February 2012


Last week I made a blueberry cranberry pie with a basic all-butter flaky pastry crust. Once again, this recipe is from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible.  I’m going to stick with this book for awhile, because I think this just might be the key to my pie-crust success. And it doesn’t hurt that the fillings are also exacting and exactly perfect every time.

See how the filling stays in place and doesn't ooze out everywhere? I love that! (I know. I'm a geek. I've embraced it.)

The blueberry cranberry filling is a perfect winter pie.  It’s not too sweet. In fact, it’s bracing and tart, in a  good, beat your chest sort of way. And if you want to tame the tartness, it’s lovely with some local or homemade vanilla ice cream.

You can use blueberries you put up in the summer, or buy frozen.   Randy brought home fresh blueberries from Trader Joe’s that came from Mexico, I think.  I cringed, because I try to eat in-season as much as possible, but I wasn’t about to waste these berries. They actually tasted quite good. And of course I used some of the cranberries I stocked up on in December.

You start by macerating all the filling ingredients for 30 minutes.  Then you cook it until it’s thick, let it cool and transfer it to the pie shell.  Incredibly easy and delicious.  In fact, there’s no reason you couldn’t use this filling as an ice cream topping or in a fruit crisp as well.

Here are the blueberries and cranberries macerating in sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest.

Of course, I can’t help myself.  I always switch up a recipe, even if it’s just slightly.  And really, this time it’s hardly worth mentioning the change, but I’ll mention it anyway.  I decided on a lattice top crust rather than a double crust.

Well, this tiny decision did end up tripping me up a bit.  The quantities for all the ingredients for the double-crust and crust-with-lattice are right next to each other in the book, so while I’m certain I got the flour and butter measurements correct, I know my eyes kept drifting back and forth between the recipes on the other ingredients.  I think this may have had a slight impact on the end result.

The crust was flaky, tasty, and very crisp…  approaching tough, which is not a good thing in a pie crust.  I still haven’t laid my hands on pastry flour, so I might attribute some of the minor flaws in the pie crust to the fact that I used bleached AP flour which has a slightly higher protein content.  But I also think that the tricks my eyes were playing on me as I was measuring ingredients into my bowl may have had an impact.

Also, Rose keeps calling for vinegar in her crusts–just a tad, but really, I just can’t do it.  At least not yet. I subbed extra water instead. This may also have contributed to that slight chew in the crust.

I’m going to make the same crust again this week. Maybe I’ll try the vinegar. Maybe not. I’ll report how it goes.

If you want to try this recipe, just remember the key to a good pie crust is cold everything, and resting the dough.

Basic Flaky Pie Crust for 9-inch lattice pie

Adapted from the Pie and Pastry Bible

9 T/4.5 oz unsalted butter

1.5 cups/7.5 oz bleached AP flour (or if you use pastry flour, add an extra 1.5 T)

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking powder

3.5-4.5 T/1.75-2.3 oz ice water

1.5 tsp/0.25 oz cider vinegar (I didn’t use vinegar, and instead add a touch more water)

Cut 2/3 of the butter into 3/4 in. cubes and put it in the refrigerator.  Slice the remaining 1/3 of the butter into thin slices, separate them and put them in the freezer.*  Put your dry ingredients in a bowl and stick it in the freezer or refrigerator until very cold.

Rub the refrigerated butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender until it looks like coarse meal  (your flour, butter and bowl are cold enough if this hurts a little). Gently fold in the frozen butter slices, trying to keep them intact as much as possible.  If it seems like your mixture is warming up too much, let it rest in the freezer or refrigerator for awhile before you continue.

Add your ice water, beginning with the smallest quantity recommended in the recipe.  Help the dough come together with your spatula (or your hands if you have very cold hands)  by turning and pressing the mixture in the bowl.  Add additional water until it’s ready and forms a crumbly mass. Stop kneading it, and dump it onto a square of plastic wrap. Use the edges of the wrap to bring all the crumbs to the dough mass.  Wrap it up and form it into a disc.  You can split it up at this point if you want:  9.5 oz for the bottom crust, and the remaining piece for the lattice.  Or split it later (which is what I did). Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Take it out of the fridge, let it rest a few minutes until it’s roll-able, and roll it.  Bottom crust should be about 13 inches.  Roll the lattice into a rectangle, and cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide.  Here’s a good photo demo of how to make a lattice top.

Dump the filling into the pie crust, make the lattice top, stick it back in the fridge to rest for an hour.

Bake for about an hour in a pre-heated 375 degree oven, until the crust is golden brown.  Rose recommends a 20-minute bake on the bottom of your oven or baking stone, then transfer to the top rack to finish baking.  This worked well for me, but be sure to put a sheet of foil on the bottom of your oven to catch drips from the filling.

Let it rest for 6 hours before cutting. (I know it sounds like a long time. It is, but you know how the filling in the picture is staying put instead of oozing all over the plate?  Yeah, it’s because it rested for 6 hours. Skip this step at your own risk.)

Blueberry-Cranberry filling

1.5 cups/10.5 oz sugar

1/3 cup/1.6 oz corn starch

1 T/.25 oz lemon zest

3 T/1.6 oz lemon juice

a pinch of salt

1.5 lbs frozen blueberries

3.5 cups/12.25 oz fresh or frozen cranberries

In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine all the ingredients except blueberries and cranberries.  Then add the berries and toss to coat.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes or until the berries begin to give up some of their juices.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently until very thickened, and some of the berries have bursted.  It’s a lot of filling, so this may take awhile. The recipe says 8-10 minutes, but mine took longer. Just make sure it comes to a complete boil (doesn’t have to be a rolling boil), because boiling it is what activates the starch.  If you don’t activate the starch, it won’t get as thick, and worse, you’ll have a really unpleasant texture to your filling.  It should be edible after you’re done cooking it.

Let it cool to almost room temp before dumping it into your pie crust for baking.

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I was lucky enough to get an invitation to a private paired cocktail dinner at a local restaurant.  The restaurant was Beta by Sabor.  The young and talented Chef Mitchell Ciohon expertly prepared and beautifully presented his food.  And the daring drink pairings were provided by mixologist Clint Sterwald.

The experience was a treat.

I brought my husband Randy, and after we handed over our coats, we walked into the lounge and helped ourselves to a delicious oxtail marmalade on toast, pickled vegetables, and fried pork rinds with peppered honey.

We also warmed up our palates with a fruity champagne punch and scotch on the rocks.

But the real show began after we took our seats.

First course

Heirloom Radish Salad

Mixed radishes, celery leaves, boiled peanuts over a roasted garlic and peanut shmear. Topped with Pisco Sour honey and white balsamic viniagrette.

Mr. MacGregor’s Garden

A fruity and refreshing concoction that included Pisco, Aperol, ginger lemongrass syrup and lemon juice.

I have thoroughly enjoyed Aperol in an classic Italian drink called an Aperol Spritz.  It’s simply champagne or sparkling wine topped with a float of Aperol.  It lends a citrusy note to the sparkling wine that I really enjoy, so I was anxious to try this cocktail.  It did not disappoint, and I can imagine enjoying this drink on a warm summer evening on my balcony.

Second course

BLT

Dr. Pepper braised pork belly, tomato jam, and micro greens atop toasted bread sheets.

The bread sheets were actually white bread, pounded thin and toasted so that it had a cracker consistency. This dish was my favorite. The pork belly was perfectly cooked, and all the components of the dish sang a little ditty in my mouth.

Tomato Vesper

Ranson Gin, Rehorst Vodka, Cocchi Americano, Punt e Mes, Tomato Water, Peychaud’s Bitters. 

Sterwald rimmed the glass with some sort of tomato-salt mixture.  The drink was reminiscent of a bloody mary, but much more refined and elegant.

Third course

Barbeque Turkey Tail

Slow confit turkey tail with pickled Door County cherry barbeque sauce over crispy fries. Topped with 6yr aged Widmer Cheddar.

The flavors of this dish were bold, rich, well balanced, and truly delicious.  I cleaned my plate, except for the turkey tail which was a bit fatty for my taste.  I think this dish would have sent me over the moon had it been a turkey leg. (I know… YAWN. What can I say? I’m a comfort food kind of gal at heart.)

Fallen Cherry

Black pepper infused Scotch, vanilla bean syrup, orange juice, Door County cherries, Bittercube Cherry Bark Bitters, Dolan sweet vermouth, egg white.

Sterwald said this is the drink he gives to people who don’t like scotch.  I like scotch, and I could taste it in this drink, but I could see why he said that.  It doesn’t have that punch-in-the-face effect that some Scotch drinks have.  It’s slightly sweet, though not cloying in the least bit.

Final Course

Figgy Chocolate Fizz

Flourless Chocolate Cake atop  a fig-mezcal reduction. Sour cream whipped cream and house made pop rocks streusel.

So this dessert was probably the most interesting dish of the night.  The cake was more like a stiff chocolate pudding with bits of fresh fig buried inside; the whipped cream was treated with liquid nitrogen so it had a hard shell and a creamy whipped cream center, and the fig-mezcal reduction… well, it had mezcal. I’m not a huge fan.  However, I can appreciate what Chef Ciohon did with it.

Fig Mezcal Sour

Fig infused Mezcal, lime juice, lemon juice, cane sugar syrup, egg white, Within 100 spiced fig bitters. 

I tend to be put off by sweet-sour flavors, and as I said before, I don’t really enjoy (though I can appreciate!) Mezcal.  I could tell this drink was an excellent rendition, and again, it was well-balanced and actually quite beautiful.  I had a sip, but Randy drank most of mine.

Those are dried fig chips garnishing the drink. It was quite beautiful, and I'm sorry this photo doesn't do it justice.

After dinner, we were treated to some lovely dessert wine (as well as Mad Dog–you’ll have to ask the owner Paul about it. He tells a great story.), cheese, and chocolate-cherry-bourbon ice cream with chocolate covered bacon made in their fancy schmancy custom-painted stand mixer with liquid nitrogen.

All around, a great evening of amazing food, inventive cocktails, and fun company.

I remember riding my bike to my friend Jamiee’s house as a kid. I had to ride to the end of the golf course in my subdivision, through a fence, across the McDonald’s parking lot,  navigate across busy Moorland Rd, cut through the Brookfield Square parking lot, finally pedal through another little neighborhood and to her house.  It wasn’t that far, perhaps 3-4 miles, but it was an adventure and made me feel kind of tough.

We were both tomboys, but we liked playing with dolls (including giving them haircuts) as much as we liked makiing with mudpies, running sprints, and climbing (or in my case attempting to climb) trees. That’s my memory, anyway.  I also remember how much we liked our snacks.

My favorite was toast or squishy bread with crunchy peanut butter and honey.  Gooey, sweet, sticky, and satisfying.  The closest you could get to a candy bar without actually eating a candy bar.

Kind of like the pie I made last week, but the pie was decidedly less healthy.  It really was like eating a candy bar. Aw, hell, it was a candy bar disguised as a pie if I’m going to be really honest about it.

The objective of my pie project is to find and perfect my favorite crust.  This pie was a digression, because it was really more a composed dessert than a pie.  It did nothing to advance my culinary skills or help me practice the art of pie-making, but it just sounded so good, I had to make it.

I started by making the peanut butter shortbread crust, which was indescribably delicious.  It was peanutty, salty, sweet, and crispy.  Oh my god, yum.

Then I made a vanilla pastry cream (cooked twice – more on that in a minute) and layered it with sliced red bananas (which are definitely more flavorful and worth the extra cash).  I think you would agree that peanut butter and banana is another ridiculously yummy flavor combo – one that I discovered and came to love in my adult life.  I still regularly enjoy this pairing on whole grain toast for breakfast. Serve with hot coffee or a glass of cold milk.

Since the pastry cream and shortbread crust were not decadent enough, I whipped up some lightly sweetened cream, and dolloped a scoop on top.

OH! I almost forgot to tell you about the salty bourbon caramel (not).  Oh yeah, baby.  That was the over-the-top factor, and more than any other component, it’s what made this pie a candy bar.

Now, this pie did not come without problems.

For instance, the lightly sweetened whipped cream was lovely, but could have used some bourbon.  Nothin’ like boozy, lightly sweetened whipped cream, right?

And I’ve made pastry cream many times, but this pastry cream was a little odd.  First of all, I’ve never made a pastry cream with flour.  It always has cornstarch, but I followed the recipe because if I used the recipe I usually use, I would have leftover pastry cream, and believe me when I say that would not be a good thing. I’m training for a marathon, people.  Extra pounds=slower times.  Not havin’ that!

Well, turns out I didn’t cook the pastry cream long enough the first time, and it was soupy.  And I didn’t realize it until I was almost ready to serve dinner to my guests (OK, the guests were just my parents, but still!).

I quickly cooked the pastry cream again boiled the shit out of my pastry cream, adding about a tablespoon of cornstarch, and shoved it in my refrigerator praying it would cool off enough in time to serve for dessert. To be honest, I was pissed off. I don’t like it when my cooking projects don’t turn out and I sputtered a few hundred curse words as I was re-cooking the stuff, but the show had to go on.

Of course, the pastry cream didn’t cool off enough, but I served it anyway. So dessert was more like a cookie with bananas and warm pudding with whipped cream and caramel.  Certainly not the worst thing in the world (my parents and I gobbled it up), but not ideal.

I forgot about it for the evening, and let the pie sit in the refrigerator overnight.  Then, Randy (my husband) and I ate pie for breakfast, and we swooned.  The pastry cream had set, and all the components married into a decadent, delectable calorie bomb.

Want to make it?  The recipe is below.  But be forewarned:  make plans to share this pie ahead of time, because if you don’t, you will end up eating the whole damn thing yourself, marathons be damned.

Banana Cream Pie with Salty Bourbon Caramel

adapted from Bon Appetit

Peanut shortbread crust:

1 1/4 cups unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla pastry cream:

2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the pastry cream I subbed cornstarch for 2 T flour in the original recipe, which will help it set better.  Or for a less finicky and still delicious pastry cream, try this recipe which is the one we used in my culinary school baking class (but you will probably have leftovers): 

1 pint whole milk (you can use part cream if you want)
4 oz sugar
1.5 oz egg yolk
2 oz whole eggs
1.25 oz cornstarch
1 oz butter
2 t vanilla.

Whipped cream:

3/4 cup heavy cream
2 T powdered sugar
2 tsp bourbon

Caramel and Assembly:

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon, divided
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ripe red bananas (or 3 ripe yellow bananas if you don’t want to spring for the red ones)

For peanut crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse peanuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside 1/4 cup for garnish, and pulverize the rest until you got yourself some peanut butter.

Combine your flour, salt, and baking soda. In your mixer, beat your sugars, peanut butter, and butter until it’s good and combined.  It will look a little grainy, so don’t look for the fluffy texture you get when you cream just butter and sugar. Add your egg yolk and vanilla and keep beating until the  mixture becomes clumpy. Add dry ingredients and beat the mixture just until you see only small specks of flour.  Remember, this is shortbread, so you don’t want to mix it too much or you’ll have yourself a tough crust.  Finish mixing in the flour with your spatula. The spread it evenly on the bottom and up the sides of your pie dish.  Bake at 350 degrees until it’s deep golden brown, 15–17 minutes. I made a this a couple of days ahead, and it was fine.  Just keep it well covered with plastic wrap.

For vanilla pastry cream:

This process is a little like making frozen custard.

Bring milk and cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Whisk your sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add your egg yolks; whisk until smooth. As you’re whisking, gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture.  (It helps if you have a friend around at this point to gradually pour in the milk for you, but no worries if you’re flying solo. I did it without help and so can you!

Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thick.  It really should be close the the thickness you want when you spread it in the pie.  It will stiffen a bit as it chills, but not a ton.  If you don’t use my culinary school recipe, you may have to really let it simmer for a couple of minutes (but stir constantly).  Remove your pan from the heat, add your butter and vanilla, and whisk, whisk, whisk until it’s perfectly smooth.  (You could do this last step in a blender, but why would you dirty another dish?) Transfer your pastry cream to a medium bowl; press plastic wrap directly onto surface of pastry cream so it doesn’t form a skin. Chill until set, at least 2 hours.  You can also make this a couple of days ahead.  Pastry cream keeps well as long as it’s well covered.

For whipped cream:

Whip your cream and sugar to desired consistency.  I like my whipped cream a little on the soft side.

For caramel:

Stir sugar, 1 tablespoon bourbon, corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium deep saucepan over medium heat. Basically, just leave it there and let it cook until the sugar is a deep amber color.  You might gently swirl your pot a couple of times to make sure it’s cooking evening, but otherwise, just let it do its thang. How long it takes depends on how hot your burner is.  Mine took about 10 minutes. Remove your caramel from your burner and whisk (quickly!) in 1/4 cup cream, butter, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously).  If you have to put it back on the burner to get it all to come together that’s OK, but don’t let it boil.  Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon bourbon and vanilla. This also can be made ahead of time.  Reheat it gently before serving it.

Assembly:

Spread 1/4 cup vanilla pastry cream on the bottom of your crust. Layer 1/4 inch banana slices over pastry cream. Top with 1.5 cups pastry cream. Add another layer of slice bananas. And top with remaining pastry cream (or if you used the 2nd pastry cream recipe, just add enough to cover bananas. Garnish with whipped cream and reserved ground peanuts. drizzle with bourbon caramel.

The filling was tart, sweet and luscious.  The crust was flaky, tender, and very flavorful.  Now, that’s what I’m talking about, people!

For the week of Jan. 30, I made an apple-cranberry pie.  I loaded up on Wisconsin cranberries around November when they were on sale, and shoved ’em in my freezer.  Sadly, the apples weren’t local, as I haven’t made it to the winter farmer’s market for a few weeks now. I’m hoping to get there this weekend.

Rose Levy Berenbaum's Rose Apple Cranberry Pie. Delicioso!

The recipe is from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible.  As soon as this book arrived in the mail, I curled up on my couch with my big red blanket and dug in! It’s not what I would call a page-turner, but if you’re a geeky baker like me, it’s a great read.  Berenbaum really plunges into the science of pie crust, and it may seem overkill at first, but at the end of the day, it’s helpful.  One example:  I will never use unbleached, all-purpose flour for my pie crusts again–the protein level is too high, which leads to more gluten formation, which leads to a tough crust.  So, I’ve stocked up on bleached, all-purpose flour while I hunt down pastry flour (which is different than cake flour).

The other thing I LOVE about this book is that it provides the volume and weight – in ounces and grams, no less!  It’s a complete and utter mystery to me why there are baking books still coming out that don’t provide weight measurements. The variability between my scoop of flour and your scoop of flour can be several ounces, and that alone can completely derail a recipe.  If you really want to improve your baking, go get yourself a scale. They’re not that expensive, and they’re convenient as hell. I use mine constantly.  I like this brand.

This particular recipe, “Rosy Apple Cranberry Pie” (ain’t that nice?) called for a cream cheese pie crust.  Making this crust according to Berenbaum’s instructions was a lengthy and time-consuming process.  As I was working my way through her recipe, I realized the keys to her process are chilling and rest.

If you want to give it a try, here’s a very shortened version of the recipe from the book (the recipe in the book is 3.5 pages!):

Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust – double crust

I’m giving you volume/weight measurements.

12 T/6 oz.  Unsalted butter, cold, cut into 3/4″ pcs.

2 c/10 oz.  Bleached all-purpose flour

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. baking powder

4.5 oz. (1.5 3-oz packages) cream cheese, cold

2 T ice water

1 T cider vinegar (I didn’t use this, because I thought it would taste weird. I just added an extra T of water)

Stick your cut up butter in the freezer.  Combine your flour, salt and baking powder, and stick the bowl in your fridge or freezer.   Wait 30 minutes.

Add cream cheese to flour mixture, and rub it in until it resembles coarse meal.

I did this step, but I’m going to skip it next time:  Transfer the cream cheese and flour mixture, and your frozen butter to a zip lock bag.  Expel the air, and with a rolling pin, flatten the butter pieces. Put the bag in the freezer for 10 minutes.

What I will do next time:  mix in the butter pieces with my fingers until I get the same thin flakes, then put the whole bowl back in the freezer.  I’ve done this before, and it works fine.  If you have naturally hot hands, this may not work for you. You’re finished if the butter starts to melt.  Well, not really, you can re-chill your bowl until the butter is cold again, then get back at it, but that’s a pain.  This is one time where having cold hands is definitely an advantage.  If you really want to skip the plastic bag step even though you have hot hands, use a pastry cutter.

This is a pastry cutter. I didn't know what the hell it was for a long time - longer than I'm willing to admit. After all, I didn't learn to bake at my grandma's elbow. So in case you're in my boat, here you go.

After the 10-minute chill, if your mixture is in a bag, transfer it back to the bowl.  (If it’s in the bowl, well, you can keep it in there.)  Add the ice water and vinegar if using.

At this point, she wants you to put it back into the plastic bag again in order to mix it together.  I didn’t do that.  I just mixed it right inside the bowl.  I’m a rebel like that.

I thought I was going to need more water, but I patiently and gently continued kneading the dough until it came together.  Berenbaum writes that it should “hold together in one piece and feel slightly stretchy when pulled.”

Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap each in plastic wrap, flatten each into a 5-inch or so disc and refrigerate for 45 minutes or up to a day.

When you’re ready to roll, take your dough out of the fridge, and let it rest for 10 minutes or so.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough into a 12 inch diameter circle. It should be 1/8 in. thick.   Rotate your dough a quarter turn after each roll of your pin to get a more even circle.  Roll the dough circle loosely around your rolling pin and transfer to your 9-in pie plate  (I use Pyrex).  Trim almost to the edge of the pan. Cover the pan with plastic, and back in the refrigerator for another chilled rest–at least 30 minutes.  I did this step and then made my filling.

Apple Cranberry filling

6 cups/1.5 lbs peeled sliced (1/4 inch) apples

1 T/.5 oz lemon juice (I used more – juice from half of a very juicy lemon)

3/4 cup/5.3 oz sugar

1/4 cup, packed/2 oz light brown sugar

1 t cinnamon

1/8 t salt

2.5 T/.75 oz cornstarch

4 t/.66 oz. unsalted butter

2 cups/7 oz. fresh cranberries

1/2 cup/2.5 oz. golden raisins (this is an optional ingredient, but I thought it was a really  nice addition.

Combine your apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon and salt, mix well, and let macerate for at least 30 minutes (no more than a couple of hours or the mixture will break down too much).

Transfer the mixture to a colander over a bowl, and transfer the juices to a small saucepan.   Add the butter, and reduce slowly in your saucepan until it’s syrupy and caramelized.  She says you should have about 1/4 cup, but I think I had a bit more.

Add cornstarch to apples, and mix well.  Then drizzle the syrup over the apples. The syrup will harden, but don’t worry about it, because it’s going to re-melt in your oven.  Add the cranberries and raisins, and dump this gorgeous mixture into your pie crust.

Roll out the top crust, wet the edges of the bottom crust, then transfer the top crust to cover the pie.  Crimp the border in whatever way you want.  A fork is probably the easiest, or you could flute it. Cover the pie with plastic, and stick it back in the fridge for a final rest.  About an hour will do it.

Finally, cut wide slits in the top crust, or cut a whole in the top crust with a mini-biscuit cutter or a piping tip.

Bake at the bottom of your 425 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.  The juices should be bubbling.

Voila!  You have a lovely pie to eat all by yourself or share with loved ones.

P.S.   No photos of the process, because I haven’t had my photo lesson yet (it’s coming soon!).  But really, I also didn’t take photos of the process, because 13 million other food bloggers have already documented the entire pie-making process, and have lovely photos (or in some case, vids) of what it should look like at each step.  So, if you really want a step-by-step photo tutorial, go here or here, or do a google search and find your own damn tutorial if you don’t like my suggestions. Hrumph!

P.P.S.  On deck for this week is this banana cream pie with salty bourbon caramel, courtesy of Bon Appetit.