We Love Pie.

Yes, we are all about healthy eating, but we love pie. We love, love, love pie.

Words by Kayla & Justin Butts   Photos by Rachel Benavides

We don’t, however, love the obscene level of sweetness in most pies. The purpose of pie is not to deliver the maximum concentration of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The best pies deliver a range of subtle flavors balanced by their natural sweetness. We set out to make three of our favorite pies even better using quality, wholesome ingredients.

Buttermilk is a classic pie of the Deep South. Borrowing techniques from another custardy favorite, crème brûlée, gives this down-home dessert a touch of elegance. Steeping a vanilla bean in tangy buttermilk intensifies the flavor, while sprinkling sugar on top and caramelizing it with a torch adds texture. The flaky homemade pie crust is the perfect complement to the silky filling.

Not much compares to the heavenly crunch of pecans in a good pecan pie. But, unfortunately, the gelatinous filling in most pecan pies is high-fructose corn syrup.

How can we achieve that wonderful sweet gooeyness without the corn syrup? Dates! Coupled with maple syrup, chopped dates achieve the ideal level of natural sweetness. The rich crust is made from buttery shortbread cookies to contrast with the confection of the filling.

Apple pie is a tradition of the holiday table, and this version celebrates the natural tart sweetness of apples with a quick caramel sauce of butter and sugar. This simple approach demands high-quality eating apples with exceptional flavor that will stand up to heat. We suggest the Fuji variety for this pie.

Slicing apples into thin strips and rolling them into the shape of roses adds an elegant touch. Filled with apple flowers, this pie may be the prettiest thing on your holiday table.

Yes, we love pie, because it is more than just pie. Pie is family, home, and celebration. Pie is old friends sitting at a table, drinking coffee, and reminiscing. Pie is our children, standing on tiptoes, reaching up to the table for more. Pie is all the best things in life.


Buttermilk Brûlée Pie

Crust:
1 1⁄4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
6 T. butter, cold
2 t. shortening, cold
2-3 T. ice water

Filling:
1 c. buttermilk
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 vanilla bean
Dash salt
Juice of one lemon
2 T. sugar

Crust: Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, quickly work in butter and shortening until the pieces are pea-sized. Add enough water to form a soft dough, taking care not to over-mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out. Roll out dough, prick all over with a fork and place in a pie pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry begins to turn golden around the edges. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine buttermilk and butter over medium heat. Scrape out the insides of the vanilla bean and add it to the buttermilk mixture. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon juice well. Remove buttermilk from heat once it begins to boil.

Let buttermilk cool for 15 minutes. Whisk egg mixture into the buttermilk. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes or until the outside edge of
the custard has begun to set, and the inside is still jiggly. Let the pie cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of
sugar over the top of the pie. Caramelize the sugar using a torch.


Apple Pie

Wheat Pie Crust:
3/4 c. wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 c. shortening, cold and cubed
1/4 c. unsalted butter, cold and cubed
2-3 T. milk, cold

Filling:
4 T. unsalted butter
4 large apples, rinsed, cored, sliced across the center in thin slices
4 T. sugar
Juice of one lemon
1 T. apricot jelly, melted

Crust: Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, quickly work in butter and shortening until the pieces are lentil-small pea sized. Add enough milk to get a soft dough formed, taking care not to over-mix. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling out. Roll out dough and place in a deep-dish pie pan. Prick all over with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry begins to turn golden around the edges.

Filling: Melt butter in a large sauté pan over low-medium heat. Add apple slices, sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Cover apples and stir occasionally, until apples become malleable, about 5 minutes. Remove apples from pan and place on a clean workspace. Reserve cooking liquid.

Place three layers of apples at the bottom of the prepared pie crust. Cut a slit across the radius of the remaining apple slices. Fold an apple slice in on itself until a spiral shape is formed. Keep adding more apple slices until you’ve reached the desired size of your rose. Repeat until your pie has been filled. Pour reserved apple cooking liquid over finished roses. Brush apples and crust with apricot preserves. If desired, return to the oven for 20 minutes, or until pie is heated through.


Pecan Date Pie

Shortbread Crust:
16 butter shortbread cookies
(2 5.3 oz packages)
6 T. butter, melted

Pecan Date Filling:
3/4 c. packed medjool dates (about 12 large dates), pitted
3 eggs
1 cup pecan halves
3/4 c. maple syrup
4 T. butter, melted
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla

Crust: Purée cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add melted butter, and press into the bottom of an oiled pie pan.

Filling: Spray your knife with non-stick cooking spray and finely mince dates. Alternately, use a food processor with oiled blades. In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Add dates and remaining ingredients, mixing well. Pour mix into prepared crust. Bake pie at 375°F for 35-40 minutes.

 

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