Baking on the weekends is a great way to relax, and take the stress of work out on some dough. Also, a great way to get some sweets made for snacks during the week. I’ve mentioned before how much I love pie, and while National Pie Day is actually in January, March 14th is “pi” day (a little nerdy? yes, but there’s dessert involved!) so I’ve got it on my mind this month.
Homemade pies are among my favourite dishes – they aren’t incredibly challenging to make, but certainly have an “I slaved all day in the kitchen for this” feel to them when you serve them to friends or bring them to a get together. If I have time, I always make the dough from scratch, but store-bought does the trick enough – it’s really all in the filling and presentation.
The best part about pies? Sweet or savoury, there are endless options for filling and you can experiment with what you want to include with minimal fear of it tasting off. How else do you think something like strawberry-rhubarb came to be?
A few months ago, I took a chance with a more unique pie recipe that was a huge hit. In case you’re feeling homey this winter weekend, here’s how you can make this fabulous Grape and Apple Pie:
Lattice Crust (while I’m partial to the lattice, you can make any kind of crust design – the one at Epicurious is an awesome way to frame the pie):
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening, frozen, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons (or more) ice water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add shortening and butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to bowl. Mix 6 tablespoons ice water and vinegar in small bowl; pour over flour mixture. Stir with fork until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into 2 balls; flatten each into disk. Wrap each in plastic and chill 30 minutes.
- 3 pounds tart, crisp apples (I used Granny Smith), peeled, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
- 1 pound red or black grapes, halved, seeded if needed
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Mix apples, grapes, sugar, and flour in a large saucepan; stir to coat. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until fruit is translucent and juices are thickened, 30-40 minutes. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer fruit to crust. Remove remaining dough from refrigerator. Using a decorative cutter, make a pattern in center of dough, leaving a 2″ plain border; reserve cutouts. Invert dough over fruit in crust; peel off parchment paper. Trim dough along edge of crust, leaving no overhang. Arrange reserved dough cutouts decoratively over top crust, pressing lightly to adhere. Place pie on a baking sheet.
Bake pie until crust is golden brown and juices bubble, 50 minutes-1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.