Fruit Pies and Pie Crust – deconstructed.

9 Sep

Here’s the latest Om Cooking article from Bodhi Tree’s September 2011 Newsletter.


September has always meant new beginnings to me. There’s something about the fall air, the leaves turning and the back to school signs that signal the turning of another year, even more so than our calendar new year in January. The city is starting to bustle again and you begin to notice fresh haircuts, new outfits, and a renewed sense of determination to get down to business. You yourself may be getting back into your daily routine, starting a new job, or going back to school.

Changes to our familiar routine can sometimes be uncomfortable. During these times it’s good to remember the practice of non-attachment that we learn in yoga class. Take deep breaths, take everything in stride and remember that at many points in our lives, we started new; from our first breath, our first step, our first day of school, first yoga class, first job…the list could go on. Especially when we were young, our parents were there with open arms to comfort us when new experiences overwhelmed us. Now, those comforts could be a hug from a good friend, our yoga practice, exercise, or any number of other things.

To me, the ultimate comfort food is pie. If you’re a pie lover already, this recipe’s for you. If not, this might become the quintessential dessert to make when you want something familiar. Try combining apples with cranberries, rhubarb, or other berries for something a little different.


5 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder
454 g/ 1lb. shortening, lard or butter
1 tbsp vinegar
1 egg

[Notes about the type of fat you use: For best results, your fat of choice should be super cold/frozen. If you’re using butter, add a little less liquid to the flour mixture. Butter has a high water content, whereas lard and shortening are pure fat.]

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut shortening, lard or butter into ½” cubes and work into the flour mixture until you end up with almond sized pieces. In a liquid measuring cup, mix vinegar, egg and enough water to reach 250 ml. Mix into dry ingredients and work until a ball just forms. Do not over work! Divide into 6 balls, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

This pie dough freezes really well. I regularly make a double batch and freeze a bunch. Just take it out about 30-45 minutes before you use it, then roll out to desired thickness.

To prepare your pie shells: take a ball out of the fridge about 10 minutes before rolling. Roll it out on a well floured surface to desired thickness (I roll mine quite thin, probably between 1/16″ and 1/8″). Place into pie plate. Roll out a second ball for the top and place on a flat plat. Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 minutes before filling.


Pie is extremely versatile. As soon as you have the crust down, there’s a very basic formula for fruit fillings. Here are a few different options that I love. Feel free to experiment with other fruit combinations.

Homestyle Apple Filling:
4-6 cups(~400 grams) granny smith apple slices
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
¼ lemon, zested & juiced
cinnamon & nutmeg, to taste

Other great combinations are apple & rhubarb, apple & berries, apple & cranberry or whatever else you’d like to combine.

Pear Cranberry Filling:
3 cups(~350 grams) bosch/anjou pear slices
1 cup(~100 grams) frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
¼ lemon, zested & juiced

Peach Filling:
4 cups(~400 grams)  peach slices
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
¼ lemon, zested & juiced
nutmeg, to taste

Toss everything in a large bowl. If you’re using frozen fruit, let it stand until a juicy syrup has formed, about 20 minutes. Pour into prepared pie shell. Place top shell on and seal with eggwash. Roll edges. Make a few slices in the top to vent steam and brush with eggwash. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 40-50 mins more (or until top is golden). Cool for at least 30 mins and serve. Makes 1 – 9” double crust pie.


5 Responses to “Fruit Pies and Pie Crust – deconstructed.”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide September 9, 2011 at 11:43 AM #

    What an awesome round up. Your crusts are perfect!

  2. frugalfeeding September 9, 2011 at 1:11 PM #

    Pie is really amazing and this one looks great! I’ve not had one for so long – now it’s autumn I’ll have to try a nice warming wholesome pie. Thanks for prompting me :D. Love the blog.

    • jacinthe September 10, 2011 at 5:35 PM #

      Autumn is definitely a great time for pie! Make a few and freeze them for later in the year.


  1. Testing a Gluten-Free Pie Shell and Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe « food with presence - April 4, 2012

    […] usually use my favourite pie crust recipe which makes six shells, but if you want to make only one shell, use the following recipe: 1 1/4 […]

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