What could be easier? Why mess with pie pans and rolling pins. OK... you will need to roll it out once. Here I will document how I made 2 free form pies, or as I recently found out are called galettes.
Be gentle.. this is my first Instructable.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies:
6.5 oz or 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour *
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
3 oz cream cheese, chilled
4 oz unsalted butter, frozen and cubed
1 1/2 tbsp ice water
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, chilled
For the Apple Filling
4 tart apples, cored, sliced 1/8" thin
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1oz butter, frozen and cubed
For the Berry Filling
16 oz, 2 cups, blueberries and/ or strawberries, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp lemon zest, grated
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 oz butter, frozen and cubed
- I prefer to weigh out my flour because it will give consistent results. You can get pretty random results if you measure out by cups. For instance, some may pour the flour into the measuring cups while others spoon it in. If you don't have a scale, I believe the preferred method is to scoop the flour and then brush off the cup level.
Baking stone because there is no pan. Pizza stones can be found for $10. Or how about some Terra Cotta tiles. Alternatively, you can use a heavy baking pan that was preheated in the oven
Measuring spoons and cups
Pastry Cutter, this is a necessity if you want to make any kind of pie. You can use two or more butter knives. *Or Food Processor.. more on that later
Step 2: Prep:
If you want a flaky crust you have to keep the butter in a reasonably separate state. This means keeping the dough cold as you work it. You need some space in your fridge or freezer to keep the dough cold.
Chill the cream cheese.
Freeze all the butter. Cut into 1/2" cubes and keep chilled.
You should preheat your oven. Especially if you are using stones.
Step 3: Crust: Round One
Start out by sifting your flour, salt and baking soda into a nice wide bowl. Add your chilled cream cheese in large dollops and the butter chunks.
Using a pastry cutter, cut into the butter and flour using the same motion as you would when you mash potatoes. Make sure to stomp around the bowl and combine all the flour. What you want is to break the butter down into pea sized chunks.
You can cheat the process by using a food processor but you will have to be careful to only pulse the mixture as the machine will quickly overheat and melt the butter. Overprossessing might lead to cakey flat crust.
You are finished when you have no large chunks left or unmoistened flour. Chill for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Crust: Round Two
Get ready to get your hands dirty.
Add the iced water and lemon juice.
Mash the crumb mixture together. It will be loose at first. You don't want to go to hard but just enough to make bigger clumps.
Eventually as it warms up it will be a little more pliable. Combine into a ball and chill again for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Crust: Round Three
Lay out a sheet of parchment on your peel or spare baking sheet. Take the dough out of the bowl and flatten it down onto the parchment. Fold it 2 or 3 times. Make sure it is well combined and a little stretchy. Lay down another piece of parchment on top. Roll out the dough to a rough 12 - 14" circle.
Chill flat for at least 10 minutes. While you are chilling, continue onto the filling.
Step 6: Filling
Toss your fruit with the lemon juice, sugar, spices. If you are using apples it is beneficial to let them sit at room temperature for a 1/2 hour.
You should have your butter ready from the previous step.
Step 7: Forming
The forming of the pie is all up to you. It will depend on how much crust you like.
For my apple pie, I overlapped the apples in concentric circles and left a small 1" border. I then went around the edge and flipped and bunched it together. Try not to waste too much time with the design as you want to keep your dough cold. Mine warmed up and left holes from stretching too much.
For the blueberry pie, I poured the berry mixture into the center. Then I folded the sides in half way to the center, overlapping and pinching as I went.
It is very important through the process to not tear the dough or leave any low edges. Any and all tears will allow juices to leak out and spill onto your baking sheet and, if not rimmed, your oven.
For the final step, take the butter and dot the fruit that is still visible through the crust.
Step 8: Baking
Bake it at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven when crust becomes golden brown and fruit is tender.
Let cool completely. The fruit will thicken.