Deep in Pie-land

Warning:  I’m about to bombard you with pie photos.  I promise recipes will follow after this weekend.

It seems cruelly absurd that on the days approaching the 6th annual KCRW Good Food Pie Contest, of which I am a first time participant and therefore making pies and having the oven on round the clock, we are experiencing a heat blast in Los Angeles.  Although we do not have central air, my husband and I do have a detachable air conditioning unit that has been moping around in our garage since we got married 5 years ago, but neither of us have been motivated to unearth it and place it in one of our windows — not only does it look ugly but it’s cumbersome and heavy, and I suppose we’re lazy.  I am thinking it would live more happily at our mother-in-law apartment’s renter’s place — after all she is upstairs where the heat rises, and she is nearly 90 years old and does not likely weather the heat extremes as well as us middle agers,  so why not?  In the meantime, I’ve got my Turbo Vornado firing up, the tunes blasting and cold showers at the ready if I need, the combination of which will see me through to the finish line on Sunday October 5.  I’ll need to make a total of 4 more pies, 2 for each category I’ve entered (savory and fruit), because one pie goes to the judges and the other goes to the public.

These past few weeks in preparation for the contest, I have been toying around with different crust recipes and have settled on the most wonderful recipe (and all-hand technique) from award-winning pie maker Allison Kave, that includes flour, butter, sugar, salt, cornstarch, whole milk and apple cider vinegar.  I absolutely love it.  It’s got a slight tang and it’s super tender and rich tasting.  That’s for the savory category (my pork pie); for the fruit I settled on Zoe Nathan’s recipe that uses about twice the butter as I’ve ever seen anywhere.  On the way to arriving at these crusts, I made a single/whole apple dumpling, a ginormous double crusted apple pie, a strawberry rhubarb pie, a beer braised pork and cabbage pie, a few mini pearl onion/garlic/quail egg tartlets, and a plum/pluot gallette.  Let’s take a look while visiting with each other at this week’s Fiesta Friday.

apple individual (1 of 1)

Single Apple Dumpling — made with my standard butter/flour/ice water crust

apple individual 2 (1 of 1)

The filling disintegrated into apple sauce — delicious

apple individual overboard (1 of 1)

Dumpling overboard!

Apple (1 of 6)

Apple Pie made with honeycrisps, fujis, granny smiths, and pink pearls — crust made using whole milk and apple cider vinegar

If you’re wondering about the gorgeous board here, it is handmade, from the amazing Michael’s Woodcraft.  I have been using this lovely gift from Suzanne and Michael every day.

Apple (5 of 6)

Apple 2 (1 of 7)

Apple 2 (5 of 7)

Rhubarb (5 of 6)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie in a super deep dish using single water/flour/butter crust with higher flour content and crumble topping

Rhubarb (6 of 6)

This sucker weighed over 6 pounds! Notice the jaundiced tint to the photo . . . as it was done at around 6 in the morning with little natural light!

Rhubarb 2 (1 of 1)

In homage to the only fella I know right now who loves all things porcine as much as me, the next pie will be submitted and named after Mr. Fitz:

Pork (1 of 3)

Ultimate savory pork pie made with crust involving less sugar, whole milk/apple cider vinegar, and a salted egg wash

Pork (3 of 3)

Savory Flaky Crust (1 of 1)

Miniature tartlets made with scraps from a savory crust that used a pinch of cornmeal, gruyere and parmesan.

Savory Flaky Crust 2 (1 of 1)

Quail egg tartlets — the perfect finger food!

Savory Flaky Crust 3 (1 of 1)

For the pluot gallette I used Zoe Nathan’s flaky pie dough that used . . . like . . . twice the amount of butter as the already butter-rich Allison Kave’s recipe . . . and cooked it longer than I thought I should because Zoe says “color is a flavor.”  It was unparalleled.  I thought it would taste burnt or crumbly but instead it was just flaky and wonderful.

Whole Wheat Flaky Crust (2 of 12)

Pluot and Rosh Hashana Crabapples Gallette with labneh and macron

Whole Wheat Flaky Crust (6 of 12)

I don’t know the intended use of this prop but the gallette was heavy duty delicious!

Whole Wheat Flaky Crust (4 of 12)

Whole Wheat Flaky Crust (8 of 12)

Whole Wheat Flaky Crust (11 of 12)

I’m really looking forward to carting my pies over to UCLA for the contest this weekend and meeting other fellow pie bakers and eaters.  I’ll keep you posted and have a wonderful weekend!

42 Comments on “Deep in Pie-land

  1. Thanks for a gorgeous display of baked goods. Wonderful barbell prop – really makes a statement. Everything looks so tasty – I’m sure the judges will be impressed. Best of luck to you, and look forward to seeing the actual recipes.

    • Trust me Josette, you can wait! Put your feet up, have a drink and let somebody else cook for you . . . that apple pie took me hours just to prepare the apples . . all that peeling! And I have 2 more to do before Sunday! But thank you for the compliments!

  2. Birgerbird: the 35 lb bar plate is too cool! Now, the old lady upstairs will just have to suffer…(just kidding)!

  3. Ok, so I have a few options now…1.) suffer without pie, 2.) go to Marie Callender’s (prob not going to cut it anyways), 3.) stalk you over at UCLA, or 4.) get to work. Hard to decide what to do…gosh I love pie! 🙂 Hey, when I went to school at UCLA, they never had any pie contests…this is totally not fair Sue! 🙂

    • you just made me laugh and made my day! thanks! my dad taught at UCLA law school and hubby is a UCLA grad so I’m all about the Bruins! One day when we meet I’ll bring you some pie! You may want to check out the contest; I believe it’s open to the public

      • Yay! Now you’ve made my day too!! 🙂 I prob can’t make it this weekend, but will be routing for you from afar! Love the Fowler section of UCLA–all the interesting happenings take place there. Go Bruins!! Go Sue!! 🙂

  4. Yes now kill me after a drooling showcase of pies! Sue, every single one is super gorgeous. I always add a bit of vinegar in the pie dough to obstruct the gluten formation and keep the crust crispy. Aaaaaah….,the pies !
    All the best on the contest!

  5. Those all look fabulous. The pork pie reminds me of tourtiere. It’s a French-Canadian meat pie served on Christmas Eve. Have you ever tried it? Good luck at the contest! I think I’ll go make a galette now 🙂

  6. Wow, wow, wow!!! Such amazing work! Such gorgeous pies!!! I love the galette and the little apple pies and the crumble pie….I’d give you first prize now ☺️☺️ Thank you for sharing your fabulous pies with Fiesta Friday xx

  7. Sue, you have been busy practicing!! All of these pies look amazing but the tiny quails egg ones are just adorable! The very best of luck tomorrow – do take lots of photos while you are there so we can pretend we were too!! Thank you for bringing these to the party – Happy Fiesta Friday!!

    • and thank you for hosting again Selma. I so enjoy Fiesta Fridays! I will definitely think of all you my blogging friends on Sunday and take lots of scrumptious pictures. Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Oh my, love your photos and all your pies look absolutely delicious, can’t wait for the recipes:)

  9. I wish you the best of luck. You have worked so hard, and your pies look so amazing! Please let us know how you do. I love all of your pies!

  10. Wow I am mouthwatering right now, every photo contained delicious pies! Good luck on your contest I am sure you will make delicious pies! 🙂

  11. Oh my Sue! You have been so busy! These pies and crumbles all look out of this world, and yes, I will take two slices of that savory pork pie please!

  12. Wow, Sue! You are a powerhouse of pies!! These look absolutely amazing! Good luck to you and I am really looking forward to some of these recipe! 🙂

  13. You’re my pie heroe! Now I need to go back there so that you can teach me to make the crust. I’m especially enamoured with the apple pie and the strawberry rubarb pie… Another heatwave? I’ll never forget the heatwave I had there when I got to LA and went out to buy a camera (this was the Tuesday). Who were the lucky people that got to eat all that? Judges? If so I’ll have to find out how to become a pie judge 😉

    • Hi Sofia, thanks I love being a hero but guess what, I made some incredible messes and at least 2 major kitchen gaffes . . . for example the griddle I placed one pie on was so hot I could barely get it to the counter so I set it down on the floor . . . actually the kitchen rug . . . and guess what about an hour later when I felt motivated to pick it up . . . um, it had melted the rug into its bottom . . . . yea, that kind of thing. But how crazy that I am already thinking about the contest next year! You should time your next trip, if not before next October, for the next pie contest next October . . . tickets are free but you have to wait in line and there were literally at least 1000 people. But you get to eat pie pie pie!!!! And it’s at beautiful UCLA campus. Hey wait, why don’t you enter the contest with me!!!! A mint pesto pie?

      • Oh no, sorry I was laughing at the disastrous situation its funny! But even so you’re my pie heroe, I keep on drooling over your pies in Instagram 🙂 Lets see where I am in the world next year, but that would be fun! haha a chicken mint pesto pie..

  14. Sue,
    I could live in pieland forever with your super delicious pies!
    Thank you for posting these recipes.

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