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Sweet as pie any way you slice it

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (Photo Provided)

Thanksgiving is the time of year that most people think about baking pies. And two new pie books have you covered this year.

First is “The Book on Pie” by Erin Jeanne McDowell. McDowell has plenty of pies to choose from, as well as recipes for different kinds of pie crusts, whether its the classic go to pie crust, a cookie crust, a crumb crust and more. The book give easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to make each pie and crust, and also gives a difficulty rating for each one from easy to hard.

Examples include Lemon Meringue Pie, Black Raspberry Chiffon Pie, Triple-Chocolate Caramel Truffle Pie, Tres Leches Slab Pie, Cheesecake Pie, Chocolate Sugar Pie, Carrot Cake Custard Pie, and Caramel-Earl Grey custard Pie in Gingersnap Crumb Crust.

My youngest has had a weird obsession with trying a butterscotch cinnamon pie because of a video game, so I thought Butterscotch Apple Pie would be a close proximity and would have a bit more flavor. This was rated a medium in difficulty. It involved making an apple filling, a pie crust and then a homemade cooked butterscotch pudding filling. It was a lot of steps, but they were easy to follow and in the end, she enjoyed it, which was the best part. You can try it too with the recipe below.

“The Book on Pie” is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The other book is “Pie Academy” by Ken Haedrich. Again, there are plenty of choices in types of pie, be it fruit or chocolate contained in this book. The pictures also are delicious. The are step-by-step photo illustrations of making pie crusts, which can be very helpful, especially for first time pie makers.

Examples of pies include Snickers Brownie Pie, Maple Pecan Pie, Classic Chess Pie, Sugar Cream Pie, Lime-Margarita Pie, Strawberry Chiffon Pie, White Russian Pie and Bittersweet Chocolate Turtle Pie.

I made a Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie one day, which is pretty single, using a single-crust food processor pie dough – no kneading, just food processing – and then making the filling. It worked out really well and everyone seemed to like it. It is also included below.

“Pie Academy” is published by Storey Publishing.

Both books will be a helpful tool for your holiday season!

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Excerpted from Pie Academy (c) by Ken Haedrich, photography (c) by Emulsion Studio, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

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CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE PIE

This and the Oatmeal-Butterscotch Chip Cookie Pie on page 420 are variations on the famous Toll House cookie pie, essentially big buttery cookies in a crust. This country’s signature pie may be apple, but I think cookie pies must be near the top of most people’s favorites list. There’s nothing to peel and no top crust, and they can be mixed up and popped in the oven in about five minutes. And are they ever good — like eating a big, fat, soft cookie, but better, because there’s pie crust.

Butterscotch Apple Pie (Photo Provided)

Makes 8-10 servings

Single-Crust Food Processor Pie Dough (page 58)

Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk or half-and-half

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted (page 453) and coarsely chopped

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

1. Prepare and refrigerate the pie dough. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle and line a 9- to 9 1/2-inch standard pie pan with it, shaping the edge into an upstanding ridge. Flute or crimp the edge, then refrigerate the shell until needed.

2. Preheat the oven to 350∂F (180∂C). Using an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed in a large bowl, gradually adding the sugars. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt, and mix on low speed until evenly combined. Blend in the milk. (Don’t be concerned if the filling looks a little curdled.) Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour the filling into the pie shell, smoothing the top with a spoon.

3. Bake the pie on the center oven rack for 50 to 60 minutes, until the center is set, rotating the pie 180 degrees midway through the baking. When done, the filling should wobble but not move in waves, even at the very center. Give the pie a slight nudge to check. The top of the pie will be dark golden brown, and that’s fine; it doesn’t mean that the pie is overbaked.

4. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, garnished with ice cream. Cover and refrigerate leftovers, but rewarm slices for 10 minutes in a very low oven, or in the microwave for several seconds, to soften the chips.

Recipe for Success

If you don’t have cake flour on hand, you can make a substitute. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a 1/2-cup measure, then fill the rest with all-purpose flour and mix.

This bears repeating: Don’t be concerned if the top of the pie gets a little dark.

That darkness is just a very thin crust, because of all the sugar, and it does not indicate that the filling is overcooked.

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Excerpted from The Book on Pie ç 2020 by Erin Jeanne McDowell. Photography ç 2020 by Mark Weinberg. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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BUTTERSCOTCH APPLE PIE

MAKES: ONE 9-INCH/23-CM PIE

DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM

Another two-fer pie, with a sweet spiced apple pie filling that’s baked to bubbly perfection, cooled, and then topped with a layer of creamy butterscotch pudding. I love the combination of creamy with a fairly traditional apple pie filling–it’s sort of like eating an ‘ la mode pie but without any ice cream at all.

APPLE FILLING

28 g / 1 ounce / 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

397 g / 14 ounces peeled and diced apples such as Honeycrisp, Jonagold, or Gala (about 3 medium)

5 g / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

107 g / 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

5 g / 11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 g / 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 g / 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

37 g / 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

15 g / 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

One 9-inch / 23-cm pie crust (see below), parbaked, brushed with egg wash, and cooled completely (see page 43)

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BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING FILLING

340 g / 11/2 cups whole milk

118 g / 1/2 cup heavy cream

106 g / 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 g / 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

28 g / 1/4 cup cornstarch

43 g / 2 large egg yolks

14 g / 1/2 ounce / 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

10 g / 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Full Batch of Classic Whipped Cream (page 111/below)

Ground cinnamon for sprinkling

1. Make the apple filling: In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples, tossing to coat with the butter. Add the vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the apples start to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the granulated sugar and flour to combine. Stir into the apple mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the filling cool completely (you can speed up this process by spreading it into an even layer on a baking sheet).

3. Preheat the oven to 400∂F / 205∂C with a rack in the lower third (preferably with a Baking Steel or stone on it).

4. Place the parbaked pie crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour in the cooled apple filling and spread into an even layer. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely.

5. When the pie is cool, make the pudding: In a medium pot, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat.

6. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch together to combine.

7. When the milk mixture is simmering, whisk the egg yolks into the sugar mixture and whisk well to combine. Pour in about one quarter of the hot milk mixture to temper the yolks, whisking constantly. Return this mixture to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until it is very thick and large bubbles break the surface, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

8. Strain the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve onto the cooled apple filling and spread into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly against the surface and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).

9. When ready to serve, spread, spoon, or pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Make Ahead and Storage

The pie can be made up to 24 hours ahead and kept refrigerated, covered tightly with plastic wrap. Add the whipped cream topping just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recommended Crusts

* Vanilla Bean-Nutmeg Pie Dough (page 52)

* Chocolate All-Buttah Pie Dough (page 48)

* Basic Nut Crust (page 74)

Recommended Finishes

* Salted Caramel Sauce (page 126) or Caramelized White Chocolate Drippy Glaze (page 125) for drizzling

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ALL-BUTTAH PIE DOUGH

MAKES: ONE 9-INCH / 23-CM CRUST

DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM

This is my go-to pie dough: all buttah, all the time. Butter can be harder for beginners to work with, because it has a lower melting point than fats such as shortening, but the flavor can’t be beat. And once you know how to handle the dough, it’s easy. The key? Colder is always better when pie dough is involved. When in doubt, toss everything (the ingredients, the bowl, and maybe even the half-mixed dough) into the fridge before proceeding. The recipe can easily be increased to make up to a quadruple batch of dough (see Making Big Batches using a Stand Mixer, page 30).

150 g / 11/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 g / 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

113 g / 4 ounces / 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch / 13-mm cubes

60 g / 1/4 cup ice water, plus more as needed

1. Prepare the dough using your desired mixing method (see page 27).

2. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. This dough is best baked at 425∂F / 220∂C. Parbake (see page 43), blind-bake (see page 46), or fill and bake as directed in the recipe of your choice.

Variation

CHOCOLATE ALL-BUTTAH PIE DOUGH: Replace 30 g / 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour with 28 g / 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (any kind, but dark or black cocoa powder makes a particularly intense crust; see Resources, page 345). Take care not to overbake the crust–look for a dry, matte appearance all over.

Make Ahead and Storage

The tightly wrapped disk of dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Wrapped in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

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CLASSIC WHIPPED CREAM

MAKES: 141, 283, OR 422 G / 1, 3, OR 4 CUPS, DEPENDING ON THE BATCH YOU CHOOSE

DIFFICULTY: EASY

It’s never a bad idea to serve pie with plenty of whipped cream. Think your pie is sweet enough? You can leave the sugar out–ain’t nothin’ wrong with plain ol’ whipped cream. For a luxurious twist, try the mascarpone variation below.

FULL BATCH (for generously covering the whole pie)

235 g / 1 cup heavy cream

50 g / 1/4 cup granulated sugar

5 g / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream on medium-low speed until it begins to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then continue to whip to medium peaks. Add the vanilla, if using, and mix to combine.

Variation

MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM: Reduce the cream by half. For a half batch, use 75 g / 1/3 cup mascarpone; for a full batch, 113 g / 1/2 cup; and for a mile-high batch, 170 g / 3/4 cup. Place the mascarpone and sugar in the mixer bowl and whip on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl well, then reduce the speed to medium-low and add the cream in a slow, steady stream. Raise the speed to medium-high and whip until the mixture is smooth and reaches medium peaks. Add the vanilla, if using, and mix to combine.

Make Ahead and Storage

Plain whipped cream is best made just before it is used, but you can intentionally under-whip the cream (to just under soft peaks), then finish by whipping by hand when you’re ready to serve. It will hold this way for up to 4 hours. The mascarpone variation can be made up to 6 hours ahead and held in the refrigerator. Whip a few times gently to refresh before using.

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