Hey! So as I mentioned today on Instagram, I was not previously aware that there was a separate national pie day from the one on March 14th (I blame my love of puns/wordplay), so apologies for the hurried nature of this post. Regardless, pie is too much fun, not to mention delicious, to let my oversight stand in the way of celebrating such a momentous holiday. [I’m mostly joking]…
Pies & Tarts
It’s me, Zoë, again, writing to let you know about this new thing I’m doing over on Nom (ya know, that other place where I ramble about food/baking?): weekly series on recipes, mostly ones that are a bit on the complicated side and benefit from being broken down into segments. This week I’m revisiting an old favorite, crack pie! The post/recipe on the site can be found here, and the part one of the “series” can be found here (warning: it’s long, and I ramble, aka the usual) and today at 2:30pm EST is part two. Tune in on my nom channel, Baking Without Pants (yeah, same name) for the rest!
Yes, this is completely cliched to post about pie on National ∏ Day, but every year I never remember to actually do this in advance. Until this year, that is. I had planned a lovely strawberry rhubarb pie recipe to share today, and not just because the weather here in New York has everyone itching for it to be officially spring. Though I will admit it has put rhubarb on my mind, mostly I picked this recipe because it is easily my favorite fruit pie. The photos and recipe may be lacking (for the time being), but now that I’ve caught the bug, I can promise there will be a whole lot more of this in the BWP kitchen real soon.
Until then, enjoy!
If,by chance, you visit this site with any regularity, you might have noticed a bunch of the posts have been a bit lacking (read: completely void) of text. It’s not because I didn’t have something to say, because god knows I always do, but the jumble-y mess that was my mind this summer has made self-articulation something of a challenge….
If, upon reading the title of this post, that this tart sounds oddly familiar, you wouldn’t be wrong. I posted about turning it into bars a couple years back, and it’s been on my roster of easy fruit tarts ever since. I love it for so many reasons, the least of which include that it’s beyond easy to put together, wildly adaptable, and is delicious served either warmed or chilled….
Northern Ohio is known for having fairly erratic (often deemed bipolar) weather. It can be 30 degrees and overcast one day, 60 and sunny the next, and then snowing two days later. Especially with spring- last year I was wearing my winter coat until what seemed like the first days of May. However, this year I was pleasantly surprised when in early March we started having consistently sunny, warm weather.
Suddenly everyone was wearing open-toed shoes, biking around and drinking iced drinks. Immediately I began to yearn for the fresh produce found in summertime markets, and decided that waiting until July to make my favorite berry pie just wasn’t going to happen.
I have just returned from an amazing few days at Lake Kivu, which is the lake that borders between Western Rwanda and Eastern Congo. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been- the water is a teal-green you’d expect to find somewhere in the Caribbean, and you’re surrounded by mountains. I don’t have any pictures to show [yet] but what was almost as exciting as swimming (despite my irrational fear of marine life) was the FOOD. Basically, most of my meals in my homestay here have been some rice and a bit of salad- the meat here is funky to say the least, and I don’t eat beans. It’s not really that big of a deal, but the hotel we stayed at had veggies, pasta, fresh passion fruit, fresh-baked bread and CHEESE. Real cheese that melted- we even had something that resembled mac and cheese and it was glorious. Again, lacking photos right now, but I was so excited I took pictures of every meal.
Onto what I’m really thinking about: pie. It’s fall back in the States, and in New York/Oberlin that means my favorite weather, beautiful leaves, apples galore and, for me, the beginning of pie season!!! (Pause for cheers). Granted, pie season never really ends for me, but there is something special about baking a pie when the weather begins to cool down and the thought of turning on an oven doesn’t make you want to burst into flames.
As it happened, I returned today from paradise *weep* to see that my friend had messaged me asking for this pie recipe. So I figured why not share it with everyone! This is the pie that made me a pie-lover. Prior to baking this, I actually never cared for pie, finding the filling always too sweet and the crust unappealing, though in retrospect I believe it’s because I’d never had a truly great pie crust. I made this pie a year ago, with a frozen, pre-made pie crust (being without even a basic pie tin) for my photo class, and it was gone in 10 minutes. Since then, I have made this pie over ten times (it’s even gotten the thumbs-up from my chocoholic family) and many others as a result. The original recipe calls for a cup of chopped walnuts, which I do not care for in the least bit, so I usually compensate by adding an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chips. Also, anything you put in it will sink to the bottom, so if you want something to remain on the surface, like some chips, sprinkle them on top halfway through the baking time.
I’ve also learned (quite easily) to make pie crust from scratch. Yes, that word again- but it’s really not as difficult as it seems. Most people make them in food processors or with a pastry blender (my preference) or just two knives/a fork and, with a little practice, it’s super easy. I just watched a few how-to videos on YouTube and gave it a go. If you’re really opposed to it, pre-made pie crusts sold in stores work great too, though I find they often roll out a little short in the pan. If you have access to one, Trader Joes has a pretty fantastic frozen crust.
Lastly, do NOT underbake this pie- it is quite gooey when it is fully baked, so if you like things underdone like I do, fight that urge, because there’s no need in this recipe. I’d also recommend letting it cool for a good 20 minutes (30 if you can) for the pie to set. Enjoy!
Adapted from Very Best Baking
- 1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked (recipe below)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups (6-8oz) chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325 degress
2. Beat eggs until light yellow in color and/or foamy
3. Beat in sugars and flour, then butter
4. Stir in chips and/or nuts
5. Spoon into pie shell
6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes (if you know your oven runs hot, go for the lower amount; if it runs cool, go for 60-65)
Serve warm, with lightly sweetened whipped cream
Single 9” Pie Crust*
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold
- 1/2 cup water, ice cold
1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl
2. Remove butter from refrigerator only when you are ready to cut it in- this is especially important if your kitchen is warm
3. Blend butter into flour mixture until it resembles peas
4. Add water a couple of tablespoons at a time and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, until it is more or less formed together- you don’t necessarily need to use all the water
5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times until smooth- you don’t want to handle it very much, just until it’s all combined (visible pieces of butter are not bad!!)
6. Roll dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk (it will make for easier rolling) and wrap it up in plastic wrap, refrigerating for at least 30 minutes
*The Smitten Kitchen link is attached to the original recipe, which is for one double-crust 9” pie. It is also a very detailed tutorial with beautiful photos if you are new to pie crust making.