In a few days, I’ll be teaching my first pie workshop ever with Lauren Ko of @lokokitchen Instagram fame at Feast Portland! I’m beyond excited; we are teaching one of her classic spoke* pie designs and I’ve spent the last few weeks practicing her original design and variations to make it my own. Although I’m still #teamcake (and will be, forever and ever), there’s something very therapeutic and absorbing about making one of these high-design pies — it makes me think I should get into macrame or knitting, two activities I’ve always doubted I have the patience for.
*A lot of you thought the spoke hole looked like something else. Genuinely surprised by how many of you have your mind in the gutter, tsk tsk.
Our class kicks off the start of a crazy next few weeks for me — in addition to the class, I’ll be celebrating the end of my Whole30 diet with various plates from famed chefs at Feast, Portland’s food festival thrown in partnership with Bon Appetit Magazine. I’m especially excited to sample dishes from Sean Brock of Husk in Charlston, SC; Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, CA; Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin TX; Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco, CA; Edouardo Jordan of Junebaby in Seattle, WA, and more. I’ve attended every Feast since the festival first started, and it’s been really cool to see it grow and evolve into the massive event that it is today. Never would have I thought that I’d be part of such an impressive lineup. Very cool.
After the festival, I’m heading straight to Paris to spend a few days touring the Staub factory with some of my favorite food people. Then I’m heading to London to eat my weight in Indian and Turkish food and gain back the 15 or so pounds I lost on the Hell30. I am into this plan, although I can feel my mom wagging her finger at me now in reproach.
I wish all y’all could join me for the class and my travels, but for now, we’ll have to do with this blog post for cherry lambic spoke pie. I’m not going to go into extensive detail on how to do the spoke design — you can get all the tips and tricks you need from this Tasty video — but I did share some tips and tricks below to make the process go by easier; be sure not to miss out the baker’s notes. As for the filling, I used the last of the extended summer season’s cherries and cooked them with cherry lambic beer to give them a sweeter, boozy flavor. Delicious.
- As mentioned in the blog post, you can see the spoke pie technique I used to make these pies by watching this Tasty video. However, Lauren rolls her dough out and slices everything by hand; while this is probably the easier way to go, I’m super anal and actually used my Kitchenaid’s pasta machine attachment to create my lattice strands. Doing so easily created long, even, thin pieces that were perfect to work with — I first used the pasta roller on setting 1 to roll the dough into a thin, even slab, before using the fettuccine cutter to slice the slab into strands.
- For me, the hardest part about baking pie is making sure that the crust keeps its shape in the oven. With spoke pies, in addition to worrying about the crust, you also need to worry about the filling bubbling up and being too runny, potentially ruining the spoke pie design you worked so hard on. To help prevent this, you can pre-cook the fruit beforehand to encourage it to release its juices and thicken significantly before being filled in the pie. After filling and assembling the pie, you’ll need to freeze the entire thing, loosely covered in plastic wrap, for at least 24 hours — but I usually go beyond that and make it a full 72 hours to make sure that it’s icy hard. To help keep its shape, it needs to be as frozen as possible when it enters the oven. And finally, baking the pie at a lower temperature for longer also helps keep its shape in the oven. The recipes below reflect these tips and work wonderfully for any design beyond the spoke pie.
Cherry Lambic Spoke Pie
- Special Equipment: a food processor
For the Pie Dough
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) very cold water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice
- 1 cup (8 ounces) very cold unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Cherry Lambic Pie Filling
- 1 cup (8 ounces) cherry lambic beer (I used Lindeman's Kriek)
- 3 1/2 cups 2 pounds cherries, de-stemmed and pitted
- 1/4 cup tightly packed (1.85 ounces) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
- 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon water
For the Pie Dough
- In a liquid measuring cup, combine 6 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup ice. Whisk to combine and transfer to the refrigerator to chill as you prep the other ingredients.
- Use a sharp knife to slice 1 cup unsalted butter into 1-inch cubes and transfer to the freezer to chill as you prep the other ingredients.
- Combine 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds to combine the ingredients. Remove the butter from the freezer and add to the dry mixture; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with no pieces larger than your thumbnail, around 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the water and vinegar from the fridge, and, with the food processor running on low, add 6 tablespoons of water in quick succession through the feed tube and pulse just enough to moisten the dry ingredients — it will look like the ingredients aren't coming together into a dough, but use your hands to pick up a tablespoon's worth. Squeeze it together; if the dough holds, then you're good to go! If it still feels dry and crumbly in your hands, you'll need to add another tablespoon of water and pulse the ingredients once more.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture out into a large bowl. Use your hands to quickly knead the mixture together to form a dough mound. Turn the mound out onto a surface and use a bench scraper to divide into two even halves. Form each half into a small ball and punch both down into a small disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour before rolling out.
For the Cherry Lambic Pie Filling
- Transfer 1 cup cherry lambic beer to a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Cook over medium heat and reduce until the beer to 1/2 cup. Add half the cherries and 1/4 cup brown sugar and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for another 15 minutes, or until the cherries have released their juices and darkened in color.
- In a large bowl, toss the remaining cherries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup cornstarch until the cherries are completely coated. Add the cooked cherries and mix until well combined. Let cool to room temperature before filling the pie.
Assembly and Baking
- After you’ve assembled and frozen the pie overnight (see baker’s notes), make egg wash by whisking together 1 large egg white and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Position a rack on the lowest position possible in the oven and preheat to 375 (F). Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove the pie from the freezer and place in the center of the prepared sheet pan. Use a pastry brush to brush the crust and lattice with the egg wash. Transfer the sheet pan containing the pie to the lowest rack of the preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.