Last Thursday evening I taught my first cooking class called “It’s All About the Pie Crust” at Cooks’Wares in Mongtomery, Ohio.
I was nervous in the days leading up the the class. Having never taught a cooking class before, I was not sure what to expect. I feared losing track of time, worried about forgetting ingredients, and was scared I would run out of things to say (which has never been an issue for me!).
Luckily, the class went well, even better than I expected. Time did move quickly and I did forget one ingredient but I never ran out of things to say. What I didn’t expect was how much fun I had. I couldn’t have asked for a better group for my first class. The students were engaged, asked questions, and filled the room with a positive energy. It was rewarding to see how excited everyone was when they rolled the dough out and fitted into their pie plates successfully. Several students said they had never had much luck with pie and the class gave them the confidence to try baking pies at home.
Originally, I had planned on making a double crust peach pie in the class and having each student make a mini version to take home. In the days leading up to the class, I had a hard time finding nice peaches, and honestly, became intimidated by the thought of blanching, peeling, and slicing peaches for 16 pies by myself.
I made a last minute decision and ended up choosing a mix of blueberries and peaches for the pie and I’m happy I did. The color of this pie is beautiful and the blueberries add a nice tartness to balance the sweet peaches.
Before starting this recipe, it’s wise to refresh your memory and look over these pie dough tutorials:
Here are a few other tips:
– When mixing the filling, use your hands to smash some of the blueberries. This releases juices and creates a jammy consistency which is more satisfying than biting into a pie with loose whole berries.
– Be sure to taste the filling before adding it to the pie. Depending on the ripeness of the fruit, you may wish to add a bit more sugar.
– Before adding the filling, sprinkle the bottom crust with 1 teaspoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of sugar. This helps thicken some of the fruit juices and keeps the bottom crust crisp.
– After adding the filling, dot the fruit filling with some softened butter.
– If you would like, use a small cutter to decoratively cut shapes out of the top crust. If you do not wish to use a cutter, simply add a few vents to the top crust before baking.
– Chill the pie for about an hour before baking.
– Before baking, generously brush the crust and edges with egg wash and sprinkle them with crunchy sugar.
– Bake the pie to a deep golden brown. This can take over an hour so try not to get impatient towards the end. A deep golden brown crust tastes and looks better than a pale one.
The recipe below may look a bit long but please don’t be intimidated. It may be a lot of steps but none of them are hard. You could also break the work up over a few days. Here’s the general work flow for this pie:
– mix the dough for the crust and chill the dough (this step can be done up to three days in advance)
– roll out the bottom dough and fit to the pie plate (this can be done a day or two in advance)
– mix the filling, add it to the pie, and dot the top with butter
– roll out the top crust and fit it to the top of the pie
– crimp the edges and chill the pie (you can get the pie to this point and then refrigerate it for a day before baking)
– egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, bake
– let cool and enjoy!