We are happy to welcome back Kate McDermott as a guest blogger this week. Kate is the creator and founder of Art of the Pie. Since 2006 she has taught the time-honored craft of pie making to thousands. One of the most highly sought-after culinary instructors in the North America, Kate is widely acknowledged as one of the best makers of pie ever. Named “Food Rock Star” by Seattle Magazine, Kate has given her Art of the Pie workshop to food luminaries and has received high praise from Ruth Reichl (former editor of “Gourmet”), Dorie Greenspan, Gluten Free Girl (Shauna Ahern) and many others. In 2008 her pie was featured in “Saveur” Magazine’s Top 100 Issue and appeared on the cover. She has been written about in numerous books, magazines & blogs by award-winning authors. Always friendly, fun, and down-to-earth, Kate, a practitioner of kindness, aspires to pass on the craft of pie-making to as many as she can.
It’s high summer right now and that means one thing, it’s “Make-a-Pie-to-Share” Season!
Right now I’m making pies with as many berries as I can pick, or find at my local farmers markets and even receive as hints from friends and neighbors that they would love a piece. Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, dewberry, Loganberry, Marionberry and mixed berry, they can all go into your pie pan and make a delicious treat to share.
Here are the steps that I take:
- The first step to make a great pie is to start with the most flavorful fruit you can find. Into the pie pan it goes to be measured. Fill it about ½ inch from the rim. It can poke up here or there so don’t worry about being exact. Gently turn the fruit into a medium-size mixing bowl.
- With fruit in the bowl, add some sugar but not too much. You want to still taste the flavor of summer. Try ¾ -1 cup. You’ll taste it later and add more if you like.
- Keep it simple with the seasoning. A grating of nutmeg. Adding a liquor can be a nice touch—about 1 oz will do which is about a shot glass full. If you like a squeeze of lemon or the zest of a lemon or orange, now would be the time to put that in, too.
- Next you’ll need thickener. Tapioca starch is fine and it will keep your fruit shiny and bright. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup for really juicy fruit. Thickening with all-purpose flour works, too. About ⅓ of a cup for a nine-inch pie pan but if it’s a really big pan add more.
- Mix it all together and taste. If it needs more sugar or seasoning then put some more in. Stir again lightly and taste with your spoon.
- Now roll out your pie dough and place in your pan. (Visit the Art of the Pie page for great dough recipes and instructions.) Pour the filling in next and dot with Kerrygold butter the best in the land! How much? A knob is what it used to be called. It’s about a tablespoon more or less. Kerrygold butter adds even more flavor to your filling.
- Roll out your upper crust and gently place it on top and seal the edge. Now crimp the edge in whatever way you like best. It can be a fancy flute or a simple fork crimp. With a knife make a few vents on the top to let the steam out. Brush lightly with a bit of egg white wash (1 tablespoon water and egg white fork beaten). Let it chill in the fridge while you preheat the oven. While you are waiting you can clean off your counters and rinse out your bowl.
- Bake it at 425F for 20 minutes then turn down to 375F for another 35-40. Halfway through baking spin your pie around so that the back comes to front and front to the back. When you see steady bubbles, it’s ready and baked!
- Let sit on the counter and cool about 2-3 hours in the pie pan…if you can!
Kate McDermott / artofthepie.com