Our Top 5 Tips for a Perfect Pie + Recipe Inspiration

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; The market shelves are bursting with every shape and colour of produce absolutely ripe for the picking!

Although berry season got off to a late start from all the rain, it’s been one of the best years for them to date, which you likely already know if you’ve made your way through a pint of perfectly ruby red strawberries. The wet season helped them plump up, and the steamy hot sun we’ve been getting has turned them into edible jewels bursting with summer flavour. We’re now smack-dab in the middle of stone fruit season as well, and if you haven’t hovered over a napkin while slurping a sumptuously plump and juicy peach, you’re missing out. Both Quebec and Ontario peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, currents, gooseberries, nectarines and more are in their prime and begging to be both devoured from the pint and baked into the most incredible treats.

We’ve been eating our weight in market fruits the last month, and now that we’ve (almost) had our fill of them right from the basket, we’re ready to start packing them into some of our favourite Red Apron pies so we can share them with you!

We always have at least 2-3 varieties of fruit pies on hand, all made daily in house and sold either fresh or in our freezer so you’ve always got some options. Currently on offer, our Strawberry Rhubarb Pie made with berries and rhubarb from Rideau Pines Farm, as well as Blueberry Peach, Raspberry Mango and Mixed Berry pies. If you’re in the mood for something more savoury, we’ve got a scrumptious Curried Chicken Pie with Potatoes, Peas, Carrots and Sultanas as well as our Braised Pork & Enright Cattle Co Beef Pie with Plums and Sage.

Our Best Tips and Tricks for Pie Season

1. Choose the Right Fat: We do an all butter crust in the shop because we feel it produces the flakiest, most flavourful crust. Using lard is also fine if you can find high quality rendered leaf lard (made from the high-quality fat around the kidneys and loin of the pig) but often the lard you find in grocery stores is highly processed and not worth buying.

2. Keep Cool: When making a pie crust, you want to keep your ingredients and equipment as cold as possible. I often measure my dry ingredients into a glass or steel bowl and keep it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before I cut in the fat. Another great tip is to cut your butter or lard into small pieces in advance and put them in the freezer for a little bit before you add to the dry ingredients. This way, everything is as cold as possible and you’ll end up with a beautiful flaky crust.

3. Roll With It: When you’re ready to roll out your dough, you can keep the dough even by working the rolling pin in the center of the dough and not rolling all the way to the edges. You’ll have greater control over the thickness of the dough if you keep the pin toward the center — the closer you get to the rim, the more likely you are to roll the pin off the edges, flattening them and making the dough uneven. Rotate the dough a quarter-turn each time you roll.

4. Fruit Filling Formula: No matter the filling, we like to stick to this formula from Food52; 5 cups fruit; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/4 cup cornstarch; big pinch salt. You can adjust sugar as needed. If your fruit is very acidic you may want to add a little more, if it’s super sweet you can reduce the amount.

5. Let it Cool: Think of the cooling time, typically a few hours for a fruit pie, as a part of the baking process. Your pie needs that time to set so it’s not too loose and watery. If you want to eat the pie at night, bake it in the morning. If you want it in the morning, bake it the night before.

Pies of All Kinds

If you’re looking to break out of that same-old-same pie routine, we’ve rounded up six pies that are sure to inspire. Happy baking!

1. Rustic Plum Biscuit Pie
2. Blueberry Basil Pie
3. Ginger Peach Pie
4. Fresh Apricot and Chocolate Pie
5. Mixed Cherry and Goat Cheese Pie
6. Raspberry Rhubarb Pie