It’s pie time. Time to pull out those old family recipes–or even peruse a cooking magazine for a new favorite–and create a wondrous fruit, cream or pumpkin pie.
While some of us will immediately go to the baking aisle or the frozen section of Kroger to look for a pre-made graham cracker or “you bake it” pie crust, some of us brave souls will attempt to make our very own crust.
For those making the ever-important crust from scratch, here are two key tips from former bakery owner and current (in the Village) manager Vicky Valente, who is also a resident of the City of Grosse Pointe.
Valente used to own Machus Bakery in Bloomfield Hills and knows all about baking for a certain taste and preference. Her personal preference for pie crust is flaky instead of chewy.
“I absolutely love flaky pie crust,” Valente said. “I have two tips for this. First, always use iced, chilled water. If the recipe calls for two tablespoons of cold water, don’t just use the water right out of the tap. Use water that has ice cubes in it.”
The second tip sounds nearly counterintuitive. Instead of using the rich, savory element of butter, Valente uses plain old Crisco. And, no, she doesn’t ever substitute with butter flavored shortening.
“When you use shortening, it helps to make the crust flaky,” she said. “Without the grease and oils you’re going to get a crust that tastes like a butter cookie. I usually do half and half. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of shortening or butter, I use ½ cup of each.”
Not that there is anything wrong with butter cookies, but when you bite into that fresh apple pie, or that smooth pumpkin pie, you want the crust to be a textural addition, light on flavor, instead of crust that runs the risk of overpowering the flavor of the filling.
Now don those smocks, get out the flour and rolling pins and let’s all get baking.
And if you have a great holiday pie recipe, we’d love it if you would share it with the entire Grosse Pointe Patch community. Simply add a comment to this story, or send an email to the author, firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to sharing your classic dessert recipe–and trying it for ourselves!