The Best Damn Pie Crust of Your Life

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IT’S FINALLY HERE.  Even after countless pies and months of promising you all the best pie dough recipe in the whole damn world, I had not delivered.  That is, until now.  I really should stop making promises like these considering I’m a full-time student, I have 2 jobs, plus I try to volunteer a few hours a month on top of all the normal things I have to do on a day-to-day basis a.k.a. I’m freaking busy and don’t always have time on the weekends to do a pie dough tutorial.  Honestly, I don’t know how I have free time sometimes, but bless my marketing internship for giving me college credit to work only a couple hours a week from home is all I have to say.  Aside from that major tangent, my point is that I know the wait was worth it, and I would like you to agree with me, because it would make me feel much better about my slacking.

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Let’s have a conversation about pie dough, my friends.  I’ll try to keep an open mind here, but let’s just face it, I’m biased and totally Team Make Your Own Pie Dough.  Most people refuse to even try to make their own dough, settling for either freezer-aisle roll-out pie dough (boo) or worse, store-bought pies from the grocery store (double boo).  We’ll call this side Team Wrong.  No offense if you’re on that team, I understand why you are, but hear me out.  I have a major theory that pie dough is one of the most misunderstood forms of pastry, and I can attest to this, because I was a frozen pie dough fan for many years.  After making pie dough once, I was a forever changed woman.  It’s so. damn. easy.  Surprisingly so, but it makes all the difference in the world.  If you care about pie, make your own dough!  I’m not kidding, you will not be able to go back to the store-bought stuff.  It’s really life-changing, especially this recipe, which yields the flakiest, buttery-est crust I ever did eat.  Thanks to Bon Appetit magazine for inspiring me to give it a try and also for giving me the recipe.  I appreciate for real ♥

So, after a long guilt trip from Team Make Your Own Dough, do you feel inspired to make your own pie dough for (please, at least one of) your Thanksgiving pies?!  Yes you do!

Let’s get started!

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First, you’re going to start off with 2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Cut the butter into cubes, trying to work quickly to avoid melting the butter with your warm hands.  I like to use a bench scraper for this so I don’t have to touch the butter, but a regular knife works well too!  Put that butter in a bowl and pop it in the fridge while you gather your dry ingredients.

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Now we’re going to prep for the next few steps.  Whisk together 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons of sugar (1 Tablespoon for a savory-pie crust), and a scant teaspoon of kosher salt.  Also prepare a glass of ice water and set the glass aside.  Toss the butter in the flour mixture.

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Now, working quickly, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, creating shaggy pieces of butter.  Some of the pieces should be thin and long while others are chunkier.  Be careful not to let the butter melt in your hands.

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Mix together 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 3 Tablespoons of iced water.  Swirl to combine.

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Drizzle the vinegar-water over the butter mixture, running your fingers through the flour mixture to incorporate all the ingredients.  Quickly knead the dough until it starts to come together.  It will be a little crumbly and dry, but resist adding more water or your crust will turn out tough.

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Turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead it a few more times, incorporating the drier areas.

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Cut the dough in half and press into 1 inch thick discs.

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Wrap your dough in plastic and set it in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 5 days.  You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months!  I like to make dough in advance and save it in the fridge for big events like holidays.  When you’re ready to use it, roll it on a floured surface and fill with whatever makes you happy.

Here’s a few pie ideas, if you needed any (;

Apple Pie with Sugared Crust
Pumpkin Pie
Beef & Veggie Pot Pie
Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie
Pear & Ginger Galette
Strawberry and Grapefruit Galette
Mixed Berry Pie

And here’s a handy-dandy recipe card:

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I hope this recipe makes the pie dough of your dreams as it did mine ♥

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Where is my Mind? by Pixies

 

 

 

 

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Pear & Ginger Galette

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Sometimes I yearn for the kind of life that involves an airy, brightly-lit house on a large, green property surrounded by a variety of fruit bushes, trees, roots, and stalks.  In my little dream, I don’t necessarily have a job per se, unless by “job” we’re talking something along the lines of “fruit-picker who makes artisan pies and breads and fresh salads while experimenting with ingredients all day”.  Then yeah, that’s my job.  Also, I wear a lot of sun dresses and big floppy hats.

Oh!  Lastly, and I don’t want to ask for too much here, but since this is a dream after all, my life would include a flannel-beard partner who plays guitar and makes me pour-overs and we have at least 2 dogs.

It’s precisely at the flannel-beard-dog moment that I realize this dream is not very realistic, mostly because 1. nice flannel-beards who play guitar and make pour-overs are hard to come by these days and 2. I really like my big-city-luxuries, including easy to find specialty coffee shops, great bars and restaurants, and 24/7 access to a grocery store, even if those “big city-luxuries” are in the BLC itself.  However, a dream is a dream is a dream, and I still like to think about it now and again.

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My dream was re-inspired the other day while I was walking my parents’ property, picking fresh apples and pears from their newly acquired fruit trees (from their newly acquired house, go figures).  Stumped over what to do with a million half-ripe pears, I decided to follow my go-to philosophy surrounding fruit and all foods in general:

Turn it into a *pie.

Turn everything into a pie.

If you’re going to cheat on your **healthy-eating pact, you should just really go for it and eat pie, right?  Say it with me: Right!  And on that sentiment, I went to work kneading pie dough, slicing pears, and grating ginger.  What resulted was probably one of the best desserts – no, recipes – I’ve made to date.  Oh pie, I ♥ you.

*If we’re going to get all technical here, it’s actually a galette.  I don’t discriminate against anything with pie dough.

**As far as the healthy eating pact goes, I mean, there’s pears in this, ya know?)

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Before I give you the recipe, I must say one more thing:  Remember when I gave you pie recipes multiple times in the past claiming to have hold on the best pie dough recipe of all time?  Remember how I alwaaaaays give you the recipe but never give you a tutorial?  Yeah, it happened again.  I’m the worst.  But I swear to you all so soon, I will have a step-by-step!  Let me just say that, as an early-twenty-something single woman, it’s hard to find people who 1. like cooking as much as you do (because early-twenty-somethings can’t cook anything but ramen as it turns out), which means your friends can’t demonstrate as you take pics or 2. use your very particular photography techniques or know how to use a nice camera in general.  But no worries, my friends, I already have someone lined up to help a sista out (literally…it’s my brother).  Pie dough dreams will arrive momentarily.

But for now, here’s a written step-by-step and one of my favorite desserts I’ve made to date ♥  Thanks for dealing with the crazy.

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*Note: I forgot to include this in the recipe card, but I highly recommend serving the galette with butter pecan, salted caramel, or classic vanilla bean ice cream.  Butter pecan was my choice, but any of those will go!  If you’re not an ice cream person, in which case, I don’t know if we can be friends (just kidding kind of), but a little whipped cream does the trick.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers

Mixed Berry Pie

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I have the tendency to delve into projects that require far more time than I had ever anticipated.  I usually know what I’m getting myself into and enter an inner-cranium deliberation with myself.  It normally goes along the lines of: “Hey!  I have a great idea to make this really beautiful thing, and yeah it will probably take an hour or two of my life, but in the end, I will be so proud of this beautiful, wonderful thing that I made and everyone will think I’m great!”.  And then instead of taking one or two hours, it takes three or four or ten.  In this case, it was hand-cutting stars out of pie dough, because apparently it’s totally obtuse to believe that I could find a star-shaped cookie cutter within a week of the Fourth of July.  I’m not sure if it has to do with them being sold out or that there’s just no demand for star shaped scraps of metal, but there were no stars to be found, so it was back to the drawing board.

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You see guys and gals, here’s how it goes.  I get an idea in my mind, and once it’s there, it will not leave.  So when I started seeing beautiful freedom-inspired pies taking up the likes of Instagram and Pinterest, all hope for a simple double crust pie with some slits across the top was lost.  I needed stripes.  I needed stars.  And it had to be red, white, and blue.  I found a particular pie that would inspire my own (I believe it was from Williams and Sanoma) that was cut to look like an American flag.  It was beautiful and picturesque, and I thought “How hard can this be?”.  That’s when the star escapade came to be, and I realized how hard it actually can be and that a star-shaped cookie cutter was not in the…stars… :I

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After getting slightly frustrated, I determined that I was just going to wing it, since that’s how I’ve essentially been living my life for the past year or so.  I rolled out the pie crust and started cutting it into strips.  In that moment, I taught myself how to lattice a pie, and trust me I realize this is probably not the correct Martha Stewart-esque way to do it, but listen, that’s just not how my life goes.  And then I started cutting out little stars by hand, and while they did take a while, it really wasn’t that bad.  Once you get a hang of it, they go pretty quick.  I’d say to cut out 12 stars took about 20 minutes.  I lightly traced little stars (like you used to draw in elementary school) using a fondant cutter, although a knife would work too, and then I just cut around the edge.  And everything was okay.

Also by hand-cutting my stars, my pie is now artisan, right?

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As for the pie, I just mixed a bunch of berries that I had around the house together with some sugar, tapioca starch, and lemon.  I have to say, this pie is amazingly delicious, especially since I completely winged the recipe.  I used strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, but you could use any combo of berries you like.  Also, my pie was slightly tart, so feel free to add more sugar.  For a juicier pie, use less tapioca starch.

P.S. You can use cornstarch instead of tapioca starch if that’s all you have on hand.  However, I am firmly team tapioca starch, because I think it makes a more stable pie.

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Happy 4th ♥

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: American Girl by Tom Petty

Pumpkin Pie

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This is not a drill.  I repeat.  This is not a drill.  I successfully finished a holiday recipe–complete with pictures!–before said holiday actually happened.  I think I can officially call myself a food blogger now.  Huzzah and let the merriment begin!

(Or something along those lines).

This weekend was Friendsgiving, which I still believe is a fairly new thing, or maybe I’m just becoming an adult.  Anyways, I was told to bring dessert, as I normally am, and so obviously I had to make stereotypical Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

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Growing up, my family always had chocolate pies at Thanksgiving, because many of my family members do not like pumpkin.  Therefore, I always thought that chocolate pies were a common American Thanksgiving tradition.  It wasn’t even that long ago that somebody clued me in on the fact that many people have never even had chocolate pie.  While this news deeply saddens me, I promise to post my chocolate pie recipe soon, and in the meantime, you should make this pumpkin pie.

The recipe itself is kind of a fluke.  While looking up pumpkin pie recipes, I realized that I didn’t have most ingredients that almost everyone uses in pumpkin pie.  In my mind, all I needed was a can of pumpkin and some common household ingredients to get this thing rollin’.  Sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, B grade maple syrup, freshly grated ginger?  Who has these ingredients just laying around their house?  In the midst of extreme laziness and procrastination, I decided against trekking to the grocery store in my pajamas at 11 p.m., and set out to create my own recipe.  It came out surprisingly delicious and it only takes about 20 minutes to whip up!  I got a standing ovation and everything.  Sometimes being irresponsible and unprepared really pays off!

The pie can be made a day in advance (I actually think pie is better when it’s been sitting for a day), so all you have to do on the day of Thanksgiving is whip the cream, which can be made in 4 minutes if your mixer has the will to do so and also if you don’t mind splatters.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Tin pie pans are great for Friendsgiving (inebriated friends + glass pie pans = disaster, in case you’re wondering).

P.P.S.  If you’re interested in the velvet pumpkins, my aunt makes them!  You can buy them on her etsy site.  She also makes little acorns!  They’re super cute for fall decorating 🙂

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*Song of the Day: People Help the People–Birdy

Apple Pie with Sugared Crust

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I’ve waited a long time for this, guys.  Fall, that is.  And pie.  But mostly fall.

There’s something about the fall semester starting that makes me so impatient for the actual season to appear.  It’s probably that I just want to wear scarves and boots and tights all the time.  Mostly I think that I just get tired of walking 15 minutes to class every day in 85+ degrees and showing up sweaty as all hell.  But I do really love my tight collection.

Seeing as it was the middle of October last week and still in the 80s, I was starting to lose hope that it would ever be fall.

And then…Friday happened.  It rained all day, the leaves turned orange and fell off the tree in my front yard, and the air was brisk and breezy.  I wore my favorite Burton coat.  It was a rare sort of bliss.

And then I baked an apple pie.  To celebrate, of course.  Which isn’t to say that I haven’t made apple pie in the summer before.  Actually, the pie in these pictures was one my mom made a few weeks ago while I was visiting my fam in Vegas*.  But I digress…

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I actually remember the first time I had apple pie.  I’m not sure what my deal was when I was a kid, but apple pie majorly grossed me out.  It seemed slimy and soggy from my 8 year old perspective (also, I grew up with chocolate pie, and nothing is better than that when you’re a young child.  Or an adult, but whatever…).

And then one day, my mom baked an apple pie while we were on vacation at our cabin with my best friend.  My mom cut me a slice and put a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  Not wanting to seem too picky in front of my BFF, I put on my brave face and ate the whole thing (wow so deprived *eyeroll*).  And then I was forever changed.

Sometimes I wonder if I would not have the constant, incessant craving for apple pie if I had just turned my nose at my mom’s that day.  However, I like to think that I would be a much sadder person without it.  It helps me justify eating microwaved apple pie with ice cream for breakfast, anyway.

So when you inevitably go apple picking and come home with 48 lbs. of beautiful, orchard grown apples, just set aside a few pounds to make this pie.

It will hug you and make you feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings.

Plus, it’s fall as hell.  And that’s what I’m all about right now.

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*I am all for homemade pie crusts, but I’m not going to lie and tell you that’s what I did for this recipe.  I definitely used a refrigerated Pillsbury crust because, well, I’m lazy.  If you want to make it easy like I did, use the kind that you have to roll out, not the kind already in the tinfoil pie plate.  It’s pretty close to the real thing.*

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I really recommend preceding this pie with some kind of comfort meal such as garlic mashed potatoes, vegetable beef soup, or garlic herbed pork tenderloin.

But those are just a few ideas.  Or you can come over and I’ll make you a cozy fall meal complete with the perfect apple pie, some spiced cider, and Cards Against Humanity while Hocus Pocus plays in the background.

The choice is yours.

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*Song of the Day: Wake Me Up When September Ends–Green Day (throwing it waaayyy back, here).

*Thanks to my brother, Garrett for taking these pics!!