Before you have to stick to your New Year's resolution, here are some suggestions on where to find super insane pies. Read More >>
© Brian M. Heiser
At Chicago’s Hoosier Mama Pie Company, former Trio pastry chef Paula Haney and her team make up to 600 pies a week, kneading dough nonstop for as much as an hour per day, and burning through literally a ton of flour in as little as eight weeks. But practice does make perfect, as Haney’s pies—like her Cherry-Berry Pie—come out superbly flaky and intensely flavorful. Here, Haney tips off home bakers to the many mistakes that can get in the way of pie perfection. 10 pitfalls to avoid when baking pie. »
© Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Tiffany MacIsaac's Holiday Pie Bar
At Buzz Bakery in Alexandria, VA, she's now offering a DIY Pie Bar package that comes with two pies (like Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan and Classic Pumpkin), house-made ice cream, cinnamon whipped cream, caramel sauce and candied cranberries. Since Buzz doesn't ship its baked goods, MacIsaac shared these tips on how to set up a DIY Pie Bar at home.
1. Make it a group project. Guests usually ask the host how they can contribute to the holiday meal. You can plan a cohesive, pie-centric menu for Thanksgiving and delegate specific components to invitees. If one guest brings pumpkin pie, others can take on gingersnap cookie crumbs and caramel sauce, and non-cooks can be in charge of bringing beautiful cake stands. The display will grow into something fantastically unexpected as the guests arrive.
2. Don't pay for props. MacIsaac repurposes items from around the house for the display. A stack of books works as a pedestal; fallen leaves make an easy accent to scatter around the table; an old frame refines the look of a printed menu. Lighting is especially important. Everyone looks good by candlelight and the same goes for food.
3. Incorporate traditional fall flavors. During the holidays, people look for familiar foods. If you experiment with something new like salted-caramel cream pie, you can also offer a super-old-fashioned option like double-crust apple pie or upgrade a classic, as in a meringue-topped sweet potato pie.
4. Consider textures. You don’t want all mush or all crunch when it comes to a pie or the toppings you set out for guests. With the pie bar, everyone gets whipped cream, nuts, cookie crumbs, sauce.
5. Master the pie crust. Besides the logistics of setting up a dessert display, the most basic rule of a great pie bar is to make delicious pies, and that starts with good crust. MacIsaac likes a nice amount of salt in the dough to balance the sweetness of fillings. And she says you might want to add vodka, not to your glass, but to the water as you mix the dough. It evaporates more quickly, so you’re left with less moisture, which makes for a more tender, flaky crust. In a dough recipe calling for water, MacIsaac subs vodka for about 1/6 to 1/4 of the water.
© Tina Rupp
As American as Cherry-Berry Pie.
The offer still stands through July 31. Tweet the hashtag #pieku @fandw @fwscout with your own pro-pie haiku to be eligible. For pastry envy and inspiration, here's a sampling of the poetic Tweetstorm:
@cettedrucks: tucked in crust, bubbling/crimped edges, lattice top or/a la mode. slice served.
@ashleyzink: Grandma taught mom how; Her pie recipes passed down; I'm the baker now!
@rthnnthrntn: dearest apple pie / my tastebuds are so thankful / but my hips are not
@melagustin: Buttery, flakey / Cradling sweet juicy cherries / This is my heaven
@ddavila: Fresh Key Lime Pie Dream Bright & Light Whipped Cream Delight. So Tart & Tangy
@Justinchapple: berry pie, good pie; peanut butter, better pie; pumpkin pie, favorite
@msvallis: Crust not overworked, blueberries firm and lemon tart, eat you in a day