Stephanie Young is an innovation leader at Hallmark and a baker who spends her free time making the lives of everyone around her more delicious. This pie expert has some tips for us today!
Crust is everything. I love pie crust. Since I was a kid, I have been known to lick pie pans to get the last crumb…that’s just the kind of girl I am.
The first pie I made as a grown-up cook was a chocolate mousse pie. It wasn’t perfect. The mousse was runny. The crust was crumbly. But baking that one pie awakened in me a deep, true love for making pies and—more importantly—my own pie crust.
After my happy mousse experience, I cooked up a pie every week. As our waist-lines expanded, I started to give them away to people I knew for any reason at all.
Without even thinking about it, I used my crust to decorate the tops of the pies too. I made pie dough cookies especially for each person getting a pie. I even added them to pies that didn’t call for a top crust.
Why? My pie was an act of love from me to the person receiving it. Adding cookie-cutter bird shapes for an expectant mother or cutting the word M-O-M out of dough for a Mother’s Day pie was so worth it. The way their faces lit up when they saw their design matched the way my heart felt when I was making it. (Download my strawberry pie recipe here.)
The most amazing thing is that putting love into your food takes no extra time or supplies. Whether the food you’re making comes from a box, from scratch, or from your grandma’s recipe—love is love. All it takes is thoughtfulness, or piefulness, in my case.
So the next time you’re cooking up a treat for someone, think about why you’re cooking it for them and tuck that love inside. I promise they’ll taste it in the crumbs.
Pie Dough Tips:
Pie crust is notoriously finicky. Here are some tips for better pie-crust making.
- Make sure all refrigerated ingredients (like butter, shortening, and cream) are well-chilled before use.
- Watch your measurements! Avoid total dough failure by paying close attention to your tablespoons and cups.
- Use your fingers to mix shortening or butter into the dough. You will get a better feel for if it’s truly incorporated into the flour.
- Don’t add all your liquid at once. Add a little, blend it into the flour and then add a little more. Baby steps with your liquids will help you avoid tough or soggy dough.
- All pie dough is happier if it’s cold. While your making your filling, stick the dough in the freezer to give it a good chill!