Bake from Scratch

Pies with Panache

My earliest memories of pie involve sitting in a restaurant booth, eyes locked on the shiny, rotating dessert case behind the cash register. It was filled with towering beauties: mile-high, deep-dish pies often made even taller with mounds of whipped cream when slices were heaved onto plates. They were the stuff of dessert dreams. These recipes each mash up two classic pie flavors into one flaky crust, so you no longer have to choose between lemon meringue and blueberry or chocolate cream and cherry—it’s double the diner pie glory packed into a single, sweet slice.

Erin Jeanne McDowell, top food stylist and cookbook author, debuts her second cookbook, The Book on Pie. A comprehensive handbook that distills all you’ll ever need to know for making perfect pies, it starts with dough basics before diving into recipes for all different kinds of pies: fruit, custard, icebox, and everything in between. With tips to mix and match pie doughs with different toppings, you’ll be baking inspired pies from season to season.

Available online or at your local bookstore on November 10, $35

FOLLOW ERIN: | @erinmcdowell


Makes 1 (9-inch) crust

This is my go-to pie dough. I learned to make pie dough using butter and shortening or lard, but when it came time to choose my one and only fat, it’s all buttah, all the time. The flavor and flakiness butter gives pie crust just can't be beat. This recipe doubles (and even triples or quadruples) well if you’re making a double crust pie or want additional dough for decorative effects.

1¼ cups (151 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon (1 gram) fine sea salt
8 tablespoons (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup (57 grams) ice water, plus more as needed

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the cubed butter, tossing the cubes through the flour until each individual piece is well coated. ‘Cut’ the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards. As you work, continue to toss the butter through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces.

Continue cutting

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