We were so pleased to host a Pie-Off this past Monday. Check out this week's paper for results.
And, we are pleased to present some baking tips from Elise Hurley, the very fine baker at the very fine Fearless Baking.
At Fearless we like to use a mixture of chopped pecans and whole pecans. Before mixing the nuts in with the egg/sugar mixture we toast them on a sheet tray at 350F for 10 min (with rotation). This really helps to bring out the beautiful pecan flavor. We use a mixture of chopped pecans and whole pecans because we prefer the mouthfeel of the chopped (much more manageable) but the eye appeal of the whole pieces on top of the pie. It is so important to bake these pies low and slow (around 275F depending on the recipe) to ensure even baking. Quick Tip: To reduce baking time, prebake the pie crust before filling.
Whatever recipe you choose to use, always use COLD butter, COLD shortening and ICE water. We pre-chunk and freeze our fats the night before. Then it is just dump and do. You want to leave some chunks of butter and shortening throughout the dough to get that flakey, melt in your mouth pie crust. DO NOT overwork your dough. Roll it, shape it, leave it.
Egg Yolk + Heavy Cream or Milk - Golden crust with sheen (thank you milk proteins)
Egg Yolk + Water (1 tbsp) - Sheen but not quite as brown as when you use milk.
At Fearless we prefer to use Granny Smith or HoneyCrisp or Crispen. These are all crisp apples that hold up some texture against baking. We use a great apple peeler/corer http://www.amazon.com/Industries-5920-Apple-Peeler-Slicer/dp/B001A6E91E to make sure our slices are consistent in size and to move the production along! With any fruit pie, a squeeze of lemon juice will help brighter the flavors and a cold tablespoon of butter in the filling before baking will take it to the next level.