4. Stir quickly until it forms a ball.

5. Transfer to tart pan and use spoon to press down. Pierce shell with fork a few times.

6. Bake shell 15 min, then cool on wire rack.

TIME TO LOWER OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 180°C / 350°F.

7. In a sauce pan combine: lime juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Heat on low.

(This was right before I got lime juice in the face.)

Heat it up:

I added a few drops of dye, because so far it was looking just like the lemon tart and I thought that’d be boring.

8. Meanwhile… whisk eggs and egg yolks.

9. Once the butter has melted on the stove, temper some of the hot liquid into the eggs, then pour the warmed egg mixture back into the sauce pan.

10. Cook on low until mixture thickens and small bubbles start to form. Stir often.

11. Pour mixture through strainer directly onto tart.

Spread with a spatula…

12. Shake tin to level it out, bake 5 min.

13. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack, and chill before serving.

Remove the pan bottom from the sides, and behold!!

So cute!

Verdict:  I do admire a well turned tart crust. This was delicious.

PlaylistFinal Fantasy OSTs

Jareth’s deep-dish streusel peach pie

In celebration of Labyrinth Day yesterday I made this last night:

Why do I celebrate Labyrinth Day? In the hopes that one bite will transport me to a place guy like this:

Goblin King! Be still my heart.

This recipe comes from KitchenAid 3 cookbooks in 1 which is available on Amazon.com  I bought the book for this recipe in particular actually, have been waiting for months for June 13 to roll round so I could try this out.

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 9 pieces

Cost per slice: $4

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $36

Kitchen implements I used:

  • pastry blender
  • baking pan: 8″ x 8″
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin
  • mesh strainer

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cans of peaches, drained (save ¾ C of syrup)
  • ⅓ C granulated white sugar + 1 TBSP saved for later
  • 1 TBSP powdered corn starch
  • ½ TSP vanilla
  • ½ C packed brown sugar
  • 2 C flour, divided into 1½C and ½C
  • ⅓ C quick oats
  • ¼ C butter (half a stick)
  • ½ TSP ground cinammon
  • ½ TSP salt
  • ½ C white shortening
  • 4 TBSP cold water

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 176°C / 350°F. Drain peaches and save the syrup.

2. In a sauce pan on low, heat white sugar (all except the 1 TBSP) and corn starch.

When it melts, stir in ¾ C of the peach syrup, adding it gradually.

Keep mixture on low for 10 min, it should thicken. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Set aside.

3. Combine in a bowl: brown sugar, ½ C flour, oats, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter and you’ll have a crumbly topping. Set aside.

4. Combine in a bowl: remaining 1½ C flour, 1 TBSP sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening.

5. Add water one tablespoon at a time and mix with fork.

6. Roll out crust until it measures 10″ square. I rolled it out between two layers of wax paper.

7. Trim away excess and press crust into pan. Peel off wax paper.

Tah-dah!

8. Drop peaches onto crust, add warm syrup, add topping.

9. Bake 45 min. Cool on wire rack.

The book says to serve warm. I tried one piece last night warm, and one piece this morning. I liked it better the next day.

Verdict: I liked this. I imagine with fresh peaches it would be extra good, but after what happened on Labyrinth Day 2011 I couldn’t be bothered. My big plan was to post this last night at the 13th hour (1am), but I got sleepy. I intended to send Boyfriend into work with some but I was enjoying a pleasant dream about Jareth and I didn’t get up in time. Goblin King, you can peach me away anytime.

Playlist: Labyrinth soundtrack

Tarte au citron

After the glorious lemon dessert I enjoyed last week, I spent Saturday walking around the city with Boyfriend Unit, and came away with two important purchases: new shoes, and lemons. I had the place to myself today, and envisioned a leisurely Sunday afternoon re-creating that lovely lemon tart.

I’ve no idea how to make a tarte au citron, so my Google-fu led me to David Lebovitz’s blog and I liked his posts on making tart shells and lemon curd which is the recipe I’m using below. I had all my ingredients on the counter when I realized that half of my fluted tart pan was missing. Annoyance!

How can I make a tart without a proper tart pan? I was actually quite excited to use my tart pan, it hasn’t seen any action since it’s debut in 2010 and I was looking forward to using it again. I found the fluted part, but the bottom was missing. I emptied every cupboard, and washed a metric tonne of dishes, alas my efforts did not yield my truant tart pan, so I settled for a pie tin.

Good to know before you start: You need to lower the oven temperature after baking the empty tart shell, once it’s filled the baking temperature is lower.

Time required: 1 hour

Yields: 8 slices

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $24

Kitchen implements I used:

  • sauce pan
  • juicer
  • zester
  • mesh strainer
  • pie plate in lieu of a tart pan  :[

Crust ingredients:

  •  6 TBSP unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP granulated white sugar
  • ⅛ TSP salt
  • 1 C flour, rounded

Filling ingredients:

  • 1 C lemon juice (2-3 large lemons)
  • grated zest of one lemon, wash and dry it first
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 210°C / 410° F. Weigh out flour and set aside.

2. In an oven-safe bowl combine: butter, veg oil, water, sugar, and salt.

3. Bake 15 min and remove from oven.

4. Immediate add flour and stir quickly until it forms a ball.

5. Transfer to tart pan and use spoon or hand to press down.

6. Once you fuss with the edges to your satisfaction, pierce with fork many times.

7. Bake shell 15 min, then cool on wire rack.

TIME TO LOWER OVEN TEMPERATURE.

8. Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 350°F.

9. In a sauce pan combine: lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Heat on low.

When I slice or juice lemons, I do it with my eyes shut. That’s probably really dumb, but that’s how I do it. I’d like to convince you that I do this because I have ninja-like reflexes in the kitchen, but really I am just scared of getting lemon juice in the face.

10. In a bowl whisk eggs and egg yolks.

11. Once the butter has melted on the stove, temper some of the hot liquid into the eggs, then pour the warmed egg mixture back into the sauce pan.

12. Cook on low until mixture thickens and small bubbles start to form. Stir non-stop.

13. Pour lemon mixture through strainer directly onto tart.

Shake tin to level it out, bake 5 min.

14. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack, and chill before serving.

Slice it up…

Verdict:

“Mmmm, tangy.”

So good. I’m having another piece, just so you know.”

After the euphoric glow wore off, I compared these to the one I ate at Le Papillon, and it held up very favourably. Theirs was a pale yellow, with a difference type of crust, and although mine was a bit different it was equally delicious. Success!

Playlist: Carina Round – For Everything a Reason

Raspberry pie

The month of pie ends today. Thank God. I may need a stomach pump. Here is my first raspberry pie. Pieapalooza. I prefer pie cold, but this smelled really good so I served it fresh from the oven. Perhaps there is a secret to serving a warm berry pie that does not explode all over the plate?

Today Hobby Victim came over for a day of pie making, Jem & the Holograms, and video games. We planned some truly outrageous pie. Raspberry for my house, blueberry for hers. The fillings were done the same as my last pie.

I’ve only eaten raspberry pie once. When I was small, my mom and her friend made raspberry pie at the beach. I remember picking the berries from the big raspberry cane that grew between the cottage and the cove. It was a long time ago, but I’ve been wondering for awhile if raspberry pie was as good as I remembered…

…turns out yes it is.

Raspberry pie is delicious, if a trifle messy. There may have been some plate licking.

Other pies I want to make in the future are blackberry, rhubarb, cranberry, and peach. But not right now. Am totally pied out.

What is your favourite pie?

Mom’s blueberry pie

Today was a glorious day! Behold!

I have learned the secret of rolling a pie crust. I could cry from happiness right now. I’ve tried so many times, and this is my first pretty pie. ^^

Before you get started:

Make your pastry in advance and chill it.

Time required: 1 hour

Yields: 6-8 pieces

Cost per slice: $4.33 to $3.25

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $26

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • pie plate
  • cookie tray (to catch overflow)
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin (thanks Mom!)

Filling ingredients:

  • 4 C frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • ¾ C white sugar
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • ⅛ TSP salt
  • 1 TBSP butter

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 204°C / 400°F.

2. Put a large sheet of wax paper on the counter, and set chilled pastry on it. Cover with another sheet. Cajole partner into holding the paper down firmly against the counter while you apply rolling pin. (Shout victoriously when this method works without tearing pastry to shreds, unlike all past attempts.)

3. Use a thin blade or whatever works for you to carefully work the edges of the pastry loose. Don’t pick it up, instead roll it gently around the rolling pin, and then carefully unroll it over the pie plate.

4. Place half of the berries into the plate. (Squeal in excitement.)

5. Combine sugar, flour, and salt, and sprinkle half of the dry mix over the berries.

6. Place remaining berries in the pie plate, and top with remaining dry mixture.

7. Divide butter into 4-5 pieces and place evenly on top.

8. Roll out 2nd piece of pastry, and place on top.

(Hold your breath and pray it doesn’t tear.)

(Sob with joy. Hello, beautiful.)

9. Once pastry is completely draped out, it’s time to trim away the excess crust, and use a fork to press the edges together. Poke a few holes in the top to vent steam.

(Chortle with glee at what you have wrought.)

10. PLACE THE PIE ONTO A COOKIE TRAY OR YOU WILL BE SORRY.

11. Bake 40 min. As soon as you remove it from the oven, use flat spatula to lift pie off the cookie tray, and set pie on wire rack to cool at least 15 min before slicing.

(Soak in praise from significant other.) TAH-DAH!!!

Verdict: I am victorious! Frankencrust, you can kiss my ass goodbye. Pie is officially a 2-person job in this house from now on.

I adore juicy pie. The juicier the better. This was awesome, it turned out just like I hoped it would, just like Mom’s. So happy!

I want to send a shout out to Hobby Victim for suggesting the wax paper method of rolling pastry. It worked like a charm. You are full of the good advice my friend. Next time I come visit I am bringing pie. ^^

Playlist: Radiohead

Apple pie

Last night the stars aligned, and Boyfriend and I both had the same day off. It’s a provincial holiday, so  we stayed indoors, playing video games and cooking. He made dinner and I made dessert. This is my first pie where dreaded Frankencrust did not appear. Tah-dah!

It looks much better than all my previous pies. Am so happy!

I love pie. I don’t post pie recipes, because mine are very often disappointing. It seems like I’m not the best person to give advice on how to make a pie, if my own are not up to the exacting standards I want (basically, to make a pie like my older sister makes).

This ends now. As I told Boyfriend, while we enjoyed our pie:

“Prepare to be fattened. This is the year I master pie. I’m going to do it. You’re going to eat it.”

“Okay then!”

Whoa, that is a lot of liquid. Not sure what happened there. C’est la vie. I haven’t been baking very much this month. Too busy immersed in Skyrim and the glorious side quests. Overall I’m having a very lazy extended weekend and if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to read!