Springtime [Maple Sugar Pie]

It has been spring-like in Ottawa.

At times summer-like.

There has been a baby shower.

And a pie.

When pastry dough has a marbled appearance it has big pieces of fat in it. Big pieces of fat = flakiness.

Eggs for the custard.

Heavily caramelized top.

Don’t forget the nuts! Ice cream is good, too.

Smooth and golden.

Maple Sugar Pie

For the par-baked crust (enough for 3 crusts):

5 cups (625g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (6g) fine salt
1 cup (227g) very cold butter-flavoured shortening, diced to 1-inch cubes
1 cup (227g) very cold unsalted butter, diced to 1-inch cubes
ice water
1 egg yolk +1 tbsp milk

Combine flour and salt in a very large bowl. Mix well.

Toss the cubes of shortening and butter in the flour to coat.

Put the mixture in the freezer for 40 minutes.

Remove shortening, butter and flour mixture from the freezer.

Work quickly. You don’t want your pastry to get warm.

Cut the shortening and butter into the flour until you have pea-sized shortening and butter bits.

Dribble ice water over the mixture, one teaspoon at a time.

Using a fork, continuously lift in an upward motion through the mixture to incorporate the water.

As the mixture begins to come together, use the fork to gently press it into a ball.

Be careful not to add too much water. Once the mixture comes together into a just-moist-enough dough ball, stop adding water.

Divide the mixture into three equal-sized discs. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place the disks in the refrigerator. Allow them to rest for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Prepare egg wash (1 egg yolk +1 tbsp milk).

Grease and flour a 9-inch pie plate. On a lightly-floured surface, roll one disc of pastry dough out into 1/8-inch-thick circle. Lay in pie plate. Trim excess dough and crimp the edges.

Line the dough with aluminum foil and fill the pie with pie weights.

Bake the crust at 425F for 10 minutes.

Remove the pie weights and foil. Prick crust all over with tines of a fork, reduce oven temperature to 400F and bake 3 more minutes.

Brush all over with egg wash to seal the crust (this will keep the crust from getting soggy) and bake for 3 more minutes.

Remove crust from oven and place on a baking rack. Immediately follow directions for the filling.

*Store unused pastry dough disks in the fridge or freezer.

For the filling and baking:

250 ml medium  maple syrup
93 g granulated sugar
seeds from 1/4 of a vanilla bean
3/4 tsp fine salt
114 g unsalted butter, melted
3 1/2 whole eggs

Centre a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a blender, mix together the maple syrup, sugar, salt and vanilla bean seeds until well combined. Add the melted butter and mix until fully emulsified. Add all of the eggs at once. Mix at a low speed until just emulsified, about 30 seconds.

Pull the centre rack of your oven out toward you. Place the empty par-baked pie shell on the rack. Pour in the filling mixture. Carefully push the rack back in and shut the oven.

Set a timer for 40 minutes, but check the pie at 20 minutes and keep a close eye on it thereafter. Firmly tap the edge of the pie plate with a spoon to test doneness of the custard. Pay attention to the jiggle. “When it moves as one, it’s done.”

On custard: “When it moves as one, it’s done.”

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