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August 2013 A Note from Marcy


Dear Bakers and Friends,

Firstly, thanks to the initial contributors to my Indiegogo campaign.

I am so touched and fortified by both your interest and generosity. Thanks also to many of you who wrote in wishing me well. This Indiegogo campaign is all about my new cookbook coming out this fall, When Bakers Cook and is my first self-published book. The campaign continues for a couple of weeks and the book should be launched not too long after that. It will be available at Amazon and a special author page of mine at CreateSpace, a division of Amazon.  For now, the book will be in print but soon afterwards, it should be available as an Ebook on Kindle. And now back to this month’s special issue of BB and a delectable free recipe, [rl:2432].

Pie People Unite!

Although any month, to me, is pie month, August seems perfect for a giant pie salute. Classic apple pie, big, berry pie bursting with farm stand blueberries, summery cherry cheesecake pie and easy brownie pie a la mode (that means an ice-cream scoop on top)  - you can have pie any way you like it. Why does pie always sound so good? That’s because pie is not only easy but also, singularly, deliciously. Nothing feels as warm, homey and summary.

So what’s the deal with pie dough?  No big deal at all. It is simple: you take four basic ingredients -  butter, flour, salt, water and you create a bit of heaven. Minor additions or alternations can include vegetable shortening, coconut fat (the unflavored one) sugar, eggs and lemon juice. But great pie starts with a solid and great recipe and a modicum of technique. Still, even if you flub it big time, the whole way through, I promise you any homemade pie beats store-bought and so-so pie is better than none.

Pie is all about flakiness and that starts with a great dough. But more than that, it’s a matter of really understanding what’s going on in pie dough. Essentially pie dough is a about having tiny little pieces of fat (butter and/or shortening) dusted or tossed about in some flour until you have a crumbly mixture. This is best to achieve this is by hand but I often use the food processor method. Then you add some cold water, toss things around until you have a dough that barely holds together; then you knead it a bit. You let it rest in the fridge and this firms up the fat in the dough. Then you roll it out. What happens is that the heat of the oven turns the water in the fat to steam. The steam forces up the strata of dough and you get flakiness. If you understand this whole concept then you then realize that if you handle dough delicately, you are ensured better results. Overworked dough or squeezing the fat into the flour compromises the flakiness. At any rate, we’re onto to Act 2: filling the pie. The choices are endless and you can also make big or little pies, sweet or savory and serve pies either just baked or any time after that,  as long as they last which given pie’s reputation, shouldn’t be too long.

Pie can be fancy, homespun, decadent, light and suits all seasons but in August, given there’s such a plethora of filling choices, pie is just the thing to turn to. I am delighted to share some of my favorites with you. Some of these recipes have their own pie dough recipes attached to them but the free, master pie dough recipe in this issue suits them all. Aside from pie, there’s a glorious Raspberry Laced Summerside Blondie to enjoy.

Warm wishes and happy baking,

Marcy Goldman
Author, Master Baker
Est. 1997

August 2013 Baker's Stash Recipes

FREE Summerside Raspberry White Chocolate Blondies

Big and dense, golden, and buttery, this is the vanilla and brown sugar version of brownies updated with fresh raspberries. I had these once in a bakery that specialized in rustic breads but occasionally they offered up some sweet sensations. And so these huge blondies sat in the window, begging you to come in and buy them. Of course I succumbed (each square was a good half pound) and had to recreate them.

FREE!!!'s Classic Pie Dough

If you want a dough that is a joy to work with, this one egg pastry is a must. The recipe yields a large batch of easy-to-work with pie dough - flaky but trouble free rolling and handling. Lemon juice tenderizes the dough a tad, and the inclusion of an egg adds a bit more body, flavor, and assists with browning but is optional. I actually prefer all butter for its incomparable taste but the part vegetable shortening, part butter approach makes for a flakier texture. Do opt for the no trans fats Crisco -it works as well as regular and is better nutritionally. This is a perfect pastry for almost any filling, from apple pie, to pumpkin pie to quiche. It handles like a dream. Use half the recipe right away and freeze the other half.

Apple Berry Tart
A rich pastry crust (not as rich as tart dough) lines a spring form works best. This tart is filled with mounds of apples and berries and then topped with more pastry. What's nice about tart doughs, as this one is, is that it lasts longer than pie pastry, making this a good keeper for a few days. This is a lovely fresh tart to have on hand in spring and summer or anytime guests drop by. If you bake it, they will come.

Brownie Pie

My son Benjamin inspired me (i.e. he actually got me to stay up way past midnight baking) to make this golden pastry tart, filled with decadent brownie middle, and capped with yet more buttery pastry. It's amazing warm or cold, with ice-cream or pure and simple, as is

Country Fresh Blueberry Pie with Butter Streusel

This is also known as Writer's Block Blueberry Pie. If you make one of these, brew a pot of coffee and sit down to finish your novel, chances are you'll finish either your novel or your pie or both. This is the best blueberry pie I know but if you like, you can forget the streusel top and go un-rogue, i.e. just a plain pie pastry top.

Bakery Style Poppy Seed Cookies

Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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