The Q-R-S of Pie For TDay
Q is for Questions
I believe that we can and do think. There are days that I scratch my head wondering how specific recipe directions, or any directions for that matter, need to be to be understood. For example, on occasion I have received emails from readers who wonder if they can leave out major ingredients or follow the directions for a recipe to turn out. Hmm….what do you think?
For a little humor please enjoy this piece my alter ego The Piechiatrist® wrote a few years back about following them…directions that is. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did writing it.
R is for Refresh
If you have a piece or two of leftover pie, or even an entire pie, you can refresh it easily and bring the crust back to a more optimum condition. Place the whole pie in an oven preheated to 325F oven for 15-20 minutes. 10 minutes might even do it for just one or two pieces.
S is for Spices
After the summer blitz of fruit pies, and apples and pears in the fall, just before Thanksgiving rolls around I usually replenish and refresh my spices. It’s an easy thing to remember. Thanksgiving is coming. Here are the basics.
- Spices can’t go bad, spoil, or become rancid, but they do lose potency and flavor as they age.
- Rule of thumb is that ground spices will last 6 months to 1 year, and whole spices will last 18 months.
- Spices that you find on the shelves of the average grocery chain most likely have been there for a year or more, and probably have been sitting in a warehouse for up to a year before that! Although quality may not be the first thing on the supplier’s mind, let it be the first thing on yours.
- Store spices correctly; no extreme temperatures, either hot or cold.
- Store in a dark cupboard away from light sources or in darker glass airtight jars.
- Only buy what you think you’ll use in a 6 month to 1 year period. You can always get more when needed.
- Buy from a reputable local spice store that has a good turn over of inventory, or online at places like Market Spice, Penzeys, The Spice House. (In case you are wondering, I have no relationship to any of these three spice companies other than liking their spices.)
S is for Surface
To roll out a dough you need but two things, a cylinder and a flat surface. Give yourself plenty of elbow room, and I suggest that you roll a chilled dough away from an oven that is preheating or baking. Give that dough the opportunity to put its best roll forward and that can’t be done if it is feeling hot and wilted. Place frozen gel packs, bags of ice, or frozen peas on the counter if it is feeling hot. Butter starts softening at 59F and if the surface you are rolling out on is up in the 70s or 80s, or even higher, it can make that dough rolling session less than optimal. Let It Chill and Give Dough A Chance.
S is for No Soggy Bottom
- If you have a pizza stone, preheat it (30 minutes atleast) and place the pie directly on it.
- If no pizza stone, preheat a sheet pan and place the pie directly on it.
- Some place the pie pan directly on the oven floor for the first 20 minutes or so to get a good bake on the bottom crust. This of course only works if your heating element is on the bottom of the oven.
- Some folks swear by pre-baking, also known as blind baking, the pie shell if they are making a custard pie.
- Use a pie pan that doesn’t take as long to heat up; Pyrex or metal. Some pottery or ceramic ones can be so thick on the bottom that the bottom crust melts rather than sets up.
- Avoid shiny pie pans. Shiny deflects heat. Opt for the pie pan that is darker or has a matte finish.
- Some paint the bottom of the unbaked pie shell with egg white wash as a barrier for the filling.
Next up, it’s T-U-V.