Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day!

Ahh today is March 14th. 3-14...  3/14...  3.14 ohhhhh. Pi Day!! Yeah, that's right. So in celebration of Pi Day, I decided to make a pie. I got my recipes from Cook's Illustrated & Cook's  Kitchen, both from America's Test Kitchen. So it's bound to be delicious.  I'll include the full recipes at the end of the post. 

So let's make the crust (I made the crust after I made the filling... I should have done it the other way around). 
Ingredients: Flour, sugar, salt, vegetable shortening, unsalted butter, and ice water. 

 First, using a food processor (Cook's Country's fool proof way) combine the flour, sugar and salt. 
 Both the butter and shortening should be chilled. I measured out the shortening and put it in the freezer. 
 Ohhh you like that angle, don't you?! You scatter the shortening over the flour mixture. Process this until it resembles coarse sand, about 10 seconds. 

 Then add the butter, which was cut into small cubes. Use short pulses to process this mixture until it resembles coarse crumbles.  It took about 13 pulses for me, Cook's Country says 10. 

 Have the water waiting in the fridge until this point. It has to be cold. Add 6 tablespoons and start to mix the dough until it comes together. If it isn't coming together, add another tablespoon. And so on until it comes together. 

 Mixin' the dough...

 Split the dough in half and wrap each dough tightly in plastic wrap. Put them in the fridge for about an hour. 

Take one disk out, put it on a good floured surface. 

Roll it out to at least 12 inches.  This is for a 9 inch pie... My pie pan is 9.5 inches. This bottom piece was slightly too small, but it all worked out. 

Roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the pie pan.  See how it doesn't really hang evenly over the edge? That's lame. Put this rolled out half back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. 

Now for the filling! Apples (6-7, although I should have used more), frozen cherries (story on that later), orange juice, corn starch, cinnamon, salt, water, an egg white, and sugar.

So. Cranberries are painfully out of season right now. I searched long and hard for them. At one store. I'm dedicated. I decided to substitute frozen cherries. So put two cups of those in a sauce pan.  Once again, should have used more, because those suckers cook down. 

Add the 1/2 cup of sugar.

1/4 cup of orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon of both cinnamon and salt.  

Bring this to a light boil.

Let 'er go for about 15 minutes. That's a light boil right?! Even on low this won't stop boiling. 

Cut, core, peel, and slice your apples in the mean time. I wish there was a quick way of doing this. 

After you've let this boil for about 15 minutes, it should be thick enough to where you can scrape the bottom of the pan and it leaves a trail. Now just set it aside and allow it to come to room temperature.

(While typing the recipe below I realized I didn't add the water to this. I was wondering why there was water sitting on the counter. Oh well. Mystery solved.) 

Back to the apples... After you have thinly sliced them, throw them in a bowl along with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cinnamon and salt, and 1 tablespoon of corn starch. Toss it all together.

Make sure the bowl is microwave safe. On high, microwave this for 3 minutes.  Stir the apples, and continue with 3 minute increments until apples start to turn translucent and the liquid is thick and glossy. Mine went for a total of 9 minutes.

Glorious!  Also set this aside to let it come to room temperature. 

Now, after the crust has chilled a second time, put the room temp cherries in the bottom.  They may have gotten VERY thick by now. Considering like 2 hours have passed if you're like me. I just put them on the stove for a second. Don't let them get too hot though. Spread this around the bottom.  

Uhhh then put the apples in. I was sidetracked by the fact that my fillings barely filled up the pan. Trim the edges (if any). Tuck the edges under, as shown in this blurry picture. I also didn't show the top crust being rolled out.  It turned out a lot better than the bottom.  

 Flute the edges using one finger and two fingers from the other hand. You  know what I mean... 

 Cut four venting slits.  Brush the egg white over the top, then sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. 

This is where things get nerdy. And awesome. And Pi-y! You can do whatever you want for the top.  You could even do a lattice top. Or just the slits. Or a pretty flower design. Doesn't matter. 

Oh. Your oven should have been preheating to 425 degrees, with a baking sheet in there while preheating. When that's all set, place the pie on the preheated baking sheet.  Bake this for 20-25 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and rotate the sheet. Continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, till the crust is a beautiful golden brown. 

When it's done, put it on a cooling rack and let it cool for 2 hours. 

And there you have it! A pie on Pi Day! 

Double-Crust Pie Dough from Cook's Country actually can be linked. 

Apple-CranberryCherry Pie - 

2 cups fresh or frozen cherries (or cranberries)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for top of pie
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 1/2 pounds sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 egg white, beaten lightly

1. Bring cherries, juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally and pressing cherries against side of pot, until berries have completely broken down and juices have thickened to jamlike consistency (wooden spoon scraped across bottom should leave clear trail that doesn't fill in), 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in water, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. 

2. Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cornstarch in large microwave-safe bowl; add apples and toss to combine. Microwave on high power, stirring with rubber spatula every 3 minutes, until apples are just starting to turn translucent around edges and liquid is thick and glossy, 10 to 14 minutes.  Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. 

3. While fillings cool, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove one disk of dough (This is where the other recipe comes into play) from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.  Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang.  Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes. 

4. Transfer cooled cherry mixture to dough-lined pie plate and spread into even layer.  Place apple mixture on top of cherries, mounding slightly in center; push down any sharp apple edges. 

5. Roll second disk of dough on generously floured work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.  Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. 

6. Using kitchen shears (or a knife), cut evenly through both layers of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang.  Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg white and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar.  Using sharp paring knife, cut four 1 1/2-inch slits in top of dough in cross pattern.

7. Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake until top is light golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees, rotate baking sheet, and continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack to cool at least 2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve. 

I just hand typed this whole thing. Please use it, someone.  


  1. Beautiful Pi Pie Kelsey! I'm always impressed with your cooking/baking/photography/blogging skills!

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  3. That looks so wonderful!! Great job Kels. Making a pie is hard so I'm extremely impressed. And you'll have to let me know how the cherry tastes. It will be great news if this pie tastes good with fruits other than cranberries!

    And someone really should use you're beautifully typed recipe. That was a lot of typing + it's a really fantastic recipe!