Pie has always been the great white whale of baking for me. I grew up in the kitchen making a plethora of cookies, cakes, brownies, and the like with my family, but we were never big pie makers. And somewhere along my way in the past few years, I realized that this was a big hole in my baking repertoire. So a pie maker I sought out to be.
I started out with simple recipes, such as a key lime pie in a graham cracker crust (see below for my favorite recipe). Then I graduated to baking pies in store-bought crusts, such as pecan and dutch apple and peach crumble (Whole Foods actually makes a pretty great frozen crust). But I think that the crust is the key to a successful pie, and so using a storebought crust or assembling a crust a la graham cracker-style felt a bit like cheating to me. So when I came across Pie Corps in Greenpoint, I booked a class and didn’t look back.
The value in this class, besides the classroom camaraderie and the delicious pie that you get to take home, lies in the personal instruction given to you by Cheryl, the owner. There is so much nuance to making the perfect dough that cannot be conveyed in a recipe, and having her look at your dough in various stages and let you know what to work towards as far as texture, moisture content, and other factors go was helpful beyond measure (pun wholeheartedly intended).
During the course of the 3 hour class, we baked a raspberry custard pie, a plum almond crumble pie, a tomato galette, and a zucchini goat cheese galette. At the end of class, we enjoyed some of our pie together with a glass of wine, and were sent home with the remainder. And although my office mates enjoyed the fruits of my labor (again with the bad puns, can’t help it) the next day, I came away with something much more delicious: the knowledge from an expert that I can take back to my own kitchen.
This is my favorite key lime pie recipe for beginners, courtesy of Emeril Lagasse (tip: skip the sour cream and powdered sugar topping, it doesn’t need it)