Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Mr. Darcy Pies

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic QuotesI've had a love affair with classic fiction for as long as I can remember.  I grew up reading the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie books and ran free with Heidi across the Swiss alps.  I wanted to be one of the March sisters in Little Women, and cried when Polly and Tom finally fell in love in An Old Fashioned Girl.  I dreamed and imagined and played along with Anne of Green Gables.  I had a pretty serious crush on Teddy in the Emily of New Moon series.

In junior high and high school, I watched every movie version there was of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.  And in college, with a Creative Writing degree and a minor in English Lit, I finally read through all of Jane Austen's novels, along with classic English books by so many other authors...


The quotes from Pride and Prejudice are some of the best, most romantic lines ever written, in my opinion, and about a year ago I started a series of pies I decided to call my Mr. Darcy pies.  Not all of the quotes here are by him, but still, I like the title.  (Read to the end of the post for my tips on decorating these pies...)

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"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."
Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

People don't use words like ardently anymore, and that's what makes this line so incredible.  I just love it.  I even have a coffee cup with this quote on it.




Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes


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"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune
must be in want of a wife."
the opening line of Pride and Prejudice

I love how the book is peppered with sarcasm and witty lines like this, really showing us Jane Austen's sense of humor.




Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes


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"You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you."
Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

This line is from the 2005 movie adaptation.  This film isn't as true to the book as the 1995 BBC production with Colin Firth, but I love it.  The music, the scenery, the actors... it's all just phenomenal.




Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes


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"I should have been a great many things."
- Jo March, Little Women

This one breaks away from my Pride and Prejudice theme, but it's a quote that I just love, and I shared some thoughts about this recently on my Instagram.



Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic Quotes




Pie Decorating Tips:
  1. To start, let's talk about the pie crust recipe.  I've used this recipe and this recipe, both all-butter pie crusts, with equal success for this decorating technique.  My recipes yield enough dough for both the bottom and top crusts, with enough scraps left over to make the decorative cutouts.  I haven't used store-bought pie dough in many years, but I imagine it would work just as well, so if that's your preference, choose a brand you like, and just have fun with the decorating.
  2. For the cutouts, you'll want to look for plunger-style pie crust cutters.  These have a spring-loaded plunger that stamps the design on the cutout, while the edge cuts the shape.  I've purchased many of mine from Williams Sonoma over the years, and the quality is excellent.  Check their website or stores to see what styles they're currently selling.  You can also find these types of cutters at Michaels stores, on Amazon, and on Etsy.
  3. To make the quotes, you'll want to look for "snap-together letter embossers".  I bought mine from Craftsy (which is now Bluprint) years ago.  I've also seen similar ones on Amazon.  They're very easy to use, and I've used them on both pie dough and fondant.  I think you can also stamp royal icing, but I haven't had any success with that, as the icing has to be a very specific consistency, and royal icing isn't something I practice with much.
  4. You can pretty much use any kind of fruit filling for your pie.  One of these is peach, one is cherry, another is cranberry blueberry, and another is pear apple.  The apples won't work as well, though, unless you pre-cook (and then cool down) the apples a bit.  Since apples are typically mounded high in a pie plate and shrink down as they bake, your embossed design won't hold up as well over the mounded apples.  You need a flat, level filling to lay the top crust on so that your design is preserved as much as possible during the baking process.
  5. For the pie recipes, you can use any of my fruit pie recipes (or your favorite go-to recipe) with success.  Many of my fruit pie recipes start at a higher temperature (like 425) for 20 minutes or so, and then reduce to 375 for the remainder of the bake.  But for these designs, I like to bake them more slowly and steadily so that the top doesn't overly brown, so I baked these at 375 for anywhere from 60-90 minutes until the fruit was bubbling and thickened.  If the top crust started to get too dark, I simply laid a piece of foil over the top so that the pie could continue baking without burning the top.  Before baking, I like to brush my pies with nothing more than a simple egg white wash (1 egg white + 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle them lightly with plain granulated sugar (Turbinado sugar is commonly used on top of pies, but I dislike it as the coarse crystals melt into larger blotches and the darker color gives the finished pie a more yellow appearance).  A sprinkling of granulated sugar gives the pie a very nice sparkly, crunchy finish.  You can also use the egg wash to "glue" your decorative cutouts onto the top crust to hold them in place.
  6. Now, for my technique, and the basic process:
    • If I'm pre-cooking my filling, I will usually do that the day before to have that step out of the way, and to let it chill overnight in the fridge.  That way, on pie-baking day, I can focus all my time on the dough and decorating.
    • After I make my pie dough, I divide it into two equal portions and set half aside so that I'm only working with half at a time.  "Most" people, at this point, wrap their dough and refrigerate it before rolling it out.  I find that the opposite works best for me, so I roll mine out immediately after making it, and then let it chill a little before baking.
    • After rolling out half the dough, I fit it into my pie pan, trim the edges, and then set the pan in the fridge so it stays nice and cold.  Then I'll roll out the other half for my top crust.  To keep it neat and precise, I like to use a round cardboard circle as a template (8 inches for a circle that fits right on top, or 10 inches if I want extra dough around the edge to crimp it or something like that), lay it on the dough, and use a pastry cutter to trim the dough into a perfect circle.
    • I'll take my circle of dough and place it on a cutting board that I've lined with a piece of parchment paper.  Now, I will organize my snap-together letter embossers to make the words for my quote, and carefully stamp that into the top crust, dusting the embossers with a little flour if they stick to the dough.  Then I'll place the cutting board with the top crust in the fridge to let the top dough chill for a bit.
    • While that chills, I'll gather up all my scraps trimmed off the edges of the bottom and top crusts, roll them out again, and use my pie crust cutters to cut a variety of flowers and leaves for decorating the top of the pie.  I'll place all of those on the cutting board, as well, to chill.  I let all the dough chill for about 20-30 minutes.
    • While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  I always bake my pies on a baking sheet, to catch any drips from the filling.  Then I'll make my egg wash (1 egg white whisked together with 1 tablespoon water).  If my filling isn't a pre-cooked filling, I mix it up now.
    • Now it's time to assemble.  I place the chilled pie pan on the baking sheet and pour in my filling.  Then I fit the top crust over the filling, and brush the top crust lightly with the egg wash.  Next, I arrange all my decorative cutouts on top of the crust, using more egg wash as needed to glue them onto the crust.  I use a small fine mesh strainer to lightly sprinkle everything with granulated sugar.  And into the oven it goes!  I bake the pie for about 60-90 minutes, until the filling is thickened and bubbling, and the crust is a nice golden brown.  If the crust is getting too dark, I lay a piece of foil over the top to keep it from browning any more.
  7. The last thing to note is that the pie decorations will never, never look as pretty after baking as they do pre-bake.  This is just the way it is, and it's not because of anything you did wrong - pie dough just does what it wants to do when it bakes.  The embossed letters will lose some of their definition as the pie bakes and the crust gets nice and flaky, but with luck, you'll still be able to read the quote.  Here is another pie I shared last fall using this technique, and the letters held up beautifully during baking.  But the most important thing is the taste, right?  And a pie that has a perfectly flaky crust and a filling that's perfectly cooked is a great pie.  And being pretty to look at is just a nice bonus.

Whew, I think I covered it all!  If you have any more questions, please leave a comment, and I'll do my best to help.







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