We haven’t posted anything in a while.  There are a few reasons for that, the primary being that I’m not much of a blogger.  Second, we are working on a new website which will hopefully be finished in about a month or so.  Thirdly, we’ve been focusing on making pies and getting our business in order.  I apologize to anyone who has been looking for our posts and not finding any.

So we have some news:  PDP is doing another pop-up market and we will be there alongside our friends from Zeke’s Coffee.  It’s on the 25th of January. This one will be inside Symbiotic Collusion at 131 7th Street from 5:30pm to 9:00pm.  It’s in conjunction with another gallery crawl, so there will be plenty of other stuff to do while you eat some pie.

The other news is that we got some gracious press from the Post Gazette.  Click this link to see it.  Thanks to the Post Gazette.

We also turn up in a “The Forks” post.  Link.  Just Scroll down towards the bottom or jump back a page to read about stuff and see some dashing pictures.

Both of those articles can be credited to our new friend Bob Batz.  Thanks Bob.  You’re a rad guy.

Additionally:  I wanted to post our basic crust recipe because I was asked a while ago by a reader and I more or less put it off until now.  Also, it’s nice to have some transparency.  This is what is in the crust unless otherwise specified:

1 cup flour to 1 stick fat.  We usually use about 2/3rds butter to 1/3 lard.  For a ten inch single crust it is 1 1/2 cups flour to a stick of butter and a half stick of lard.  To get sticks of lard we quarter a pound block long-ways.  Double the measurements if you want a crust top.  If you use shortening you might want to slim it down a little because shortening has this way of sucking up more flour.  Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend using shortening at all, but I know a lot of people do because grandma did and that’s cool.  You’ll also need a little salt (about a tsp) and some sugar (2 tsp to a Tbl spoon depending on how sweet you want it.  Shoot, you could even add more).

Mixing it together is the key so pay attention to this part.  Keep the butter and lard cold in the fridge until you are ready to mix.  Mix the flour, salt and sugar and anything else you want in the crust (you could also add spices, herbs or coco here, but be sparing because this can mess up the consistency of the crust).  Cut the butter and lard and let it fall into the flour mixture.  Tumble the chunks around with your hand so that they all become coated in the flour mixture.  Then start to crumble the fat chunks lightly with your fingers.  Try not to smash it, but if it happens all is not lost.  Keep doing this until the largest chunks are the size of a raisin but most of the fat is broken into the flour.

Get some ice cold water (put ice cubes in it to make sure it’s ice cold) and pour that into the flour/fat mixture in small amounts, about a table spoon or two at a time.  Pull out the ice cubes if they fall out of the cup.  After pouring the water in, take a fork and stir in an inward spiral.  Stir as little as possible.  Repeat the processing of pouring in water and stirring.  Make sure to get the water to the bottom of the bowl and stir up the tiny crumbly bits.  Do this until the flour/fat mixture is fully incorporated in with the water and the dough is a little sticky but not wet.  If it feels too wet you can always just add a little flour.  You will be adding flour via the rolling surface later, anyway.  Form it all into a ball and put in between some parchment paper or in a covered bowl.  Put the whole thing in the fridge and let it rest for a little while – thirty minutes to overnight.

When you are ready, roll out the dough.  You can do this ahead of time and fold it with parchment paper or plastic wrap in between to store in the fridge.  You can also start your filling and roll out the dough while your filling cooks or rests.

You wanna flour your rolling surface well and then flour the dough as you roll to keep it from sticking to the surface.  Roll with consistent pressure and in a consistent pattern.  I like to do it in a sort of radial, going from the inside out and rotating like the hands of a clock.  Make sure the dough keeps a consistent thickness.   If it seems to be sticking, flour the side facing you and flip it with a spatula, dust with flour again and keep rolling.  You want to roll into a circle that is a little bit larger than your pie dish to account for the sloping sides.  Keep the pie pan nearby for comparison.  Roll out your top dough piece in the same fashion, if you’re using one.

When you’re done put the dough into the pan and put the filling in the dough and bake that sucker.  If you put a top piece on, you might want to egg wash it (I whisk a little milk with the egg in a bowl) so it’s nice and pretty.  Bake it until it’s golden brown.  If it’s not egg washed it wont brown as fast or as clearly, so be careful not to over cook the dough.  Unless you like crispy dough, then brown it up.  For fillings that don’t need to bake, or only bake a little, pre-bake the crust.  You can put beans or rice on a piece of parchment to weigh it down.  I’ve also heard that if you let the dough rest in the pan in a fridge that it keeps it from shrinking.

That’s about it for the pie dough recipe.  Feel free to post any questions or recommendations.

See you on Friday night,

Wren

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