Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Favorite Pie Crust Recipe, a Homemade Lattice Top Crust and Fixed-Up Mincemeat Pie Filling (or filling of your choice...)

Wow, I think this is the longest blog title I have ever had!  But there is a lot to cover in this post today. :)

Since you all don't seem to mind me still blathering on about Thanksgiving, I wanted to share this recipe.  I always make a mincemeat pie for Thanksgiving, even though my dad and I are really the only ones who like to eat it (and no, the mincemeat filling is not from scratch - I cheat and fix up a jar of mincemeat filling!).  For this last Thanksgiving, I decided to make a lattice top mincemeat pie.  I thought I would share a brief tutorial on how to make a homemade lattice top pie - you don't have to use a mincemeat filling, any fruit pie filling would work great - cherry, apple, blueberry, raspberry, gooseberry, strawberry, mixed berry, ect....





We start by rolling out a bottom crust.  I love my pastry board and having a rolling pin sock.  In this post, I included my favorite pie crust recipe that I always turn to - it is so easy to work with and tastes delicious.




The bottom crust safely in the pie plate (confession: I always hold my breath during the transfer).




Then, add the filling.  As I said earlier, I used mincemeat filling this time but you could use any fruit filling you wish.




Next, roll out another piece of pie dough - it doesn't have to perfectly round - this will be cut into 1/2 inch-ish strips for the lattice top.




Start by laying out a few strips across the top of the pie filling.




Gently folding strips, begin to make your woven pattern. 




As you can see, it will begin to come together like you could imagine a woven blanket, basket or rug forming. 




Now, just continue adding strips to each side and gently work the pattern out. 




To get into more detail: I fold back every other strip;




Lay a new strip across;




And gently lay the folded strips across the new strip - 




until the lattice top is woven across the entire top of the pie.  As I am looking at this photo, I think I may have made the lattice pattern a little too tight.  Weave it however it looks nice to you - tighter or looser!  But I think I will make the next one looser.




Next, start to fold up the extra dough around the edges, catching each little lattice piece.  If the lattice pieces are too long, just trim them with a little knife or (my favorite) clean kitchen scissors. 




Until all the edges are roughly pinched around the whole crust.




Then, use the dough on the outside to flute the pie however you wish.





Tada!  A lattice top pie!




I brush the top of my pie with an egg wash.




While I was using a pastry brush to try to get into each nook and cranny of the lattice top, I had a brilliant idea: why not use a little kitchen spray bottle to evenly spray on the egg wash?  I tried it, and unfortunately the egg was too thick to go through the spray nozzle, so I just got big blooches of egg wash here and there.  Oh, well, I will keep trying to think of a better way!




Then, for a little bit of a textural contrast, I decided to sprinkle the egg wash with a bit of raw turbinado sugar.



Just about ready for the oven!





The final piece: with the silicone pie crust shield (I love this silicone ring!) in place, the pie is ready to go into the oven.




And, after about an hour, out it comes, looking golden and beautiful.





Lattice Top Mincemeat Pie

For Filling, if you want a mincemeat pie (or fruit filling of your choice)
  • 1 jar mincemeat pie filling
  • 2 chopped granny smith apples
  • 1/2 to 1 cup golden raisins
  • sprinkling ground ginger
  • sprinkling ground cinnamon
 For Homemade Pie Crust:
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons ice water
For Egg Wash, if desired:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • sprinkle of turbinado sugar

If you choose to do the mincemeat filling, mix jar of mincemeat and other filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Otherwise, prepare your other filling. 

If you choose to make your pie dough from scratch (which I would recommend), cut together all the crust ingredients - except the ice water - with a pastry blender (or pulse the ingredients in your food processor).  Sprinkle with about the ice water and toss together or pulse a few more times.  If the dough looks a bit crumbly and too dry, add a tiny bit more water, and if it look too wet, sprinkle on a bit of flour.  Pat into two discs and it is ready to roll out for crusts.  This pie crust recipe makes a great, easy to work with dough that is my go-to pie crust recipe for all pies. 

To work on making the pie, on a lightly floured surface, roll out half of your pie dough or one of the discs and line your pie dish with it. The dough should extend beyond the rim of the pie dish by about an inch. Put it in the refrigerator to chill while you work on the lattice.  I have found it is easier to work with un-chilled pie dough, then chill it when it is in the pie plate.  But please do it however it works best for you!

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the other pie dough disc the same as the first one, though I don't worry as much about getting it perfectly round this time around.

Cut the dough into even strips, 1/2-inch-ish wide, depending on how thick you want your lattice strips. You can use a blunt knife with or without a ruler or straight edge to guide you, or you can use a pizza wheel or a pastry wheel if you have one - I love to use my pizza wheel and a ruler. 

Fill the bottom pie shell (that has been chilling) with the pie filling of choice.  Lay out 3 to 6 parallel strips of the pie dough, depending on how thick your strips are, on top of the filling.   As you can tell from these photos, I didn't leave much space in between each strip.  Next time, I will try to leave about 1/2-inch space between them. Fold back every other strip.

Place one long strip of dough perpendicular to the parallel strips as shown. Unfold the folded strips over the perpendicular strip.

Now take the parallel strips that are running underneath the perpendicular strip and fold them back over the perpendicular strip, as shown. Lay down a second perpendicular strip of dough next to the first strip, with some space between the strips. Unfold the folded parallel strips over the second strip.  This probably sounds confusing to read, but just scroll back up and check out the photos.  Or drop me a line and I will help you as much as I can!

Continue this process until the weaving is complete over the top of the pie.

Trim the edges of the strips flush with the dough of the underlying pie dish, which should be about half an inch over the sides. Fold back the rim of the shell over the edge of the lattice strips, and crimp to secure.

Brush the top with an egg wash (if desired) and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired.  Place a crust shield around rim of pie, or wrap strips of tin foil around edge of pie.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until lightly golden brown. 

Enjoy warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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