Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pastry Fruit Pie Disaster

Baking really isn't my gig, but I saw this recipe in 'The Pastry Queen', the one I got the stellar muffins from, and HAD to check these out. When you see the picture in the cook book they look just like the Hostess kind that are 500 calories a pop. I was pumped because I had the intention of baking, not frying them and making them healthy! I am sure it would have turned out FABULOUS at the hands of a better baker.

I scored some Mount Rainier cherries in the hopes of making these killer pies. They were sweet, succulent and juicy...it makes my mouth water to even think about them now. The recipe says to combine the fruit with their preserves to make the filling. That kinda sounded barf to me so I decided to branch out and make my own filling. Interestingly, that wasn't what turned this incident into a tragedy. I combined 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar and added the cherries. I cooked until a thin sauce was created and added 1 tablespoon of corn starch to thicken it up a little.

Destructive Part:
The dough. I have NEVER been good at making pastry dough. It always ends up being thicker and not as malleable as I would like. But that doesn't even describe this dough. I followed the recipe to the tee. I even used ice cold water and extra cold butter...not frozen, but cold. Right from the outset the dough was tough like I had worked it too much. I went through the motions any way because I secretly hoped they would turn out the yummiest fruit pies ever. They didn't. The filling ROCKED, but the dough was chewy and tasted of raw flour. Alex made the glaze and even that turned out fabulous. They look spectacular and cute...but that damn dough!

After further discussion on this recipe I was told that I should have used crisco instead of butter. I am pretty certain these would have been a little different if I had fried them...but I couldn't stomach the idea of fried fruit pies. If I had wanted fried fruit pies I would have gone to the Hostess store and stocked up.

I am including the recipe as it is in the cook book so you can tell me out it works for you.

Fourth of July Fried Pies:
Blue Berry, Peach and Cherry Fillings
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 cup blueberry preserves
2 white peaches, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch dice
1/4 cup peach preserves
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup cherry preserves

(Damn) Dough:
6 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups ice water
Safflower oil, for deep frying

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the fruit fillings: In 3 separate bowls, combine the blueberries with their matching preserves, the peaches with theirs and the cherries with theirs.

To make the (damn) dough: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles corn meal. add the ice water and gently form the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into thirds (each ball should be about the size of an orange). Sprinkle a think layer of flour on a pastry board or other flat surface. Roll out each portion of dough to 1/16-inch thickness; a little thicker than a tortilla. Cut out dough circles with a 5-inch-diameter cutter. Each ball of dough should make 4 rounds. Put 1 tablespoon of 1 filling flavor in the center of each dough round. Fold the dough rounds in half; wet your fingers and press to seal the edges with water. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.

To fry the pies, pour about 3 inches of safflower oil into a deep frying pan and set it over medium high heat. The oil is hot enough when a scrap of dough dropped in the pan sizzles and bubbles. Fry the pies on paper towels.

To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Using a pastry brush, glaze the warm pies. Serve immediately.

For baked pies:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat 1 egg with 2 tablespoons water. Brush the top of each pie with the egg wash. Bake them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet for about 12 minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. these are best if served warm and best eaten on the same day they are made.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Do you have a food processor? That could help with the dough issue. (the butter stays colder when you don't have to touch it with your hands). You know, my mom is the master of pie dough... maybe we could all bake something together while I'm out there visiting...