Trusted cookbook author and pie expert Ken Haedrich delivers the only pie cookbook you’ll ever need: Pie Academy. Novice and experienced bakers will discover the secrets to baking a pie from scratch, with recipes, crust savvy, tips and tutorials, advice about tools and ingredients, and more.
Foolproof step-by-step photos give you the confidence you need to choose and prepare the best crust for different types of fillings. Learn how to make pie dough using butter, lard, or both; how to work with all-purpose, whole-wheat, or gluten-free flour; how to roll out dough; which pie pan to use; and how to add flawless finishing details like fluting and lattice tops.
Next are 255 recipes for every kind and style of pie, from classic apple pie and pumpkin pie to summer berry, fruit, nut, custard, chiffon, and cream pies, freezer pies, slab pies, hand pies, turnovers, and much more.
This beast of a collection, with gorgeous colour photos throughout, weighs in at nearly four pounds and serves up forty years of pie wisdom in a single, satisfying package.
Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More; Expert Techniques for Making Fabulous Pies from Scratch is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.
Louisiana Browned Butter–Pecan Pie
If you’ve ever eaten a piece of genuine Louisiana pecan pie and wondered what that elusive nutty taste is, it might not be the pecans; it could be browned butter. Cooks typically learn to not brown the butter or they’ll compromise its pure flavour. But there are times when browning butter gives it a toasted quality that’s just right for our purposes—like here, where it layers on some genuine Southern charm.
Makes 8–10 servings
Single-Crust Food Processor Pie Dough (see below)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups pecan halves, toasted (page 453) and coarsely chopped by hand
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)
- Prepare and refrigerate the pie dough. Roll the dough into a 12 ½-to 13-inch circle and line a 9- to 9 ½-inch deep-dish pie pan with it, shaping the edge into an upstanding ridge. Flute or crimp the edge, chill the shell, and partially prebake it according to the instructions on page 6.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Using a shiny skillet so you can easily see what’s happening in the pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, keeping a close eye on the butter as you wait for it to brown. Once that starts to happen, it will happen quickly. The trick is to catch the butter while it is dark golden brown and before the little solids get too dark and burn. As soon as the butter reaches the golden brown point, in 2 to 4 minutes, pour it into a bowl and cool slightly.
- Combine the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk well to blend. Add the browned butter and whisk again until evenly combined. Stir in the pecans. Put the pie shell on a baking sheet, near the oven, and carefully pour the filling into the shell. Gently rake a fork through the filling to distribute the nuts evenly.
- Bake the pie, on the sheet, on the center oven rack for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the filling is set, rotating the pie 180 degrees midway through the baking. When done, the pie will have puffed slightly and developed fine cracks around the perimeter. There should be no soupiness at the center of the filling.
- Transfer the pie to a rack and cool thoroughly. Serve at room temperature or chill slightly before serving, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
Recipe for Success
A shiny skillet is the best background for monitoring the butter as it darkens. It’s much more difficult to gauge the progress if you’re using a black cast-iron pan or a nonstick pan.
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream are the best accompaniments here because they won’t hide the browned butter flavour.
Single-Crust Food Processor Pie Dough
This pie dough is wonderfully versatile: I use it for at least 75 percent of the sweet and savoury pies I make. It has great flavour and a flaky texture, it is easy to handle, and it freezes well (see page 29). Once you’re comfortable making this dough with all butter, I encourage you to try the variation with 2 tablespoons shortening or lard. Those two fats will make the dough more tender and less prone to shrinkage.
One 9- to 9½-inch standard or deep-dish pie shell
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, or 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, cubed unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard in small pieces
2 teaspoons white vinegar
Scant ⅓ cup cold water
- Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Scatter the fat on a large flour-dusted plate. Measure the vinegar into a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Add just enough cold water to equal a scant 1/3 cup. Refrigerate everything for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer the dry ingredients to a food processor. Add all of the fat, then pulse the machine six or seven times, until the pieces of fat are roughly the size of small peas.
- Pour the vinegar-water mixture through the feed tube in a 7- or 8-second stream, pulsing the machine as you add it. Stop pulsing when the mixture is just starting to form larger clumps.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface and pack it into a ball. Put the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten it into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap the disk and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling.
Excerpted from Pie Academy © by Ken Haedrich, photography © by Emulsion Studio, used with permission from Storey Publishing.