Haaaaaappppyyyy Pi Day! I have decided that if I had a day that was my spirit animal, today would be the day! How are you celebrating? There is meant to be a blizzard hitting NYC right about now, so I have a funny feeling that it will be a snow day! Everyone was at the supermarket getting their snow-day french toast ingredients (milk, eggs and bread), and the shelves were starting to be empty and the line was out the door. Thankfully I stocked up super early this morning after the gym, and didn't need any of the ingredients for french toast! (we are having pizza! haha).
In the Spirit of Pi day I thought I would share a pie that encompasses a couple of different techniques. The thing that I love about pie dough is how versatile it is. The same dough can be worked in a huge number of different ways to yield different results. There is a knack to making the dough itself (my friend Erin, the queen of pie dough, just released a super helpful video talking all about pie dough and how to make it, what it should look like etc), but once it has come together, there are so many different options in how you decorate your pie, what filling you use etc. I have tried to demonstrate a few of my favourite techniques here - a basic lattice using cut strips, pie stamps, and a braid done using the pasta maker.
- Cut strip Lattice: This is a super quick and easy way to decorate a pie. I like to use a ruler and a pastry wheel to help me cut my strips. One of my current favourite ways to lattice is in a herringbone pattern, which I have also used on this pie.
-Pie stamps: These are my favourite way to add a super pretty yet super simple touch to a pie. The stamps that I use both cut out the shape and imprint a pattern onto the cut-out, so you can add leaves, flowers etc to the top of your pie. They are great for hiding messy ends of braids, little imperfections in your lattice, or just for covering the entire top of the pie for a slightly different effect.
-Stand mixer pasta attachment: This is the most recent technique I have developed for pie lattice. Using the pasta roller / cutting attachment means that you get very smooth, consistent strips of dough, perfect for a detailed lattice or a nice tidy braid. I have found however that by putting the pastry through the pasta maker it tends to make it quite tough and brittle, so you won't get as nice of a flaky tender texture to your pie pastry as you would if you rolled it by hand. For this pie I only used a small braid around the edge of the pie, as I wanted the lattice and stamps to still have the nice flaky texture.
I went with a super simple classic apple and blackberry pie. I increased the amount of pastry I would usually use for a 9 inch pie, because of all the elements included. If you were doing a simple lattice, or just a lattice and stamps, make the amount of dough used in this recipe instead. I did a fat (approx 1 inch strips) herringbone lattice in the centre of the pie. As always I followed the tutorial by the amazing Stella Parks. I then ran a small amount of pastry through the pasta roller and fettuccine cutter on my kitchen aid, and made three simple braids with the strips, which I placed around one edge of the pie. I finished off the pie by rolling out the excess dough from lining the tin, and cut out lots of leaves and flowers. I used these to cover any messy spots on the lattice, hide the ends of the braids, decorate the edges of the pie, which brought the whole design together nicely! I totally free-styled this as I went, which is half the fun of it - you don't know what it is going to look like until you are finished!
So happy Pi day! Have a good one! Make some Pie.
Apple and Blackberry Pie
- Makes one 9 inch Pie -
Pie Dough from 'Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie book'
3 3/4 cups (560) Flour
Pinch of Salt
3 tsp (12g) sugar
3 sticks (340g) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
600g / 1.3lbs apples, cored and sliced thinly
Juice of 2 Lemons
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1/3 cup (85g) raw / turbinado sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup (50g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
- PROCESS -
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
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 8-10 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 one disc into a circle slightly larger than your pie dish. You want it to be approximately 1/8 inch (3mm) in thickness. Line the pie dish, leaving the extra dough overhanging. Trim the dough so there is about 1/2 an inch overlapping the edge of your dish. Wrap the remaining pastry tightly in plastic wrap and place into the fridge for use later. Refrigerate the lined tin until ready to add the filling.
In a large bowl, place the cored and sliced apples. Toss with the lemon juice, and drain off any excess. Sprinkle over the granulated sugar, and mix well to combine. Leave to sit for approx. 30 minutes to allow the fruit to release any excess moisture.
Drain any excess liquid that has accumulated in the bowl, and add the blackberries, flour, raw sugar and cinnamon. Mix well to combine, and turn out the mixture into the lined pie dish.
Remove the second disc of dough from the fridge. Cut off a small fist sized chunk, and set aside to use for the braids. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the remainder of the pastry into a large rectangle, approximately 1/8 inch (3mm). Using a ruler as a width guide and a pastry wheel, cut the pastry into strips approximately 1 inch thick. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Using a pasta maker, flour the dough set aside for the braids. Pass 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. You want it to be at least 10 inches long (it doesn't matter if it is narrow). Pass the dough through the cutting attachment of the machine, and place the cut strips onto a baking sheet. Divide into three groups of three strands. Press the ends of the strands together, and braid in a simple 3 strand braid, pinching the strands together once your braid is the desired length. Repeat two more times for the other braids, and then place on the lined baking sheet.
Roll out any leftover dough. Using pie stamps, cut out shapes from the dough, and place on a second lined baking sheet.
Using the thick strips, follow this tutorial to create a herringbone lattice. You only really need the centre part of the pie to have the full effect of the herringbone lattice, so once you are close to the edges of the pie, you can leave them unwoven, as these parts will be covered by the braid or stamps.
Arrange the three braids around the edge of the pie in your desired position.
Arrange the cut out stamps around the pie, using them to cover any imperfections in the lattice, or messy ends of the braid. Press down lightly to adhere them to the pie, using a small amount of water on the backs of the cut-outs if necessary.
Place the finished pie in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
While the pie is resting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 400˚f/200˚c. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven.
Remove the pie from the fridge and brush with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar. Place on the baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to set and go golden. Reduce the temperature to 375f/190c, and cook for a further 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.