Easy as Pie!

Pie making has always been a challenge for me. While I can usually whip up a somewhat acceptable piecrust, I’ve never been able to achieve a smooth, silky, rounded sheet of dough that I didn’t have to do a lot of patchwork on once I wrestled it into the pie pan. I followed what I thought were all the rules about using ice water, cold butter, handling it as little as possible, and still ended up with a jagged mess that would tear or stick together before I got it into the pan. I can make gorgeous loaves of bread, crispy, round pizzas, but pie? Impossible!

Enter King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont, with their wonderful bakery, café, gift shop, and baking school. For $85 a person, we registered for their Easy as Pie baking lesson, worth every penny for their patient, well-paced instruction, well-equipped work benches, and fresh, delicious ingredients to make a (at least for me) groundbreaking peach/blueberry pie with a perfectly browned, flaky, and lightly-sugared crust unlike any I’ve made before.

Here are the items we used in class, all available on Amazon.

This is by far the best flour not the market, in my opinion. I use it to make all of my breads, cookies, and cakes.

King Arthur Flour All Purpose Flour, 2 pound bag, 12 Count

This is the same rolling pin we used in class (although this version has wooden handles instead of plastic

J.K. Adams 12-Inch-by-2-3/4-Inch Maple Wood Medium Gourmet Rolling Pin

The perfect measuring tool for liquids, especially for smaller amounts

Emsa Perfect Beaker

Weighing the ingredients ensures the most consistent results. We used this scale.

My Weigh KD-7000 Kitchen And Craft Digital Scale, Silver

We used this as a simple and effective way to juice lemons for your pies.

OXO Good Grips Wooden Reamer

We learned that metal pans were best. I have a number of other corrugated baking pans like these, and my breads, cakes, and other goodies back up beautifully.

USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Pie Pan, 9-Inch

Sparkling sugar doesn’t melt under heat, so it makes the perfect sweet crunch on top of your crust.

King Arthur Flour White Sparkling Sugar

We learned the perfect temperature for ingredients (very cold!), and how to distribute the fat (butter) into the flour to ensure a consistent, flaky crust. If you want to give it a try, here is King Arthur Flour’s recipe for a basic butter pie crust (although we did not use the optional buttermilk powder). They did everything to ensure our success during the lesson, and the pies you made were truly your own handiwork.

Expert instruction by Jessica.
We learned the perfect technique for working the fats into your flour, using a pastry blender
Folding in just the right amount of liquid to get the dough to just start sticking together
Thoroughly chilling the dough to keep the butter firm and to ensure maximum flakiness.
Rolling out my perfectly smooth sheet of dough, marbled with bits of butter that will make the whole thing flaky and tender

The crust had that multilayered, crisp, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth buttery wonderfulness that looked and tasted like it came from a professional bakery (well, it actually did!).

Easy as pie! If you’re planning on being in and around Norwich, Vermont sometime, reserve a spot in class, relax, and have fun! Shop in the store and enjoy the bakery and café while you’re there. We loved it!

Shopping in the King Arthur Flour gift shop is a must!

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