Goodness, New Zealand is next level AMAZING. This is the perfect time of year to visit - it's the end of summer, and the kids have gone back to school so things are a little more quiet. We have been splitting our time between Richard's farm and the beach house. TOO GOOD. We have only been here a week and already and somehow I'm already homesick, and we haven't even left yet. We are hopefully planning to move back to NZ in the next two years or so, so it's all about figuring out a game plan and where to go from here.
Before I left, my friend Michelle (AKA Hummingbird High) came around and we made pie! We recreated the herringbone I made a few weeks ago, but this time on mini pies. It was so much fun having someone to bake with, especially when super cute pies are involved. Yay for friends! The recipe for these are also over on Michelle's site.
We used a pasta maker to cut the strips of the lattice. I have the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment that clips onto my mixer, which makes quick work of the strips, and is super satisfying to use as it makes super even strips that make for a very tidy lattice that weaves together nicely. The dough was rolled using the roller attachment, then we used the fettuccine attachment for the thinner lattice, and the lasagnette for the thicker. You could definitely do the same thing with a rolling pin, a ruler, a pastry wheel and some careful cutting if you are without a pasta maker. I find using a ruler to cut strips makes for a much cleaner lattice when it comes to assembly!
We went with four 5 inch mini pies, but you could use the same recipe and bake one 9 inch pie instead if you don't have the mini pie pans. We went with a simple apple and pear filling, and a basic dough recipe that is totally my go to due to how easy it is to work with. If you are going to do a thin lattice or use a pasta maker to cut your strips I do recommend working your dough a little more than you would at the flour and butter stage to ensure that it is a little more sturdy and holds together nicely when you are latticing. Dough tends to develop weak points where the chunks of butter are, so you want to minimise this to make sure that it is nice and easy to work with.
The Herringbone pattern isn't too tricky once you get the hang of it - it is essentially fold three strips back, leave three down, and then place your horizontal strip. The only thing that changes is how you start each line, which gives you variation in the strips folded back, and makes the pattern. It takes some careful reading of the pattern at the beginning but once you get the hang of it it will all make sense and the pattern develops quite quickly. I follow Stella's tutorial, which explains it extremely well, so instead of writing my own, I highly recommend following that. Have fun with it! It looks very fiddly at the beginning, but it will all come together! Promise. Head over to Michelle's blog to check out her shots!
Apple and Pear mini pies
- Makes four 5 inch pies -
Pie dough recipe from Four and Twenty Blackbirds
2 1/2 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp (8g) sugar
2 sticks (226g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar
2 large firm baking apples
2 large firm pears
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp (36g) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp (30g) raw sugar
4 Tbsp (25g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg, whisked with 1 Tbsp water
- PROCESS -
Place flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat. Working quickly and using a pastry blender or your hands, cut the butter into the flour until there are only small pea-sized chunks remaining. If you are going to do a detailed lattice, you want to take it a little further than you usually would to ensure that the dough is pliable and stable enough to be cut into small strips.
Combine ice, water, and cider vinegar in a bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 12 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough until it is approximately 1/8" (3mm) thick. Line four 5 inch miniature pie dishes with dough, leaving some overhang. Refrigerate while you prepare the pie filling.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples and pears and place in a large bowl. Add lemon juice and toss well to evenly coat the fruit. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Mix well to combine, and leave to sit for 20-30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the raw sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Transfer the fruit to the bowl, leaving behind any excess liquid. Toss well to combine.
ASSEMBLY AND BAKING
Divide the filling between the four lined pie dishes. If you are making a lattice the regular way, roll out the second disc of dough on a floured surface into a large circle, until it is 1/8" (3mm) thick. Cut the dough into thin strips of equal width. If you are using the pasta maker for the lattice, pass floured slices of dough through the widest setting on your pasta maker multiple times, folding and pressing it back together between passes until it is smooth and homogenous. Decrease the thickness on the machine to the second widest setting, and pass the dough through several times. Pass the dough through the cutting attachment of the machine, and place the cut strips onto a baking sheet. Prepare the strips for 1-2 pies at a time, and make more as you need them to ensure that the dough does not dry out too much.
Arrange the strips on top of the filling, either in a regular lattice, or follow the steps in this tutorial to create a herringbone lattice. Trim the edges of the pie using shears. Transfer the pies to the freezer for 15-20 minutes to allow the pastry to firm up.
While the pies are freezing, preheat the oven to 400f/200c. Place a baking sheet on the centre rack of the oven.
Remove the pies from the freezer and brush with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Place on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to set and go golden. Reduce the temperature to 375f/190c, and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the pastry is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.