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July 08, 2006

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anapestic

My mother always made much better looking pie crusts than I do, too. I suspect that it has something to do with the amount and composition of fat. My crust (and yours, from the recipe) is a good deal more short than Mom's, and a shorter crust deforms more easily, especially under heat. I think the same is true of crusts that rely more heavily on butter than on shortening, which Mom always used. Mom also didn't have to be as careful with chilling her crust, probably for the same reason. I've noticed that no matter how good the finger crimp looks when it goes into the oven, it loses a good deal of its shape before it comes out. Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Of course, part of the reason probably has to do with the nature of memory. Pie is something I've loved for as long as I can remember, so any slight imperfections in the shape of the crust would likely have been edited out by a perfectly reasonable fondness for the subject matter.

Tanna

I should be so lucky to get my pies coming out of the oven like yours! We had a really good lamb tagine for dinner and I wish I had your pie for dessert!
So beautiful.

Kimberly

Oh, Lindy, how beautiful! By the time we get really good local peaches and blueberries this summer, our kitchen will be in the middle of a remodel. (We're demolishing this weekend!) I'll be freezing more fruit than usual this summer, unless I find a kitchen to borrow for canning and baking.

There are blueberries in the pie, yes? There are none in the recipe as I read it now.

lindy

pestic-I am happy to have extra excuses! I was always stinky at finger-crimping .
tanna-I'd like some of that lamb, myself.
kimberly-thanks! I fixed the recipe. I seem to have more tendencies to that sort of mistake when I'm not working from a book recipe!

Julie

Your pie looks perfect -- the essence of summer. And the lime and orange juice rather than the usual lemon is a lovely touch.

I just tried a crisp with peaches and blueberries and it was not nearly as successful as your pie. In fact, it was unsuccessful, due mainly, I think, to the amount of juice the fruits produced.

Fran

What a great post! Beautiful pie! I thoroughly concur with your comments. Seems even high end bakeries don't do them justice as you certainly do.

steven

I'm patiently waiting for neighbor's blueberries to ripen so I can make pie. I intend to use lard for the crust, put butter in the berries and eat the pie with homemade vanilla ice cream and have a defibrillator handy.

Rebecca

What a gorgeous pie! My crust recipe is very similar to yours but I hardly ever have to patience to make the lattice top; it does look nice, though. I really love the peach (or nectarine)/blueberry combination, too.

lindy

Julie-Thank you, you are very kind to say so. It is a really drippy filling, I think it does need a bit of stiffening up.
Fran-the very day after I wrote this, someone brought some leftover store pie to work which was ridiculously good! It was multi-berry plus rhubarb. Still, a rarity I think, though.
steven- The "safety committee" came around today at work, and I signed up for my CPR recertification class-(I'm not making this up!) Of course this will largely benefit the other pie eaters in my office, rather than yrs. truly. But after the class, I'll know who to sit near at lunch.
rebecca-I remember you mentioning there was egg in your crust too. I think it tenderizes it-but it may be my imagination?

pyewacket

Restaurants make crappy pies because:

1) Pie crust resists large-scale production. Jut a few crusts at a time is labor-intensive. So you end up with either insanely expensive pies or frozen crusts.

2) Fresh fruit for pie filling is very expensive compared to, say, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, lemon juice, cocoa, and the other bakery basics. Also, fresh fruit is labor-intensive. So you end up with either insanely expensive pies or frozen fruit.

3) Frozen fruit and frozen crusts make lousy pies.

4) People won't pay for expensive pies. Pie are homey, and available for cheap at the local store and people can't imagine spending more on pie than on cake.

5) And one more thing on your very valid point about the homemade look of pies - a really good pie spills juice all over its plate. Only crappy pies are so full of cornstarch they hold their shape. But fancy restaurants don't wnat messy desserts, and lower-end restaurants won't spend the money on great pies.

Conclusions: be grateful for every homemade pie.

Leland

If you say yours is not a gifted hand, I haven't got a prayer! My life goal is to produce such a lattice crust.

lobstersquad

Please, please, what is crisco? I see it in cookbooks and am utterly baffled.
that pie looks amazing, btw, straight out of Tom Sawyer.

lindy

pyewacket-can't argue with most of that. Except that I do think that a homemade crust, frozen, is fine.
leland-I guess you'd have to see the debris, composed of broken strips, I have left at the end, to appreciate the klutz factor. Fortunately, you can make extra dough.
lobstersquad- It's solid vegetable shortening-white-looks like lard. There are other brands, but crisco must have been the first, as it has acquired a generic meaning. Kind of like "band-aids" for elastic bandages.

eg

We have a shop near here called The Pie Gourmet. Their pies are actually pretty good but I think that they are a bit expensive. They seem to start at 15.95 for the 8". Most people don't think that they can make pie crust and they are willing to pay someone else to do so.

Rebecca

I do use an egg in my pie crust, a whole egg, and one of these days, perhaps in the next 2 weeks when I won't be able to cook much due to the kitchen construction, I'll post the recipe. And yes, it makes for a tender crust but you lose out on flakiness. But it makes it MUCH easier to handle and more reliable. I also add the acid, a T. of vinegar, but I see you use lemon juice.

Last week W.F. had their fruit pies on sale for about half price, $7.99. They are quite good and use good ingredients, butter in the crust, etc., but they're still not as good as a homemade pie.

farmgirl

Yum! Lovely job. I absolutely adore pie. The combination of nectarines and blueberries sounds divine--I've never tried it or even heard of it.

I agree with Rebecca that an egg or egg yolk added to the pie crust makes it much easier to handle. I used to use an egg crust for making lots and lots of savory Cornish-style pasties when I had my little bakery cafe. I never would have had the patience to hand roll out all those small circles of dough if it weren't for that crust.

june

Ahha, so this is what American Pie is all about. I have had bad luck, being faced with squdgy things that are too sweet and too gloopy in diners, and I had a dim view of this great classic. Thanks for putting me right!

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