Category Archives: Pies & Pie Bars

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough in the Food Processor

For years, I have been telling you to mix your pie dough by hand. In fact, I have insisted.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

In the seven Thanksgiving seasons that this blog has seen, I have never put a food processor method for pie dough on here. I thought I was above it and that hand-mixed dough was far superior, but that was then, when I was young(er) and could still move after a full day of work. But now, at 36, I must admit that I was wrong (or at least wrong enough) and have discovered the joy of making batches of pie dough in five minutes in my food processor.

Of course, people have been making pie dough in the food processor for decades, so this is nothing new. My resistance is not because I’m a Luddite (which I am), but because I find most food processor pie doughs to lack flakiness, because people tend to process the butter too much. Visible butter is the sign of a future flaky crust; the water in the butter evaporates and creates buttery lil’ air pockets. When you mix dough by hand, it’s much easier to ensure that you get visible butter chunks, but that takes time and energy that I do not currently have, so I have figured a way to make the food processor method work for me. Here’s my method for All-Butter Pie Dough in the food processor.

First, blitz the dry ingredients together. This will evenly mix the sugar and salt into the flour. Also, it looks like freshly fallen snow and that delights me.

Next, add the COLD cubed butter and pulse it until the largest pieces are the size of marbles. This should take a maximum 5-10 pulses. Don’t let the butter get to the standard “large peas” phase or there will not have visible butter in the final product. If the butter is over-processed, the dry ingredients and butter may be transferred to a bowl where the liquid may be added by hand. Otherwise…

Pulse in the liquid ingredients. For my All-Butter Pie Dough, I use ice water and vinegar. Add liquid slowly through the food processor’s feed tube just until the dough gathers together. It should look clumpy.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

After that simply halve the dough, form it into disks, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or up to three days. For longer storage, triple wrap the pie dough in plastic and freeze it for up to six months.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

I could leave it at that, but I know pie dough freaks some people out, so I’m going to give you some tips for pie dough success. These aren’t secrets, just things I wish someone would have gently told me before I ever made my first crust. Years of hearing food personalities telling you that pie dough (and for that matter, yeasted anything) is difficult to make are not easily shaken, but I promise that this is way simpler than it’s been made out to be.

The Best Way to Mix Pie Dough​ in the Food Processor

Measure all the ingredients ahead of time and chill the ones that need to be chilled. This goes for any pie dough recipe you are making. Ideally, you should do this with every recipe, but I understand that you live in the real world. Nevertheless, doing it here will keep you from having soft butter and make everything accessible so you can be efficient.

Move quickly, but don’t rush! Resist the urge to add all the ingredients at the same time. There are three steps here: blitz the dry ingredients, pulse in the butter, pulse in the liquid ingredients. Each one has to be done just to a certain point because, as with hand-mixed pie dough, we want visible butter in our finished product. Visible butter = flaky pie crust.

The fridge is your friend. Getting overwhelmed or over-warmed? You have the option of throwing your entire food processor (minus the stand) in the refrigerator at anytime. A 15 minute chill can do your dough and your mental health a world of good.

Make multiple batches at once. Your food processor is already out and dirty after one batch and pie dough is very freezer-friendly. You can spend less than half an hour mixing dough and then be stocked for the holidays and beyond. Simply thaw disks of dough overnight in the fridge when you want to make pie.

Do not make pie dough if you do not enjoy it. I mean it! If you are indifferent to the flavor of homemade vs. store bought pie crust, or if making pie dough brings you more agony than joy, please please please do not waste your time making it. Baking should be fun, period. Full stop.

I, for one, find making pie dough very fun and look forward to making three new Thanksgiving pies for you every year. Here’s a sneak peek at the first! It’s coming Friday.

Still have questions? I made a video of this process last year. Click here to see how it’s done!

All-Butter Pie Dough in the Food Processor
makes 2 crusts

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
~2/3 cup water, very cold
ice cubes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Cut butter into cubes. Put it on a plate and freeze it while you prepare the other ingredients.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add cold water up to the 2/3 cup mark. Add a few ice cubes. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar and salt until combined.

Add butter and pulse until the largest pieces are the size of marbles.

Slowly add 1/2 cup of the liquid through the feed tube of the food processor, pulsing occasionally, to combine. Continue to add more liquid and pulse just until the dough clumps.

Turn dough onto a surface and give it a couple of quick kneads to help it come together, if needed. Divide dough into two equal pieces and fork into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. For longer storage, triple wrap your disks in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unwrap one disk of dough. Use rolling pin to roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness (about 14 inches in diameter for a 9-inch pie plate). For easiest rolling, roll dough in one direction, turning it one quarter turn after each roll. Re-flour surface and rolling pin as needed.

To transfer to a pie plate, carefully fold dough into quarters. Place point in the center of the pie plate and carefully unfold. Fit it to the pan, trim any excess overhang to 1-inch and crimp.

Proceed with your pie recipe as written.

Friday Favorites: Apples

Friday Favorites: Apples​

It’s apple season and I am here for it! They were littered everywhere when we were leaving Maine a couple of weeks ago, and it took everything in me not to scoop them up and bring them home to bake! While I wouldn’t trust apples growing in NYC parks (much less on the ground), I definitely trust the ones at the markets! Whether they’re tucked into a pie, folded into a buttery cake batter, or rolled up in yeast dough, baking with apples is one surefire way to get in the seasonal spirit! Here are a few of my favorite apple recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Cranberry Apple Pie

This recipe is from the first few weeks of this blog’s existence, but I remade it last year (she needed some Glamourshots), and I’m here to tell you: it’s SO delicious. Sweet and tart and perfectly spiced, this is one to make when cranberries start showing up in a few weeks!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple & Pear Galette

I love pie, but the ease of galettes wins me over every time! Here apples and ripe pears are nestled into a rustic free form pie crust. It’s a perfect autumnal dessert if I’ve ever had one!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Want the flavors of apple pie for breakfast? Make yourself some Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls! These were my second post ever, and having remade them for a photoshoot recently, I can confirm that they still make all my apple pie breakfast dreams come true.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Turnovers

I love turnovers! They’re like pop tarts for grown ups. This apple version is made with my go-to rough puff pastry and folded on the bias for the flakiest little triangles of apple goodness you’ve ever had.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

French Apple Cake

This is easily the most popular recipe on this blog, and for good reason. Its pure, buttery cake base and chunks of soft apple have no pie spices to detract from their balance of flavors. I clearly love apple pie things, but this simple favorite is something really special.

What’s your favorite way to bake with apples? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Late summer means stone fruits are out in full force, and while I won’t turn my nose up at apricots, plums and nectarines, none is more iconic than peaches! Anywhere I go right now, I seem to run into them. Peach cakes, scones, cobblers, pies—they’re inescapable, even in my own kitchen. Not that I’m complaining. Here are some of my favorite peach desserts from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Pie

It doesn’t get much more classic than peach pie! Mine is made with a just the barest hint of spice and wrapped up in a delicious whole wheat crust.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Tart

What’s easier than pie? This Peach Tart! It’s a sheet of rough puff pastry topped with a fresh peach mosaic and the tiniest amounts of sugar and butter, assembled in no time and baked to golden peachy perfection.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Crisp

And what’s even easier than a Peach Tart? Peach Crisp! This classic dessert begins with sweetened fresh peaches, gets topped up with an oaty, nutty crumble and is baked until bubbly and begging for vanilla ice cream.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peach Upside-Down Cake

Here, a mosaic of ripe sliced peaches are baked underneath a brown sugar batter, then inverted to reveal a sweet, sticky, summery upside-down cake.

Friday Favorites: Peaches

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake

This delicious cheesecake is completely vegan and gluten-free, and sweetened with maple syrup. It’s chilled until firm, then crowned with sliced fresh peaches and another drizzle of maple syrup. It’s non-traditional, but delicious—a no-bake dessert for everyone.

What’s your favorite thing to make with peaches? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Plum Frangipane Galette

Plum Frangipane Galette

This Plum Frangipane Galette might just be the prettiest thing I’ve ever made.

Do you see that golden crust? Those red and gold plums? The frangipane peeking through? It’s gorgeous.

But looks aren’t everything, so it’s a good thing it’s delicious too. The crust—my favorite all-butter recipe—is flaky as all get-out, and it’s filled to the brim with barely sweetened fresh plums and fragrant frangipane, AKA the almond pastry cream of dreams. It’s so good!

My train of thought is not hard to follow. As this is my third frangipane based dessert in three weeks, you can probably gather that I am on a bit of a frangipane kick right now. But it’s for good reason—frangipane is easy to blitz up in a food processor and works as a perfect foil to any number of summer fruits. I’m already thinking up some ways to incorporate it into my Thanksgiving pies, too!

Plum Frangipane Galette

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, it’s all about the plums.

Plum Frangipane Galette
makes 1 galette, about 8 servings

Frangipane:
1 cup almond flour or 4 ounces blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the Galette:
1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good single crust recipe
3 medium plums, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

For Assembly:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar (optional)

For Serving (optional):
confectioner’s sugar
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in egg and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste.

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick (about a 12-inch circle). Transfer to prepared pan. Spread frangipane in a circle, leaving a 2-inch border on all sides. Arrange plums in a pattern over the top, making sure to overlap the slices. Fold dough over the sides of the filling to contain it. Dot exposed filling with butter.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush mixture on exposed pie dough. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve as-is, or with sifted confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Galette will keep covered at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.

Cherry Almond Tart

Cherry Almond Tart

Of all the wonderful things about cherry season—namely, that there are cherries everywhere and in everything—the lone drawback is that it’s quick. Cherries arrive in the produce section fast and furious, and then suddenly two months have passed and you’re googling pumpkin recipes again. Where does the time go?

Cherry Almond Tart

I have spent every summer of this blog’s brief existence trying to fill it with recipes highlighting every major warm weather fruit group. There are many (so, so many) berry recipes and a shocking number of peach desserts considering that I don’t care much for cooked stone fruit, but I’m happy if I nail down one cherry treat per year. Lucky for all of us, this year’s Cherry Almond Tart is a notch above the rest.

The secret? Frangipane aka almond pastry cream. It’s easy to make—it’s just a blend of almond flour (or whole blanched almonds), sugar, eggs and a few other baking staples—and is spread into a thin layer between rough puff pastry dough and a bevy of pitted whole cherries. As it bakes, this thin blanket of almond cream puffs up and nearly envelops the cherries, and gets a touch dark on top.

Cherry Almond Tart

The results are outstanding. Every bite is full of juicy, collapsed cherries, flaky pastry and a soft, thick layer of frangipane. I gilded the lily with some confectioner’s sugar and sliced almonds, but it truly needs no adornment. But, you know, ice cream is never a bad idea.

Cherry Almond Tart

Heads up that I’m on vacation this week! I’ll be taking Friday off to spend time with my family, but I have an epic ice cream recipe coming next Wednesday. Have a great week, y’all.

Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart
makes one tart, about 8-10 servings

Rough Puff Pastry*:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted European butter (I used Kerrygold)
1/4 cup water or milk of choice, very cold

Frangipane:
1 cup blanched almond flour or 4 ounces blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the Cherries:
2 1/2 cups whole sweet cherries, stemmed & pitted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Garnish:
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Note: If you’d like to use frozen (thawed) puff pastry instead of Rough Puff Pastry, start the recipe at the paragraph beginning “Make the tart.”

Make the Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8x10" rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8x10" rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed quarter-sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 10x14-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to the prepared pan. Trim any excess overhang. Use your knife to score a rectangle on the dough, so that there is a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Dock the center rectangle of the dough with a fork. Refrigerate.

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in egg and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste.

Remove crust from the refrigerator. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread frangipane in a thin layer all over the docked rectangle. Evenly scatter the cherries over the top. Sprinkle with sugar, then dot with butter.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl, then use a fork to whisk them together. Use a pastry brush (or a clean finger) to brush egg wash over exposed crust.

Bake tart for 28-30 minutes, until puffed and golden all over. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice the tart, then sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve, garnished with sliced almonds, if desired.

Tart is best within 48 hours. Wrap leftovers and keep them in the refrigerator.
Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart
Cherry Almond Tart