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Apricot Galette

Apricot Galette

My first restaurant job was making sandwiches and salads at a small cafe that served healthy, seasonal and really delicious food.  A few times a week the pastry chefs from the main restaurant would deliver baked goods to fill the large pastry case at the front of the cafe. While making sandwiches and salads wasn’t all that exciting, I always looked forward to the pastry delivery.

The pastry case was full of customer-favorites such as chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel cupcakes, but I was most excited by the mixed berry galettes that were nearly the size of my head. Ripe berries were stewed to a thick, jammy consistency and wrapped up into an envelope by golden brown pastry crust spinkled with coarse sugar crystals.

While these were by far the most delicious and beautiful item in the pastry case, the intimidating size and tough competition meant they were not a best seller. I rarely made it out of a shift without buying something from the pastry case, but the best days were the ones where I got to take home a galette that did not sell.

Apricot Galette

Unfortunately the cafe was short-lived and is no longer in existence. I often crave the food we served and find myself thinking about the pastries.  I picked up some apricots at the market last week without knowing what I was going to do with them. On my drive home I passed the former space of the cafe and knew immediately where those apricots were headed – straight into an apricot galette.

Apricot Galette

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All Butter Pie Crust – Part 2: How to Roll Out Pie Dough

All Butter Pie Crust - How to Roll Out Pie Dough

Last week I shared (nearly) everything I know about mixing pie dough for an all butter pie crust and now it’s time to talk about the next step – how to roll out pie dough.

There is one overarching theme in every aspect of pie baking: the importance of practice. The best way to learn how to roll out pie dough is to practice. However, most of us do not have the time to bake pies every day so I have put together all of my best tricks and tips to help you succeed when the opportunity to roll out pie dough comes along.

All Butter Pie Crust - How to Roll Out Pie Dough

The other thing to remember is that no pie will ever be perfect and it shouldn’t be. It’s okay if your dough does not roll out into a perfect circle, if part of your crimp unravels, or if a small portion of your dough shrinks and slumps down. Once you slice the pie, no one will ever know. Trust me, I’ve served plenty of imperfect pies and have never once heard a complaint.

All Butter Pie Crust - How to Roll Out Pie Dough

So, let’s continue getting of the fear of making pie dough at home and start learning how to roll out pie dough. Here we go…

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All Butter Pie Crust – Part 1: Mixing the Dough

All Butter Pie Crust

My absolute favorite thing to bake is pie crust. I’ve always had a love for pie, but making pie dough did not come easily for me.  I can remember several Thanksgiving and Christmas pie baking attempts that resulted in burnt edges, crusts slumped and shrunk in the pan, a broken food processor, a major burn on my arm, and last-minute runs to buy pre-made pie crust from the grocery store. I never gave up, but after the first few meltdowns my neighbor Chris started stocking extra pre-made pie crusts in her freezer to give to me when mine turned into disaster.

I finally decided it was time to get over my pie crust issues and my mom and I took the Pies A Plenty class at Zingerman’s Bake! in Ann Arbor. This class taught me a lot about the science and technique behind pie dough and gave me the confidence to keep trying to make pie crust.

All Butter Pie Crust

While I learned a lot from the class at Zingerman’s, the key to my success has been practice. Since last summer, I’ve made at least 100 pies and stuck to the same basic all butter pie crust recipe each time. I’ve taken the standard pie dough recipe that was given to me at the Zingerman’s class and made it my own. Using the same techniques and ratio of ingredients has allowed me to become familiar with the dough, learn its characteristics and tendencies, and troubleshoot when things get a little messy. I’ve gone from countless crust disasters to becoming a pie baker who is known for her great crust.

Pie crust can evoke fear in even the most experienced bakers and cooks. I’m here to tell you that it is time to get over that fear. Homemade pie crust is just too good and if you like to bake, it should be in your arsenal. I’ve made it my mission to learn about pie crust over the last year and now I want to share my pie dough knowledge and encourage people to make pie dough at home.

Once you start making pie crust from scratch, you will never go back to the store bought stuff. The homemade version has so much more flavor, better ingredients, and a more tender, flakier texture. I won’t lie and tell you that making pie crust is easy. It takes patience, practice, and confidence. But, once you give it a try, you’ll find it’s a fun challenge and your crust-making abilities improve with every single pie.

All Butter Pie Crust

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing quite a few pie recipes on this site. Next month, I am teaching a pie crust class at Cooks’Wares and I am currently getting prepared by developing a few new recipes and fine-tuning some of my favorites. I will be posting them here as I go.

Today, we will start by talking about mixing the dough.  I’ve put together a step-by-step photo tutorial of every step in the dough mixing process and later this week we will go over how to roll out pie dough.

I hope the photos and details help to explain the accompanying recipe and I am always here to answer questions and help troubleshoot via the comments below, Facebook, or email.

All Butter Pie Crust

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