So. Hive. Let’s talk about that crazy plan of mine to make all the pies for our wedding. ‘All the pies’ consisting of 7 different flavours, and two pies of each. I like baking, I thought it made sense. Cinnamon Buns was as supportive as ever, and let me fill our freezer full of tasty in-season fruit over the summer. My original plan was to have all the pies done and frozen before the end of May, for our late-June wedding. That, I am not ashamed to tell you, did not happen. Nor did I do anything about pies (apart from stock up on butter) in the first week of June. It was the middle of June when I thought to myself ‘ok Cinnamon Bun, better do something about those pies’.
I made 3 batches of the usual pastry recipe – butter, flour, water. It was all a wee bit crumbly, and I was scared to add too much water, so I just pressed it into lumps, wrapped them in cling wrap, stuck them in the fridge and crossed my fingers. This did not go well. When time came to roll out the pastry, it just crumbled. I tried again, it crumbled more. I did what I always do when I’m baking and thinking – I ate a little piece. Then I munched on a little more while trying to press it into submission with my hands. I ate what stuck to my hands. I threw away that batch (sneaking a bit more to eat before it hit the trash) and tried one of the other 2 batches I’d made: the same problem.
At that point I carved a little chunk off with a knife to nibble on while I thought. It was then that I remembered this amazing pastry recipe, and figured I should give it a go. The pastry I had made was obviously too dry, but I had added more than the required amount of water. What better recipe to use than one that adds extra liquid in the form of vodka, which will evaporate completely when baked, leaving just a regular pastry? It’s the obvious answer for baking in a climate as dry as Calgary’s!
A day later I pulled out the Absolut (for the pie), and the Van Gogh Espresso (for the cook – if you haven’t tried this yet, DO IT. On the rocks. So yum.) and got my pie on. This time, I made one pie’s worth of pastry, let it sit in the fridge for an hour, then tested to see how it worked out, instead of making 3 pies worth of stuff that wasn’t going to work, like the last time. It rolled out beautifully! That got made into the first strawberry-rhubarb pie. Once that pie was complete and in the freezer, it was time to production line everything. Sadly, my food processor is too small to do a double batch of this recipe, but once I knew it worked, it was easy to follow the recipe (mostly, I used 1/3 cup water instead of 1/4 cup) 4 more times in a row, to make pastry for 4 double-crust pies. The little pile of trimmings from pie #1 was just sitting on the cutting board, and I’d sneak a piece or two as I was measuring flour, in between sips of my espresso-on-the-rocks.
Once I started making up the pies (strawberry-rhubarb as well as sour cherry that night!) there were even more trimmings that I snacked on, until I realised I was feeling a little woozy. Wait a minute… if I’m adding vodka to the pastry so it is wet enough to work with before baking, and the vodka will evaporate after baking… I’m just eating vodka-soaked flour and butter bites. Ergh.
Pastry-induced headache aside, I made 5 pies that night and managed to find enough room in our freezer to stash them away (just). We baked one the next day, to see what baking a whole pie from frozen was like. It was pretty easy! An hour at 350 and we had a delicious pie. I’m planning another post with details of the recipes and tricks I used, at this point that will definitely come after the wedding (ie: when I have made all of said pies!).
A couple days later I made some blueberry pies, and took this photo before wrapping them up:
Six pies, with the baker’s little helper.
The plan at this point is to run these six pies to Cinnamon Buns’ mum’s house, because she has an empty chest freezer to store them in, and a bigger oven to cook them in when the time comes. Six pies is also the limit of our freezer space. It was four, until I reclaimed some space by making the two ziplock bags full of blueberries into two pies full of blueberries.
Are you a baker? TRY. THIS. PASTRY. It makes it so easy! If you’re a snacker like me, just don’t plan on driving anywhere after you make it.
Have you found wedding help in unexpected places?