Kitchen 101: Traditional and Vegan Pies

Fresh, local ingredients make the best traditional and vegan pies.

November 16, 2015

HomesteadIssue 15: November/December 2015
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Traditional double crust apple pie.

Pie is not only a holiday tradition, but an American tradition at its finest. With endless sweet and savory varieties, pie has long been the perfect way for bakers to show off the season’s bounty and to showcase and celebrate the local harvest.

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You can make creamy, fresh butter at home — no special equipment required.

Traditional Pie

An apple pie enclosed in a rich, flaky crust and filled with sweet, warm apples is enough to summon memories long forgotten. Using (almost) all local ingredients for this year’s holiday pie will make your crust taste richer and your apples taste even sweeter.

Butter

While it’s easy to buy a pound of butter at the grocery store, it’s almost as easy (and far more rewarding) to make it at home. The creamy freshness of homemade butter is palpable, and will undoubtedly enhance the flavor and texture of your pie crust. You don’t even need heavy equipment, just a sturdy Mason jar and a strong arm.

Homemade Butter
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Homemade Butter
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Ingredients
  • 1 quart Heavy Cream Local if possible; I used Danzeisen Dairy heavy cream.
Servings:
Instructions
With Stand Mixer
  1. Pour 1 quart local heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or into a large wide-mouth Mason jar with lid. If using the mixer, lower the whisk into the bowl and turn the mixer on to its lowest speed. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer until it reaches its maximum speed. After 2 - 3 minutes, the cream will turn into whipped cream. Keep whipping, for another 8 - 10 minutes, until the contents of the bowl have separated into two consistencies: thick yellow butter and milky liquid (buttermilk).
  2. Pour the buttermilk out of the bowl, ensuring that there is as little buttermilk left as possible. (Buttermilk can be saved to use in pancakes, salad dressing, and muffins.) Put the butter (sans buttermilk) into an airtight container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the butter from the fridge and remove any more buttermilk that has separated from the butter. At this point, the butter is ready to be used in the pie dough recipe.
  3. Note: if you are planning to keep the butter for a longer period of time, it will need to be rinsed of any lingering buttermilk to prevent spoiling.
With Mason Jar
  1. If you are using a Mason jar, pour the heavy cream into the Mason jar. Shake the heavy cream in the lidded jar until the butter separates from the buttermilk (about 15 minutes). Proceed the same way you would if you had used a stand mixer.
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Basic Pie Dough

Basic Pie Dough
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Basic Pie Dough
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Ingredients
Pie Crust
Homemade Butter
Servings:
Instructions
Pie Crust
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cane sugar, and salt.
  2. Add the pieces of butter to the bowl.
  3. Using a pastry blender or large fork, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the bowl consists only of pea-sized pieces of the flour/butter mixture.
  4. Evenly sprinkle half of the ice-cold water into the mixture and continue to combine the mixture with a fork or a pastry blender for another 30-60 seconds, or until the mixture begins to form a large mass of dough.
  5. Sprinkle the rest of the water into the bowl and continue to mix until the mixture forms a smooth, large mass.
  6. Divide the dough into two rounds and wrap each individual round with plastic wrap.
  7. Store the wrapped dough in the fridge for at least two hours, or until it is very cold.
Homemade Butter
  1. Pour 1 quart local heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or into a large wide-mouth Mason jar with lid.
  2. If using the mixer, lower the whisk into the bowl and turn the mixer on to its lowest speed. Slowly increase the speed of the mixer until it reaches its maximum speed.
  3. After 2 - 3 minutes, the cream will turn into whipped cream. Keep whipping, for another 8 - 10 minutes, until the contents of the bowl have separated into two consistencies: thick yellow butter and milky liquid (buttermilk).
  4. Pour the buttermilk out of the bowl, ensuring that there is as little buttermilk left as possible. (Buttermilk can be saved to use in pancakes, salad dressing, and muffins.)
  5. Put the butter (sans buttermilk) into an airtight container and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the butter from the fridge and remove any more buttermilk that has separated from the butter. At this point, the butter is ready to be used in the pie dough recipe.
  7. Note: if you are planning to keep the butter for a longer period of time, it will need to be rinsed of any lingering buttermilk to prevent spoiling.
  8. If you are using a Mason jar, pour the heavy cream into the Mason jar. Shake the heavy cream in the lidded jar until the butter separates from the buttermilk (about 15 minutes). Proceed the same way you would if you had used a stand mixer.
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Cinnamon Apple Pie

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A flaky crust and perfectly spiced apple filling makes going back for seconds on this pie hard to resist.

Cinnamon Apple Pie
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Cinnamon Apple Pie
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator 10 minutes before you begin working with it.
  3. In a large bowl, toss sliced apples, honey, cinnamon, and flour together with a large spoon.
  4. Liberally sprinkle flour on a wide, clean surface. Place one round of dough onto the floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large circle, about ¼-inch thick. The dough will initially be difficult to shape, but will become more manageable as it warms to room temperature.
  5. Fit the sheet of rolled dough into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate, using your hand to gently press the dough into the corners of the plate. Make sure to leave about an inch of dough hanging over the lip of the pie plate.
  6. Fill the pie with the apple mixture.
  7. Roll out the second round of dough in the same manner that you rolled the first round. Lightly drape the rolled dough on top of the apples in the pie plate, leaving an extra inch of dough around the sides.
  8. Pinch together the edges of the top and bottom pieces of pie dough to create a strong seal. Poke a few holes in the top of the pie so that air can escape. Feel free to make a pretty design.
  9. Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
  10. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.
  11. Let the pie cool for 3-4 hours to allow it to set.
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Vegan Pie

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie.

Free of butter, flour, and sugar, vegan pies rely on produce that is fresh and in season. Almost all of the ingredients for vegan pies can be found abundantly at farmers’ markets around town.

Basic Vegan Pie Dough

Vegan pie dough does not get baked in the oven. In fact, its two basic ingredients, nuts and fresh dates, need only to be processed together to create a sweet, nutty, and crunchy pie crust that stands up to almost any filling. A vegan pie made with this dough is the perfect way to please anyone with a sweet tooth and an appreciation for seasonal produce.

Vegan Pie Dough
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Vegan Pie Dough
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add nuts to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse the nuts, shredded coconut, sea salt, and cinnamon together until they reach the consistency of rough flour.
  3. Add dates and coconut oil to the bowl and process on high speed until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  4. Firmly press the dough into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round pie plate.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours.
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Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Vegan Pumpkin Pie
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Vegan Pumpkin Pie
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend on high until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
  3. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the refrigerated vegan pie crust and distribute it evenly.
  4. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
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Shelby Thompson practices yoga, hikes with her black lab Cola, and cooks. Her blog thesunandthespoon.com provides nutritious, plant-based recipes, and she is the author of a weekly recipe blog series for Edible Baja Arizona featuring ingredients from the Tucson CSA.







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