Friday, August 26, 2011

Pies!!! ~(^_^~) (Mostly Blueberry and Cherry)

So one thing that you guys should know about me is that pies, ARE, my favorite dessert (a trait that President Barack Obama and I share!)…of all time. Period. No debate or discussion. Although that might be true it has taken me up till now to get my act together and make a vegan pie \(@_@\) (I know...an atrocity!). So to make up for the serious lack of pie in my life I decided to make two, one blueberry and one tart cherry pie. I also tried to make this entry as generic as possible, so that you can use these instructions and suggestions to make other pies! Well let’s stop wasting time and make some FUCKING PIES!!!!!! and eating them afterwards! the spoils of your hard labor! ~(^o^~)
Good ol' Ammerry-can (Blueberry) Pie~!


Ingredients (Crust):
  • ¾ cup vegan shortening (I used Earth balance) this turn out to be about 3 sticks of shortening
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 to 2 tbsp of sugar (this is optional)
  • Cinnamon (to taste)
  • 6 to 10 tbsp of ice water
Ingredients (filling):
  • At least 4 cups of blueberries/tart cherries/apples/peaches (whatever fruit your putting in your pie!)
  • ½ to 1 cup sugar (I would use ½ cup for the blueberries and the cup for the tart cherries, or even more @_@)
  • ½ to ¾ cup of corn starch. Depending on how much liquid your filling starts out with (the tart cherries and peaches could have a lot of liquid, while blueberries and apples could be less so). Also, if there is not much liquid in your fruit mixture you might want to add in a mixture of cornstarch and water, and would no add more than 1/3 cup of water.
  • ½ to 1 tbsp of vanilla
  • A tsp or two of your favorite extracts! Here is where you can get creative! Though be careful and try not to get carried away (haha which has totally happened to me before)!
Instructions:
This is what you have to look forward to! So get baking!
Start with preparing your crust. First, cube your shortening or butter on to a ceramic plate and place this in the freezer (the ceramic plate will help get things colder faster). Then in a ceramic or metal mixing bowl put in your flour (and if you added sugar mix the flour and sugar) and put that in the freezer as well. A metal or ceramic bowl will help get the flour cold, and will keep it cold when mixing the butter/shortening. If you have a large enough food processor, this can make the process a little easier though I prefer to do things manually since it can be easy to overdo things with a machine. If you do decide to take the non-amish route put your flour into your processor and put the entire containing portion of the processor into the freezer. The food processor make things a lot easier (though you’ll have to be careful, I’ll elaborate later). Keep these items in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, if you go over, don’t worry everything will be fine :^D. After this get 3 to 10 tbsp of water and put it in a small bowl and put it in the fridge for the same amount of time your shortening and flour are in the freezer.

If you’ve decided to do things manually put the cubes of shorten/butter into your flour and start mashing them into the flour with a fork (or if you’re really fancy a pastry knife!) until you have what look like little slivers of butter well coated with flour. This will take a while so if you’re doing this manually your arm will get tired! But that’s ok! Your just burning calories so you can eat more pieces of pie later! If you’ve decided to go the food processor route, pulse the mixture until you have what look like little butter/shortening balls well coated with flour. Once you've reached this point carefully sprinkle your ice water (well first take it out of the fridge!) a little at a time working it into the pastry with your hands. This is where you have to be extra careful to not add too much water. You'll want to add just enough to bring the dough together so that it is a more or less uniform piece of dough, but not to the point where the dough sticks to your fingers! Knead the dough 3 to 5 times, but not too much or else your dough will not be flakey when baked! Form it into two balls, wrap them in elastic wrap, and set it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
The Mighty Pastry Dough of POWER! ~(@_@~)
Now! We can move on to the nummy in-ards of the pie—the filling!!! *\(^_^*\)
Pour your fruit into a medium sized mixing bowl. If your fruit is frozen I would wait about 30 minutes to an hour for it to thaw. Dump all your filling ingredients into the bowl and mix well…and maybe…just maybe…taste test…if you’re so inclined…If the fruit you’re using has seeds or stems I recommend (highly recommend!) taking them off/out, the last thing you want is biting down on a hard cherry seed or fishing blue berry stems out of your mouth @_@. Also, keep an eye out on how much liquid is in your filling, we don’t want the crust getting to soggy when baking and/or our pie to erupt in the oven in a fantastic explosion of juices (though it’s fun to see (~^_^)~).
Pie guts, unlike animal guts, look so much more tasty!
After an hour has elapsed you can take your dough out of the fridge. Unwrap it and place one of the balls of dough on a piece of saran wrap (doesn’t have to be a new piece). With your hand carefully squish the ball down so that it’s a nice thick disc. But don’t squish too hard or too much in one go or else you’ll crack/split the edges and that’ll be hard to get a nice uniform flat crust. Place a new piece of saran wrap over the top of or thick disc of dough, this will prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin.

Now take a rolling pin (if you don’t have a rolling pin you can use a bottle!) roll the dough out into an even thinner disc about an 1/8 of an inch thick. When you’re rolling start from the center of the dough and roll out, this will prevent the edges from splitting (my grandmother taught me this!). Now get a pie tin! (if you don’t have one I suggest you go get one…NOW…well a oven safe pan might work…). Peel off a layer of saran wrap from your newly flattened dough and carefully place the rolled dough over your baking apparatus and push it in making sure the dough is sitting nicely in the tin/pan. Oh ya! Make sure the saran wrapped side is facing up! Because you’ll need to peel this off! And now with all the saran wrap off take a small knife and run it around the edge of your baking apparatus cutting off the access dough. I wouldn’t throw away this access dough either. Roll it into a nice uniform ball and set it aside! You can potentially use it to make cool designs to decorate your pie!

Next, take your filling and pour (or dump! Haha, up to you on your preference of verb!) it into your dough lined pie tin, making sure that it’s spread evenly. Now, with your second ball of pastry dough do the same thing that you did with the dough lining the pie tin. Once you have a nice thin sheet of dough, peel off the saran wrap from one side and cover the top of your topless pie. Gently push the two sheets of dough together (the dough lining the pie tin and the dough covering the top). Then take a knife and cut off the excess dough hanging over the edge. Take a fork, measure ¼ to ½ inch from the edge of the pie, and press down the edges of your pie, going all the way around; this will ensure a nice seal around the edge of the pie!
Your pie is almost done and this is where you can have fun (not to say that you’re not already having fun making pie)!
I want to eat it now! but I must wait...and be patient!
With your excess dough you can roll it out in to thin sheets and cut out designs to place on your pie. Cookie cutters work really well here. If you want to be more fancy you can use a paring knife to cut out fancy shapes  to put on your pie!
A pretty pie for a pretty summer day!
The designs that you see on my pie were made using a cookie cutter and a paring knife; in fact to make the flower petals I used wing portion of a butterfly cookie cutter! So the sky is the limit with what you can put on your pie!

One important thing that you can’t forget is to cut slits into the top of your pie so that pressure build up from steam doesn’t make your pie explode into volcano of fruit juices \(@o@\)! Sometimes juices will leak out of these slits so you can also use the placement of these slits to color different aspects of your pie! I tried to do so with the blueberry pie (unfortunately, it did not work out that way in the end)!

So after blabbing at you for several paragraphs I’ve discovered that I’ve forgotten to tell you to preheat your oven…haha…so preheat your oven to about 375o to 400o F. Once, the oven is up to temperature, stick it in for 35 to 45 minutes. You’ll know the pie is ready when the juices either start bubbling out of the top or the crust starts to turn a nice golden brown!
The baked product! (no it's not high...you stoner)
When your pie is done, take it out and let it cool for about 30 minutes or so and eat! (just eat! There is no need to cut a slice! Pie in general is just to tasty to waste time with cutting slices!)
Happy Eating! ~(^_^~)
Good Appetite! (we speak English in Amur-ica!)

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