Razzle Dazzle

Razzle, Dazzle, where’d ya get that Snazzle?

Razzle, Dazzle, where’d ya get that PIE?

Catchy, isn’t it, but what’s a snazzle? Oh I don’t know…just go with it…

But, alas, I have a confession to make; sit down and hang onto your hats…

I know I kind of fashion myself as a bit of a baker; you know, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and, most recently yeast breads. I hear that there are two kinds of cooks or chefs; bakers and then all of the others. And never the two shall meet. That is because baking is very precise. Measuring properly is critical. Not a dash of this and a pinch of that; oh no… 1/8 level teaspoon of this and 1/8 level teaspoon of that! And when measuring flour? Never, ever plunge your measuring cup into the flour canister, scoop up and level off! Oh, no, no, no, NO! This could seriously compact your flour and result in inaccurate measuring!Always, spoon and sweep, spoon and sweep, spoon and sweep, and then level! A slip-up by mixing up baking soda with baking powder and who knows what natural disaster may happen. I’m an accountant, a type A personality, a bit of, shall we say, ooh, I don’t know, maybe a perfectionist? Ouch! But anyway, that is the personality type that is well suited to baking. As a result, I’m more inclined to the baking, follow the recipe kind of cooking; all the others…well they operate from the creative, free-flowing side of the brain.

And, being a “baker” type, here is my confession:

Hello, my name is Fannie (not my real name, but names have been changed to protect the innocent) and I am afraid of pie crusts.

There! I said it! And, truth REALLY be told, it wasn’t until recently that I finally said, “No more! I will NOT buy a ready made pie crust again! I WILL conquer my fear of pie crusts!”

I don’t know WHY I was so afraid of pie crusts! It could be the combined voices of my mother, my grandmother (Nanny) and my mother-in-law, all with their own set of warnings:

Don’t work it too much

Don’t add too much water

Make sure it’s ice water

Don’t forget the white vinegar

Don’t add too much flour

Don’t handle it too much

Use Lard

Use Crisco

Use Lard and Butter

Use Lard and Crisco

Well, you get the idea. And what would happen if you didn’t follow this sage but somehow loose and sometimes contradicting advice? Well, a tough crust was just the beginning of the plagues that may fall upon your kitchen! 

You would think that with all of this advice, my genetic make-up (mother and grandmother) and being blessed with a mother-in-law who can bring forth magic from her kitchen with about ten minutes notice, a pie crust would be a snap! But oh no! Call me a rebel if you must, but no matter how hard I tried to not handle it, flour it, water it or whatever other warnings I was supposed to heed, I’d always end up with a crumbly, ugly, impossible-to-lift-effortlessly-and-place-in-a-pie-dish mixture of flour, water and an assortment of “fats.” Not to mention that I was intimidated by how effortlessly this whole process seemed to each of the three of them. How could they DO that? Make a pie, mop the floor, do the laundry all in one day? I have to clear my calendar on the day I am attempting to make a pie with a “homemade crust” and down a stiff Bloody Mary before I even begin!

And so it began…conquering the fear…

Here are my weapons:

My King Arthur Baking Companion cookbook, my new King Arthur pastry mat and my new King Arthur rolling pin. Also, most importantly, my MaPat apron! It’s got to cause the Pie Crust Gods to look down with favor upon me, does it not?

I will say that these tools have made all of the difference in the world!

First of all, my King Arthur’s Baking Companion cookbook. This book is awesome; it almost reads like a novel or a how-to book. This book contains lots and lots and lots of how-to’s, step-by-steps, tips and illustrations.

Secondly, my silicone rolling mat. This thing is amazing! Throw a little dusting of flour on it and magic begins to happen when pastry dough meets rolling pin meets mat. Not only is the rolling made so much easier, but lifting the mat by a corner helps to lift and fold the pastry dough so it can be placed onto the pie.

Third, my silicone rolling pin. Sorry, Nanny, but the old wooden one had to go! This rolling pin is incredible! It is heavily and evenly weighted and the silicone surface discourages sticking without a whole lotta flour.

And fourth, but most important of all, my MaPat apron! Maybe that’s the secret! Pie crusts were going to allude me until I became a grandma, a MaPat! This was a mother’s day gift from my precious daughter and my grandson, Parker! It’s magical powers were going to be put to the test.

And so it began. I followed the recipe to a “T.” I’m not going to post the recipe here, it’s just your standard pastry crust recipe. But reading the tips in the KAF book really did help to calm my fears and to make sense in the reasoning part of my brain.

And, as you can see…miracle of miracles…the bottom crust is safely in the pie dish and the other is all rolled out ready to be joined with it’s partner in holy pie matrimony…

I think I should say some sort of prayer of thanksgiving or something! Look at that! No cracks or nasty patching pieces! Just lovely, smooth, tender, flaky, pie goodness! Oh me, oh my! I am WOMAN! Hear me roar!

And just so you don’t think that the magic stopped there…here is the evidence that the pie did actually come together and make it into the oven…

And…the finished product?

Voila! I’m so happy, I could just…oh, I don’t know…dance…or sing…

Razzle, dazzle, where’d ya get that snazzle?

Razzle, dazzle, where’d ya get that pie?

(by the way, I’ll talk more about the filling next week…(ooh, a “coming attraction”)…but, in the meantime, below, is the recipe for the pie).

Razzle Dazzle Pie

Pastry for 9-inch double crust pie, unbaked
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh blackberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups fresh blueberries
(note: I was making a deep dish pie…I ended up adding another cup of mixed berries, I did not adjust the other ingredients)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon butter
Sugar for sprinkling
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar
    and flour. Add strawberries, raspberries,
    blueberries and lemon juice; gently toss until berries are coated. If using frozen fruit allow fruit mixture to
    stand for 15 to 30 minutes, or until fruit
    is partially thawed.
  2. Turn berry mixture into prepared pie shell;
    dot with the butter. Cover with top crust; trim edge to 1-inch, seal and crimp.
    Make several slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle top with
    sugar, if desired.
  3. Bake for 1 hour in 375°F
    (190°C) oven, or until crust is
    golden brown and the juice is bubbling through the slits in top
    crust. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 8 servings.

Until next week, Bon Appetit!

Fannie

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3 Responses to Razzle Dazzle

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds and looks delishish. I’m going to have to make it. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow – I’m impressed! My father is the all time best pie crust (and filling) maker and would you think his daughter might inherit some of that skill? Oh no. Didn’t get his long legs and natural slenderness either. Anyway…your pie is just gorgeous, congratulations! I must try this as the filling sounds fabulous (love blackberry pie, so this one must be even better!).

  3. Fae says:

    I am so with you in regards to pie crust making. Too much water? Not cold enough? Lard? yuck. Butter? My mom could make pie crust standing on her head spitting nickels but for the life of me, I just can’t and I haven’t tried for years. Maybe, just maybe this holiday season I may break down and try it again. Thanks for the tips and the recipe!

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