Tuesday Tutorials- Perfect Lattice Top Apple Pie

've been doing a lot of thinking about this little spot in the blogosphere lately. About what makes this little piece of the pie (no pun intended) more special, more worthy of your attention than any other, and the thing that kept coming to mind, is that I am a professional. I have not only gone to school to be a baker but I have worked for countless talented people who have shown me so many tricks along the way. Most people who write on the internet don't have that advantage, and so begins “Tuesday Tutorials” in which I share these tricks of the trade with you, my loyal readers. The idea being that once a week I will write something kind of fundamental, a basic, and show you how I make it, and the way I do that makes it so good.

And to start, pie.

There are few things better than the smell of homemade apple pie. It is so quintessentially North American, so perfectly Fall, so designed for November weather. Apple pie is darn near perfect.

My mother makes a mean apple pie. A mean pie in general really, despite her absolute failings on many a cake, my mom kills pie. Seriously.

This is a recipe for a pie that is both hers and mine, I make mine with more butter than hers, she adopted her recipe from her mother, and growing up in The Depression, shortening was easier to come by than butter, but in these modern times I have no trouble at all with the subsition.

There are two ways of making pie filling though. You can cook the fruit before hand, add in corn starch or flour and thicken up the juices or you can put it all in raw. You get very different results with these methods, and in bakeries you almost always get the cooked before variety. And while I think this method is great for juicy berry pies, when I make an apple pie I put in the fruit raw, then top it all with brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour to thicken it up. It’s how my mom made it, and so it tastes like home to me. And that, good friends, is what apple pie is all about.

The real tutorial here though is how to make a perfect lattice top to your pie, the kind that friends will ooh and ahh over, and you can revel in self satisfaction when you sit it on the counter to cool. A lattice top pie is not something to brush off, it takes some skill, and it demands it when you put it on the counter. Unless of course, you follow this tip, which just makes it so easy.

The thing to do is freeze it. Make the lattice on a baking sheet and freeze it, it will only take about half an hour, just enough time to cut up all the apples and make yourself a cup of tea. And then slowly put the top of the pie onto the pie crust, you get a perfect crust every time, and you save the stress of making the lines perfect on an imperfect surface like a rounded pie top. And you get to schedule yourself tea making time, and that friends, is always a perk.

Lattice Top Apple Pie

2c AP Flour

1c Cold, salted Butter, cubed

Ice water


8 cups of chopped apples, a mix, I used ambrosia, pink lady, granny smith and macintosh.

1c AP Flour

2c Brown Sugar

1tbsp Cinnamon


1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp cream or milk

3 tbsp Coarse Sugar

In a large bowl mix together the flour and butter. Using either a pastry cutter or, like I do, your hands, break apart the butter into lima bean sized pieces.

Slowly incorporate the water, stirring with a fork, adding just enough for the dough to follow to fork as you stir.

With your hands bring the dough together and knead it gently- squish it out with your palms and then fold it over. Repeat this 4-5 times or until the dough gets even the slightest bit tough. Wrap with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Unwrap the dough and cut in in half.

On a lightly floured surface roll out one half of the dough in a large circle until it will fit your pie dish. Gently place your rolling pin the center of the circle, then drape one side of the dough over top. Pick up the rolling pin and place it on the pie dish and smooth out the dough.

Put this in the fridge.

Put a silpat of a piece of floured parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Roll out the other piece of dough in a long strip, making sure that it is as wide as your pie dish.

Cut this into strips widthwise.

On the silpat arrange the strips as you see in the picture below, and slowly start weaving them together,

one over one under until you get a nice basket weave.

Now put this in the freezer and let it get nice and cold and hard. This is the trick- once the dough is hard you can just slide it on your pie, no finicking the edges or getting filling on the topping.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Pull out the bottom of the pie and shake half the flour onto the bottom of the crust.

While the top is freezing start chopping your apples. Peel and core then and slice them thinly and put them into the bottom shell, layering different kinds.

Top with the rest of the flour, the brown sugar and the cinnamon.

Take the lattice top out of the oven and gently put your hand underneath it and place it upon your pie.

Push the edges down into the corners and cut off any edges of your pie, or fold them over to create a a scalloped edge.

Wash with the egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.

Put in the oven and immediately bring the temperature down to 325F.

Do not open the oven door for at least the first 20 minutes or cooking.

After twenty minutes rotate the pie and cook for another half hour or until the juices start bubbling in the center an an inserted paring knife meets little resistance when pushed into the center of the pie.

And there you have it, the easiest most delicious apple pie.

Momofuko Crack Pie

I think I might have completely fallen in love with this if not for the name,

Crack pie. Named of course, after the highly addictive drug whos prevelance in Vancouver has led to the notorious Downtown East Side. No joking around here. It’s a big name to live up to. You’d almost feel sorry for it really, so much hype in the title, it couldn’t possibly stand up.

It is, indisputably, a very good pie. It really is, it’s sort of a glorified butter tart perhaps, (for the non-Canadians out there, it’s like a pecan pie without the pecans). It’s nuttier then the usual because of the cleverly made crust, which is filled with toasted oats, and I made mine nuttier still by adding hazelnuts, and also some chocolate which meant you really only needed a small slice. Perhaps that was it, I just didn’t really want more then one slice. The addictive neede-to-have-you just wasn’t there, but it’s hard to say. I think there is a pretty good chance that had it been called, oh, butter tart with toasted oat crust, I would have fallen helplessly for it. I think, in fact, that it’s likely. 

Crack Pie

(from the Momofuko Milk Bar Cookbook, by Christina Tosi and David Chang)

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350F

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add in all the remaining ingredients except the oats. Stir until just combined and add oats.

Spread out with your hands (if you get them a little wet they won’t stick as much!) and bake until it becomes a golden brown and the cookie is cooked through. As you’ll be crumbling and rebaking it, ere on the side of over crisp then gooey.

Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk powder
1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.

 Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.

Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.

Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.

Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. Serve cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Pop Up Dinner!

 I’m doubting I mentioned this, but a few months ago one of my favourite people in the world lost her brother. He took his own life. It was a devestating and unexpected, and heatbreaking time, it still is for his family. I’m not just friends with his sister but also with his cousin, Kelsi, and her boyfriend Sam,who lost his step dad this year also from suicide. What I’m saying here is that suicide has been on my mind, and it’s been on theirs even more. 

They have a friend who works for a suicide prevention and education non-for-profit called Need2 an organization that relied largely on the government for it’s funding and that funding has recently been cut off completely. If it goes under there would be no suicide support or hotline anywhere on Vancouver Island. Which is terrible, and hard to handle after the year we’ve had.  So they decided to do something about it.

This is Kelsi. She is kind, organized and has a great laugh. 

The dude with the mo is Sam, he is an incredibly talented chef and maker of cured meats. 

And together they put on a fundraiser dinner at the completely charming Cabin12 restaurant. It had things on the menu like smoked salmon with watercress mousse,

Duck confit perogies, 

Bacon wrapped venison loins, 

and momofukko style crack pie with local hazelnuts and chocolate 

And macarons, of course. There were 15 volunteers all together, serving, pouring drinks, and dishing it all out in the kitchen. Some jobs (like bringing 60 macarons, the most delicate cookies on the planet, on a bus and a ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria) were more fun than others, but it was a wonderful group of people.  

And then I spent the next day eating things like deep fried mac and cheese, because that exists. And it’s wonderful!

We also checked out Fol Epi, which is a glorious bakery, just glorious, and it makes wonderful croissants, gorgeous macarons, and the best baguette I’ve had in Canada. And I don’t say that lightly. 

I will have recipes up soon, I just thought in the meantime I would show you what I did this week, and let you all know about Need2, a great organization that needs help!