All of my pie experience stems from eating Pie. Specifically pie that comes from handmade goodness. Sour cherry season being around the corner and having attempted my own version of a sour cherry pie in the past I decided to find some experts in the business and bump up my game so to speak. Besides who doesn't like eating pie on a weeknight because you have too.
Pie tastings are fantastic and filling. Who needs dinner?
Watching the master Baker/Owner Chris show the small class of six hands techniques, all the while making pie jokes, made for an evening of amusement.
Three pie choices to choose from to make that night included:
- Star Sour Cherry (my choice obviously)
- Toasted Coconut Creme
- French Apple
Thanks to our class not being all completely similar in choices the opportunity to watch, try and taste all three made for a more instructive class.
Crust was pushed, cut, smooshed, par-baked, rolled, baked, and I promise I didn't look in a thesaurus under pie crust;) The final destination: three different kinds of pie.
Sour Cherry has a traditional crust and rather than criss-cross with lattice work I used the pre-cut dough stars that had been made by the staff at A la Mode. My rolling pin got to work it's magic though to flatten and roll a piece of dough into a circle and slowly ply it's way over the roller and into the pie dish. (As a side note I brought my own pretty pie pan and roller which Chris was happy to see!)
Flour was flying while we rolled out the cherry pie dough but not so with the French apple pie.
A simple mush and push kind of dough, Chris said "it's a great first time pie baker's kind of pie!" No rolling needed just fingertips and love.
The apples fill the pie but not as high as a traditional "Mountain Apple Pie" so called for the mountain look they invoke. (In case that wasn't obvious;) The star of the French Apple however is the crumble. It's the messy pie that delivers a big punch of flavors.
Toasted Coconut Creme Pie had me a little leary as cream pies don't tend to be my favorite but the ease of cracking eggs and cooking the "custard" as well as the many many flavors this pie can become changed my mind.
The crust is baked and then filled with fresh coconut creme. All became masters at tasting as the decision was made to add more coconut flavor. Of course we knew Chris had the final say in the matter:)
Like Top chef's at work every pie was our masterpiece and as they baked and dripped and bubbled we ate slice after slice of pie.
- chocolate pecan
- key lime
- coconut creme
- mexican chocolate
The list of tastings was just too long to be able to list all of them but made for tummy explosion kind of night.
Our group included date nighters, Dads and sons, and others like myself to learn a few more tricks to put in my pocket for my future pie baking days ahead.
Would I recommend taking a class at A la Mode pies in Seattle? Bien sûre! Who wouldn't?
What food classes have you done? Want to do? I'm intrigued and wondering if it is in my neck of the woods...ideally closer than the Olympics however;)
Happy pie Making!
I have included only the Star Sour Cherry Pie below as this is the pie I made. Recipe and Instructions from Chris at A La Mode!
Ingredients for Sour Cherry Pie
5 cups pitted semi-thawed cherries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp almond extract
pinch of kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 16 tbsp cold butter (2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup water mixed with 1 beaten egg
In a food processor combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter.
Pulse 4 times
Quickly pulse until dough comes together. (Do not over do in mixer- you should see marbling)
Wrap in plastic and chill 4 hours or overnight.
Step 2- Filling Procedure
Strain semi-thawed cherries if using frozen but fresh come in August at the Ballard Market if you are in the area. Don't miss it though the life span is usually only 3 weeks!
In a large bowl combine, cherries, sugar, starch, almond extract, and salt. Make sure there are no starch clumps left in the mixture.
Add filling to unbaked pie shell that you have rolled out. Place star cutouts to the top of the pie, sealing the edges well. Once done, carefully brush with an egg wash, leaving no bare dough.
Place on a greased foil-lined baking tray and bake at 350F degrees for 40-50 minutes or until filling is thick and no longer watery.
- Separate eggs by hands if you want yellow and whites
- Roll out the dough but don't worry about measuring- Artisan is also known as "Handmade"
- Put foil under the pie on a baking sheet and as if the pie crust starts to brown too quickly tent the foil over the pie from the four corners leaving it open to breathe
- Creme pies are basically a custard and then you can add the flavors you want...chocolate mint, you name it you've got it.
- Almond extract and cherry are a pie's best friend
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Happy Pinning and Pie Making!