Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December - The Month Of...


For the last month of the year, we decided to try our hands at pie making. This has always been an intimidating dessert for me because of the elusive perfect pie crust. I've heard that they are hard to make and that they hardly ever turn out well. They are either too tough, too sticky, not cooked right, or just plain awful.

Jon found a fantastic (and easy to follow!) crust recipe online. I wish I could find the link to it right now to share with you, but alas I'm not sure which website he eventually settled on. I told him we should have pinned it to my recipe board on Pinterest... haha

This recipe actually made a lot of sense! And we have a pastry cutter which made things a lot easier when it came to adding in the butter cubes. Cut up 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch cubes of butter and freeze them at least 15 minutes before preparing the pie crust dough. Freezing them overnight is even better if possible.

Although I wouldn't say that this pie crust was PERFECT, I am super happy with it for a first try. It had some flakiness, it was cooked all the way through, and it actually tasted good!

I liked learning that too much water can make your dough tough and that if there are chunks of butter viewable when you knead the dough together, that's what ends up creating the flakiness when the crust is baked. Yum!

We decided on 3 pie varieties for the month: fruit, chocolate, and savory.

The first pie that we tried was a fruit pie. Apricot/Apple (made with apples from Apple Hill) - so delicious!

making a lattice top

ready to bake!

golden perfection :)

 We tried it out on some friends that came over to view Christmas lights with us earlier in the month. Maybe they were just being nice... but it got their stamp of approval :)

Next we decided to try a chocolate Rocky Road pie. This recipe was interesting because it didn't actually have the complete list of ingredients! (as far as we could tell, anyway.) It was a little confusing, so we sort of took the idea and made the rest up.

The crust was a Fudge Stripes crumb/butter crust. Kind of like a graham cracker crust, but with cookies instead.

This pie (although tasty) was more like those "worms-in-dirt" desserts that you eat as a kid which is really pudding and oreos in a cup, rather than actual pie... You know what I'm talking about. We topped the slices with Cool Whip to serve.

I think if we were actually to try a chocolate pie again, I would want it to be more of the chocolate silk variety and possibly use egg whites for a fluffy and shape holding meringue texture instead of a pudding/chocolate chip/cool whip/fudge cookie mess.

The last pie set up for this month was a meat pie.

Unfortunately between Christmas and work we were unable to make this one happen :( Hopefully we'll still try it out this week because the little meat pies sounded delicious!

I am so grateful that Jon thought of this idea of exploring new things in 2013 and I can't wait to start our new theme for next year. I'm thankful for all the things that we learned and all the fun that we had while trying (and sometimes failing at) these new projects. The successful ones have helped me find new things that I enjoy doing, and have stretched our talents. Overall it was a super successful theme and definitely the best yet :) We hope that you'll keep following along with our adventures in 2014.



merrilykaroly said...

Yay for pie! I use the Betty Crocker pie crust recipe and it's never steered me wrong. I also like shortening even more than butter. I've never heard of apple apricot! Now I want to try it!!

Lindsey and Jared said...

No way - I love my pie crusts with butter over shortening. They turned out great and I am super impressed with your lattice top. Goodbye year of exploration, I am going to miss you!

The BaKeRs said...