Every January 23rd, pie lovers across the nation eagerly anticipate the arrival of National Pie Day. It’s a day dedicated to the flaky, sweet, and savory desserts that have graced our tables for centuries. Whether you prefer a classic apple pie, a decadent chocolate silk pie, or a savory chicken pot pie, National Pie Day is the perfect excuse to indulge and celebrate the art of pie-making. In honor of today, we have a simple homemade pie crust and a few easy pie recipes that are not only delicious, but also affordable. So, keep reading!
The History of National Pie Day
Pie, one of the earliest prepared foods, has a rich history dating back to ancient Roman times. The Romans were culinary pioneers, crafting pies with diverse ingredients such as meats, seafood, and fruits, including a dense pie resembling modern cheesecake known as placenta.
Historically, pie crusts were primarily functional, acting as containers to preserve meat moisture and prevent burning. Unlike today’s rich and buttery crusts, early versions were often not designed to be eaten.
In the 12th century, pies made their way to England, initially dominated by savory fillings. Some pie fillings’ questionable origins even spawned jokes and horror stories, notably influencing the infamous tale of “Sweeney Todd.”*
When English settlers migrated to the New World, they brought the tradition of pie-making with them. Despite sweet pies becoming an important part of modern American Thanksgiving, they weren’t featured in the so-called “First Thanksgiving”. The popularity of pumpkin pie emerged much later in the 1800s.* Today, sweet pies overwhelmingly outsell savory ones, with pumpkin pie remaining a staple of the Thanksgiving feast.
Sweet or Savory: The Endless Choices of Pie
One of the most delightful aspects of National Pie Day is the endless variety of easy pie recipes to choose from. Sweet pies, with their luscious fillings and golden crusts, range from classics such as cherry and pumpkin to more adventurous options like key lime or pecan. On the savory side, pies can be filled with succulent meats, hearty vegetables, and rich, savory sauces. Whether you’re baking your own creation or indulging in a slice from your favorite bakery, there’s a pie for every palate.
National Pie Day is the perfect opportunity to dust off your apron and embark on a pie-making adventure. So, gather your favorite ingredients, experiment with different crust recipes, and let your creativity run wild with unique flavor combinations. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, the joy of pie-making is accessible to all. So, let’s jump into these easy pie recipes!
Easy Pie Crust Recipe from Scratch
By: Tatiana Lewis
For starters, let’s talk about the unsung hero of every delectable pie – the crust. It’s easier than you think, and no food processor is required! Now, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the simple yet crucial ingredients that will set the stage for your next pie-baking adventure.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour or pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup + 2 ½ Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar)
- 8-10 Tablespoons ice-cold water
The recipe should yield two 9-inch crusts.
- Begin by chopping the butter into small cubes. Then, add the cubes to a bowl and place them in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to ensure it’s cold.
- Add the flour, sugar, and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix them together with a fork or spatula. Next, add the cold butter cubes to the flour.
- Use a pastry cutter or two butter knives to cut the butter into small pieces into the flour. If you prefer, you can also use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. The result should be like coarse bread crumbs with a few pea-sized butter pieces in the mix. If the butter is melting at any point, place the bowl in the refrigerator.
- Add the lemon juice or vinegar to the ice-cold water. Then, add it slowly to the flour mixture, one tablespoon at a time.
- Use a spatula or your hands to combine the dough and add in as much chilled water as needed. Add any extra water in slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Your dough should hold together easily when pressed but not be sticky. If the dough is crumbly, add a bit more water.
- If the butter has softened or the dough is warm, place it in the fridge for 30 minutes before continuing with the next step.
- Then, roll the dough into a rough 10-inch/25-cm rectangle using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface. There’s no need to measure it perfectly, so just lengthen it to around 10 inches.
- Fold the bottom ⅓ of the dough up to the middle, then fold the top ⅓ of the dough over the top to make a pamphlet shape.
- Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat this process twice more.
- Once finished rolling, cut the dough into two and use your cupped hands to shape each piece into a flat disc gently.
- Wrap the dough discs up tightly using compostable plastic wrap or beeswax wrap. Chill it in the fridge for at least two hours or up to two days before using it in your favorite pie recipes.
Now that you know how to make your own pie crust, let’s jump into some of our favorite easy pie recipes!
Easy Apple Pie Recipe
By: Tatiana Lewis
Buckle up for a trip down the tasty lane as we explore a beloved classic – the apple pie. But, before we roll up our sleeves and start baking, let’s check out the lineup of ingredients that will make this dessert a star at your table.
- 2 (9″) pie crusts
- 7 large Granny Smith apples-peeled, cored, and sliced into ½ inch slices
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus the zest of half of a lemon)
- 1 large egg -lightly beaten in a small bowl for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons of sugar to sprinkle on top of egg wash-optional
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Then, toss to coat evenly.
2. Remove the pie crust dough from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc into a 12″ circle that is ⅛” thick. Carefully lay the crust into the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate.
3. Spoon the apple filling over the bottom crust and discard the juices at the bottom of the bowl. Roll out the second disc of pie crust until it is ⅛” thick and lay it over the apple filling.
4. Use a sharp knife to trim the dough along the outside edge of the pie plate. Lift the edges where the two pie crusts meet, gently press to seal, and fold them under. Rotate the pie plate and repeat this process until the edges are neatly tucked under themselves. Cut four slits in the top of the dough to allow steam to vent. Then, place the pie on a baking sheet.
5. Brush the surface of the pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Cover the edges with a pie shield or a foil strip to keep them from over-browning during the first 25 minutes.
6. Bake at 400° F for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the pie shield, turn the oven down to 375° and continue to bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbly. Cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
7. Lastly, serve with vanilla ice cream or a slice of cheddar cheese on top.
If Apple Pie isn’t your thing, try out the following affordable and easy blueberry pie recipe.
Easy Blueberry Pie Recipe
By: Tatiana Lewis
Now, let’s talk about the star of the show – blueberry pie. Not only is this recipe incredibly delicious, but it’s also easy to make! Before we dive into the details, let’s explore the essential ingredients that will transform these little blue gems into a mouthwatering masterpiece.
- 2 (9″) pie crusts
- 6 cups (about 2 1/4 pounds) of fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and stems removed. (If using frozen, defrost and drain first.)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Make the bottom crust:
- Remove a dough disc from the refrigerator and sit at room temp for 5-10 minutes.
- Place it on a lightly floured, clean, flat surface. Then, roll it out into a circle about 13 inches wide.
- Place the rolled-out dough onto a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the edges to 1/2 inch over the edge of the pie tin. Lastly, place it in the refrigerator to chill.
Make the blueberry filling:
1. Pull the second disc of dough from the refrigerator so it can come to temp while you make the filling.
2. Place the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Gently stir them so that all the blueberries are coated with some sugar and cornstarch.
3. Remove the bottom crust from the refrigerator and place the sugar-coated berries into the pan.
4. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to the same size and thickness as the first. Then, place on top of the berry filling.
5. Tuck the top dough over and under the edge of the bottom dough. Then, crimp the edges with your fingers.
6. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
7. Brush the pie with the egg wash. Whisk egg and milk together to make an egg wash, then brush the top crust with egg wash. Score the pie on the top with several cuts, so steam can escape while cooking.
8. Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven with a foil or Silpat-lined baking pan positioned on the lower rack, so it can catch any filling that may bubble over.
9. Bake for 20 minutes at 425° F. Reduce heat to 350° F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more or until juices are bubbling and have thickened.
10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before serving.
What have we learned?
As you can see, making pie crust and pie itself can be easy and fun to do. So today, let’s come together to celebrate the magic of pies. Whether you’re savoring a beloved family recipe or trying a new flavor for the first time, take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and love that goes into every slice. We hope you enjoy these easy pie recipes! Happy Baking!
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