"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pie Crust Cookie Cutters

Guys this is super exciting. My mom-in-law got me these awesome cookie cutters that work well for dough and pie crusts from Williams Sonoma for my birthday.

Cute! There's 4 different leaf shapes. (These were the fall ones)
Seems easy enough, right? 
I've been waiting for a chance to use them! I prefer my apple pies Dutch so I needed to make a cherry pie so I could lattice the top. First, you have to make pie crust. My aunt showed me how after cutting up deer this year--man is it easy. There's no sense in buying store crust when you can make your own in 8-10 minutes (seriously no more than that). It is flaky and buttery and light and delicious.

{Pie Crust Recipe}
2 cups of flour (instead of sifting I just use my hand to scoop it into the measuring cup)
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
-->mix these together with your hands or a fork, until it's crumbly and the bits are the size of peas (ish)

Then add 1/4 cup of COLD water (no more no less, my aunt is very strict about this part). Mix the flour mixture with the water by hand until you form a ball of dough. This should not take very long and the point is to not handle the dough much. 

Now, this will create TWO pie crusts. So you can either do two dutch apple pies or have one pie covered with the second crust. 

{Rolling out the Crusts}
To roll them out, you again want to touch them and work them as little as possible so they don't get tough. Flour your table and put half the dough on it. Use the palm of your hand and push outward in a circle to start widening the dough and flattening it as well. Flip it over and do that again. (add a little bit of flour if it's sticking. Not too much!)

Once you have a decent circle, get your rolling pin (don't have a rolling pin? A drinking glass or wine bottle work just fine) and flour it if necessary. Roll the dough out into a circle that is fairly thin. The edges are going to be imperfect in places--that's okay, you'll trim it up later. Use something flat like a huge spatula or food scraper and gently unstick the dough from the table. Place it in your pie dish. (I lightly flour my dish beforehand. I'm not sure if that's necessary, but I get paranoid about sticking!)

Once it's in the pie dish, you want to gently push it down into the dish and fold the edges under so you have a lip to the crust (we're going to crimp that sucker next!). You can gently trim back really large parts of dough and use those extra pieces to fill in other parts of the crust that are a little thinner and don't have much height to them once folded under. Then, gently crimp the edges with your finger tips. There's no exact science to this, and I think it takes some practice. 

Meh. Not bad. This side looks better than the other for sure! 
Now for the fun cookie cutter part of this story. I took the second part of the dough and flattened it in a circle as mentioned above, then rolled it out. You don't have to worry about the shape here because you're just going to cut it up! Be sure you don't roll the dough too thin--your little pieces will break apart and the pie will seep through if it doesn't have something sturdy on top to keep it in.

I picked a very straightforward, thinner leaf so that I could easily lattice the top of the pie.
This is just like cookies--take your extra dough and roll it out again and make more leaves! 

I used the "bash and chop" to scoop my little leaves off the table! Worked like a charm.
The rest is pretty straightforward: place your leaves, slightly overlapping, on your pie!

I had to seriously resist the urge to make this into a peace sign after starting with the middle row...
Yay leaves! What a pretty impact for such little work. 
And, here's the finished pie, just out of the oven!

Yeah I know it looks basically like the picture above...
So here's some important things I've learned. 
      1) When you're reading the recipe you want to use, take note that canned cherries are not the same thing as canned cherry pie filling. My epic fail of this pie is that I didn't even realize what I had done until I opened the can and went "EEEEEEEKKKKK!!!!! This is syrupy!!!!" And then realized my mistake and all the corn syrup I was about to make us injest. Don't be on auto-pilot when you go to the store!! Regardless, it will hopefully taste fine. I added a 1/4 tsp of almond extract and a tablespoon of butter to the cherry pie filling, which I heated on the stove before adding into the crust so the butter would melt. (Those things were in the original recipe I was trying to use). 
     2) When people tell you to "seal" the edges of your pies, they're not joking. See how all the filling has seeped out around my pretty leaves? To remedy this, next time I'm going to start with a layer of leaves around the crust, and push it in a bit to seal the filling. And then I'll make my lattice. I think that will be both pretty and functional in fixing the filling seepage. 

The outside crust on this is nice and golden and the leaves are still a bit light, but I think that's okay. :) It's going to take awhile to cool on the stove so we're going to wait to try it tomorrow night with Brian's parents before the Christmas play at Crossroads! 

Have a great evening!


  1. I just saw this on Brian's facebook. If I were to follow you in person rather than your blog, I may be able to score delicious treats!

  2. lol Mary. You can follow me. That wouldn't be creepy. :)


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