Pies 2: Streusel

2007-09-20

Cherry Cream Cheese PieWednesday was a whirlwind evening in which we made two different kinds of pies from scratch in just under 3 hours. First off, we made the cream cheese filling for the first pie which we poured into crusts made from dough we made and froze last week. Sandwiched in the middle was some cherry pie filling and we covered the pie with a simple brown sugar streusel. The final touch was some cinnamon sugar sprinkled over top.

Strawberry Rhubarb Apple Streusel PieAs that was baking, we started on the fruit pie featuring strawberries, rhubarb and apple. We cooked diced apples in butter and brown sugar until they were slightly soft, then poured in a copious quantity of cornstarch dissolved in water. This became very thick, and we stirred it into a bowl of frozen strawberries and rhubarb which Chef had already blanched and drained before class. The fruit mixture was poured into our pie crusts, then topped with the same streusel mixture as for the first pie, but with the addition of oatmeal and chopped pecans.

First, some critique: the crimping I did on the crusts' edges were mostly lost after baking. Either a different crust recipe or more exaggerated fluting would be necessary to stand up to baking. Our recipe used all shortening, which rolls out like a dream, and bakes up crispy, but is mostly flavourless. The streusel topping was made in a mixer, and our butter was too soft, so it ended up in big clumps which baked into hard chunks difficult to cut through. Perhaps my biggest complaint was the dry interior of the fruit pie. I prefer mine to have a little bit of juiciness, but the amount of cornstarch we used ensured that each slice would cut cleanly.

All in all, both pies tasted alright. My coworkers really enjoyed the cheesecake in a pie, though I found a rich creamy filling inside a pie crust topped with streusel much too heavy. The combination in the fruit pie is tasty, but I wasn't fond of so much thickener.

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