We should all have a solid command of the ABCs of baking. Thankfully, Food52's Test Kitchen Manager Erin McDowell -- alongside photographer Sarah Stone, who both blog at The Shutter Oven -- is here, with tips and tricks to help you master the most essential desserts and the simplest breads.
I’ve managed to get myself a little bit of a reputation when it comes to pie -- so much so that I've baked 34 pies in the last 14 days. This reputation started with one simple fact: I love pie, and I am not afraid to sing it from the rooftops.
While there are plenty of details to consider when making a pie, it is, at its core, one of the simplest desserts ever. My crust has only four ingredients: all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt, butter, and ice water. I like to keep things simple because I often find myself making pies at the last minute. This ratio is easy to remember, and easy to pull off.
The trick is learning to manipulate these four ingredients properly to achieve the perfect (or even just pretty darn good) result. That’s the thing about pie -- even an imperfect one is still amazing.
More: Once you have a handle on your crust, fill it with fresh blueberries.
Of course, you can always experiment with different fats or added flavors (it’s great with rosemary, vanilla sugar, or even flaky salt for a savory pie). But today we’re just talking about the basics, so let’s dig in.
This pie plate was a gift from Rose Levy Beranbaum -- she designed it, and it's called “Rose’s Perfect Pie Plate”. It’s pretty, bakes evenly (hello, crisp bottom crust!), and makes a gorgeous edge without any effort at all. I highly recommend it for pie beginners -- anything you bake in it looks professional!
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cubed
3 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
To finish the pie:
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
1 quart strawberries, hulled
Photos by Sarah Stone