Sunday, September 8, 2013

Piefest XIV - The Pie

Once again we participated in Piefest, a delicious and fun annual even held by a co-worker of Adam's, Evan, and his wife, Shama.  I'm breaking Piefest into two posts, one detailing the my contributions to the pie, and a second for the event itself.  

As we did last year, our pie was a team collaboration.  And again, we entered the savory category, making a riff on a beef stew / beef pot pie sort of thing.  Adam made the filling, and I did the crust, assembly, and baking.  First, the filling.  There wasn't a recipe per se.  Here is the gist: beef, carrots, onion, red wine, thyme, cooked for a long time in the crock pot.  If you're interested, let me know and I'll get some further details.  It tasted very good, I'd be happy to eat it again.    

On to the crust.  The recipe is a cross between a standard pie dough and a laminated dough.  Mixing starts as a pie dough, and is then processed like a laminated dough.  The result is a yummy, flaky crust.  I liked the dough a lot, not only for its taste and texture, but it was easy to roll out and work with.  If you've spent any time with pie dough, you know what a challenge it can be!  You have to work very quickly but delicately, and say prayers to the Dough Goddesses.  Our kitchen that afternoon was on the warm side, not at all ideal for assembling pie, but I had no issues.  It took some forethought and was more time consuming than a regular pie crust, but I think the results were well worth it.  

The recipe is adapted from Apricot Blackberry Hand Pies by baker Kim Boyce, owner of the Portland, OR bakery Bakeshop.  I heard an interview with her on NPR, and the crust seemed just perfect for our Piefest endeavor.  Link to the original recipe and the story here.  As the pies are meant to be handheld, they must be quite sturdy.  This sturdiness may be the one "con" in making it as a whole single pie.  The bottom crust was a little hard to cut.  But it could have also been the plastic pie server.  If we had a regular knife it may have been a non-issue.  

I began on Thursday evening after work.  I made the dough, and left it to chill and rest.  Straightaway after work on Friday I did the first rolling and folding.  We went to dinner, and afterward I did the second and third turns.  Back to the fridge.  Saturday morning I rolled the dough and put into the pie plate, and cut the top using a plate an inch or so larger than the pie plate.  This all went into the freezer on a sheet pan, and I went off to teach yoga classes.  Meanwhile, Adam had made and cooled the filling.  A few hours prior to Piefest, I assembled and baked.  A bit of the egg wash between the bottom and top helped seal together.  I was concerned about the filling oozing out, but it was just fine.  This timeline could probably be condensed, I just had to work in pockets of time due to my schedule.   

Squeezing the dough after ice water / the dough ready for the fridge / the dough after a chilly rest

First, second, and third roll and fold

Flaky Pie Dough
Adapted from Apricot Blackberry Hand Pies by Kim Boyce

Yield: two shallow 9" pies (top and bottom) + extra


About 5 cups (600 grams)* all-purpose flour 
6 tablespoons (60 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon (10 grams) kosher salt**
500 grams (about 1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 to 1-1/4 cups ice-cold water

For finish - one egg, whisked well

* Yay, I love when recipes have weight measurements!
** I weighed 1 tablespoon of kosher salt as 17 grams.  I did a quick check in The Joy of Cooking, and their pie crust had 1 teaspoon of salt for 2-1/2 cups of flour, so I used 2 teaspoons of kosher salt in this recipe.  


Place dry ingredients in a stand mixer or food processor. Add butter and mix or pulse until broken down to sizes varying from peas to almonds to walnuts. Pour mixture into a large bowl and add the smaller amount of water recommended. Toss together and squeeze the dough to determine if more water is needed. The dough should just hold together, with shaggy dry areas as well as areas that are moister. If the dough is too dry, add the remaining water and toss. Wrap into a rough square in plastic wrap. Chill overnight.

After the dough has chilled, unwrap it onto a floured surface. Pat the dough into a square, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle about 8 1/2 x 14 inches. The dough will crumble and be rough around the edges, but don't add more flour or water — it will come together during rolling.

For the first "turn," fold the dough into thirds, like a letter. The seam should be on the left side. Chill 30 minutes.

For the second turn, take the dough out, this time with the seam at the bottom. Again roll the dough into an 8 1/2 x 14 inch rectangle and repeat the previous step. Chill 30 minutes.

For the third turn, repeat the previous step, then wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

After chilling, divide dough into four equal parts.  Wrap and chill unused portions of dough until ready to use.  Flour surface, and dust both sides of dough portion.  Thwak the dough a few times with the rolling pin.  Begin to roll the dough, stopping periodically to loosen the dough from the surface below and rotate.  Roll into a thickness of approximately 1/8".  Check the size is larger than the pie plate.  Loosen the dough, and drape over the rolling pin to set the bottom crust into the pie plate.  Form to the pie plate, and trim the excess dough.  Retrieve another dough portion, and roll to form the top crust.  Once the dough is rolled out, use a large plate as template to cut a circle.  Move to a sheet pan.  Wrap top and bottom loosely, and put in the freezer.  Repeat with remaining dough portions to make a second pie.  Alternately, keep chilled or freeze for future use.  Any scraps may be re-used; knead together and chill, covered, for at least 30 minutes before re-rolling.       

While crusts are freezing, pre-heat oven to 375°F.  Prepare egg wash.  When crusts are frozen, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper to catch any drips.  Place filing in bottom crust.  Brush crust along the rim with egg wash.  Place top crust, and lightly press to seal.  Brush top with egg wash.  Decorate as desired, and cut venting slits.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.  Pie is done when the crust is dark brown, and the filling is bubbling.  Allow to cool about 30-60 minutes before serving.  


Flaky goodness

Roll and cut extra dough, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake about 15 minutes at 375°F, rotating pan halfway.
I wish I had some of these right now.  I could eat a whole tray!