Pies had always been an item that I believed to be extremely complex. At Christmas three of them would appear at my grandmother’s; pumpkin, apple, and pecan. As a kid I didn’t particularly like pie, so I never asked to how to make them but she always made them out to be difficult when she talked about them so I lost further interest.
Well years later I learned how to make pies in my first semester and I have to say they are pretty easy if you’ve got the time. Yeah you can purchase pre-made shells and fill them with what you want, but they aren’t as tasty as a from scratch pie. So this weekend I made decided to make pumpkin and apple pie for my family. It just seemed right, with our weather sometimes acting like fall and other days acting out summer and winter, I thought it would set a nice atmosphere. And it somewhat did.
To start with, I decided to make the flaky pastry with butter. I had read in Professional Cooking For Canadian Chefs that it was not commonly used for mass production because of pricing, but it does create a delicious shell. As for the filling, for the apple pie I used granny smith, and for the pumpkin I used a puree can along with the spices the recipe called for.
One thing I have taken to heart from school is to weigh out my ingredients instead of using volume for everything, so it was a surprise for me once I finished the dough that it was still quite sticky. With advice from my mother I ended up adding at least another 200 g of pastry flour to get it to a wet but unsticky state. Then came what usually is the tricky part for me, but actually turned out quite simple. The dough was good enough that I barely dusted the counter and rolling pin and made some great looking shells which I then put in the fridge over night.
The next morning I started on the filling. Since the apples had to sit for a while with the sugar I began them first and moved onto the pumpkin filling. With this recipe I followed the instructions completely yet was surprised at how watery the mixture looked. I thought it would be a little thicker and ended up searching online on how to thicken it up and what consistency it currently should be. Well I only ended up finding advice for when I tried again, so only using one shell to see how it turned out I filled it nearly to the top and popped it in the oven.
By then the apples were ready to be drained. This is my favourite part about making apple pie, the sugary syrup that you drain out and boil to then add a slurry of cornstarch that makes a caramel looking substance. Well that was done with quickly and in the fridge where I then took a half hour break to play War in the North as the filling cooled and the pumpkin pie baked.
Time passed, orcs were dead and I pulled out an interesting looking pumpkin pie. What I didn’t know is they expand a little. I guess I should’ve known since it had quite a few eggs in it. Luckily it just went up near the brim and didn’t spill over onto the cookie sheet. Now the thing I find weird is the top is a nice orange, yet inside it a lighter colour. Could it be because of the milk? All the pictures I found on Google had a complete colour throughout the pie, as you can see in my slice of pumpkin pie though it does not. And yes, that is freshly made whipped topping. It didn’t last long though since my husband was hovering nearby to eat it.
Last was the apple pie. Filling the pie shells carefully by arranging the apples slices, I quickly eggs washed the edges and cut a triangular design into the lid, then sealed it shut using the fork method. Once more using egg wash to paint the lid, I sprinkled on a bit of sugar and began baking them.
As they cooked I never got an apple spice smell, but instead the scent of the buttery pastry. 35 minutes later I pulled them out and found one had browned a little, while the other two had gone just a little golden.