Thursday, November 24, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  I hope you and yours are all together, happy, warm and stuffed!

Above is a picture of one of the pumpkin pies I made for our Thanksgiving dinner.  This is a perfect example of how a decorative crust can take an ordinary pie and turn it into something outstanding.  It's really quite easy to make.  It just takes a little planning.  Remember the elusive perfect pie crust post


Here I used cookie cutters to cut cute shapes out of pie crust.  When rolling out the dough to make the shapes, roll it out a little thicker than you normally would for a pie crust, like 1/4 inch rather than 1/8 inch.  If the shapes are too thin they will likely burn or not hold their shape during the baking process.  Once the shapes are cut out bake them just until golden then cool and freeze until ready to use.  This way you can do this part days or weeks before you actually want to bake your pie, making things a lot easier later on. 
Pre-baked shapes all ready to go!
Putting it all together:

Once you get your bottom pie crust rolled out and set in the plate, chill it for about 30-60 minutes in the fridge.  Now is the time to pull your pie crust shapes out of the freezer and set out to thaw.  In the meantime preheat your oven to about 375. 

Now that the bottom pie crust is chilled, you need to blind bake the crust.  This helps ensure that the entire crust (especially the bottom) is fully baked.  First, use a fork to pierce some holes in the bottom of the crust.  Next, cut out a piece of parchment paper and place in the pie.  Then, use either pie weights or dried beans to fill the pie.  Bake the pie at 375 until the edges start to turn golden.  Remove the pie weights and parchment paper, return crust to oven and allow it to bake until the entire crust is nice and brown.  This whole process usually takes about 30-40 minutes.

Blind-baked pie crust
Remove the pie crust from the oven and allow it to cool (enough that you can comfortably touch the edges).  Now its time to assemble the crust.  Mix together some egg wash (one egg beaten with about a teaspoon of water).  Fill your pie with whatever filling you are using (in this case the pumpkin filling), leaving about an inch of exposed crust.  Next, brush the edges of the exposed crust with the egg wash.  Then, brush the backs of the shapes with egg wash and press firmly on to the exposed crust of the pie.  Continue this process all the way around the pie. 

Working around the pie
Once you are finished, go over the entire crust again with egg wash.  Then carefully sprinkle sugar over the exposed crust.  Congratulations!  You are now ready to bake your beautiful pie!


I hope this inspires you to take your holiday pies to new heights!  Happy baking and Happy Thanksgiving!

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