Tag Archives: pies

Molly Yeh’s Ghost Hand Pies Are a Spooky and Savoury Halloween Appetizer

Although the days are getting shorter and the air crisper, it’s hard to begrudge the changing season when it brings us all the spooky fun of Halloween. Although the annual tradition of dressing up and trick-or-treating might look a little different this year, that hasn’t stopped Girl Meets Farm‘s Molly Yeh from conjuring up one of the best ghoulish hand pie recipes we’ve ever seen.

Homemade pie dough, sharp Cheddar and Dijon mustard form the crux of this mouth-watering savoury treat that will become an instant Halloween classic in your household.

Related: Spookylicious 2020: These Are the Hauntingly Entertaining Shows Coming to Your Screen

Ghost Hand Pies With Honey Dijon

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Yields: 8 small pies

Ingredients:

Pie Dough:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Ghost Pies:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs pie dough (homemade is best, but store-bought will work too), recipe follows
All-purpose flour, for dusting
4 oz sharp Cheddar, finely chopped (1/4-inch cubes or smaller) or shredded
1 large egg, lightly beaten with a splash of water (for the egg wash)
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey

Related: Our All-Time Favourite Pie Recipes, From Classics to Clever Twists

Directions:

Pie Dough:
1. To make the dough, combine the cider vinegar and 6 tablespoons water in a measuring cup and stick it in the fridge (or the freezer even) to get really cold. In a large bowl or food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and either use your hands to toss it with the flour and pinch the butter into flat sheets, or pulse in the food processor, incorporating the butter so that about 75 per cent of the mixture is mealy. The rest of the mixture should have some slightly larger, pea-sized bits of butter. Drizzle in the vinegar and water and mix with your hands or continue to pulse in the food processor just until the mixture comes together to form a dough. If it seems dry or is having a hard time coming together, add a bit more water a few drops at a time until it comes together. Turn it out onto a clean surface, using your hands to press on any stray crumbs, and divide the dough in half. Pat the halves into discs, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

See More: Molly Yeh’s Flaky Dill Bread, The Perfect Use for Leftover Herbs

Ghost Pies:
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions with a good pinch of salt and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water is evaporated and the onions are lightly caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

3. Divide the pie dough into 8 equal parts and shape into balls (keep half of the dough balls covered in the fridge while you aren’t working with them to keep them cold). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the balls to ovals that are 8 inches long and about 6 inches wide. Top the bottom half of each dough piece with a pile of cheese and a pile of onions, leaving a 1-inch border. In the top half of each dough piece, punch out an upside down ghost face with piping tips or tiny round cookie cutters (it’s upside down so that when you fold it over on top of the filling, it’s right-side up). Brush the edges with egg, fold the top down over the filling and fold the sides in on themselves so that you have ghost shape. (Or, rather, a shape of a tiny kid in a bedsheet ghost costume that’s lying down.) Press around the side and bottom edges to seal, transfer to the baking sheets, brush the tops all over with egg wash and sprinkle with a little salt.

4. Bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.

5. Mix together the Dijon mustard and honey in a small bowl. Serve the hand pies warm or at room temperature with the mustard sauce.

Watch Girl Meets Farm and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Flour 101 holiday cookies

Flour 101: Your Guide to Mastering Holiday Baking

Although most home bakers are working on a smaller scale than the sky-high creations seen on The Big Bake, there’s still a lot of pressure around the holidays, especially when it comes to baking family favourites and traditional holiday treats. Set yourself up for baking success by choosing the right type of flour for a number of applications, from homemade cookies to gingerbread houses. This expert advice will cover some helpful tricks and recipes to help take the stress out of holiday baking. Please remember to have fun and make holiday baking a family event. Also, always ensure that safe food handling of flour is followed. Enjoy!

The Basics

In general, paying attention to the protein level in flour and applying it accordingly will give you the best results, as the higher the protein content, the more structure the final product will have. Hard winter wheat and hard spring wheat flour are primarily used for yeast leavened products like breads, pizzas and tortillas. You may see this flour called All-purpose, bread, pizza or no-time dough. Soft wheat flour is primarily used for sweet baked goods like cakes, cookies, muffins, cake donuts and biscuits and is often called pastry flour, cake flour or hi-ratio cake flour.

See more: Ardent Mills’ complete flour portfolio including definitions and best-used-for applications.

Cookies

A large batch of cookies is the perfect plan-ahead project to have stashed away for unexpected company, gifts, office cookie exchanges, or just enjoying in front of the fire (don’t forget to save some for Santa!). Typically for cookies where a tender touch is required such as the traditional Linzer cookie, softer varieties such as a cake or pastry flour are used to give a lighter, melt-in-your-mouth tender texture that still has enough structure to hold a filling like jam or icing.

For sturdier cookies,  like those used for constructing gingerbread houses (like this very Canadian gingerbread cabin) a lower protein hard wheat flour, like  All-purpose flour can be helpful.

Tip: Most cookies will freeze well, making them a true timesaver for the busy holidays. Make large batches early and freeze them in airtight containers to ice or decorate later. You can also prepare the cookie dough ahead of time and freeze, to quickly bake fresh, as needed.

Cakes

Both all-purpose flour and cake flour play a part in cake baking. To get Bundt cakes (such as this festive orange-cranberry version) to stand tall and withstand a filling of vibrant berries, all-purpose flour helps add heft. A bûche de noël (yule log), on the other hand, requires that the cake be soft enough to roll around a creamy filling without cracking, which is where cake flour shines.

When baking gluten-free cakes (like this gluten-free marble pound cake) there are many options in terms of gluten-free flour, including naturally gluten-free ancient-grains such as amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff available from The Annex by Ardent Mills. Or you may consider using an organic flour to replace the conventional flour in the recipe. Ardent Mills has organic offerings under the brand Simply Milled by Ardent Mills™ in both all-purpose or pastry flour that are suitable for cakes. This will certainly appeal to the health-conscious members of your family to bake cakes made with organic flour, without having to adjust the entire recipe.

Tip: Be sure to cool cakes completely before adding frosting to avoid runny icing and peeling tops. Chill cakes and ensure frosting is firm before wrapping and freezing to avoid ruining decorations.

Holiday Pudding

Depending on which side of the pond you hail from, pudding can mean either a post-meal sweet, a cake-like sponge or a custardy creation. Steamed British-style puddings — such as the plum and figgy pudding made famous through Christmas carols — use trusty all-purpose flour and a bain-marie (water bath) to keep them moist throughout baking. Often referred to as “instant-blending” flour, granular flour can be used to thicken custards and other pudding-style confections, without creating lumps or the need for a roux.

Tip: Puddings are perfect to make ahead for the holidays. Try this luscious caramel and salted butter pudding, which uses a boil and chill setting method,  as an easy plating or topping option.

Breads

The smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the air makes any home feel cozy for the holidays. Bread flour packs a powerhouse of protein and plenty of stretchy gluten, making sure your loaf has a firm interior and crispy brown crust. Ciabatta bread takes advantage of this stickiness to produce an artisan bread with a chewy texture. Whole wheat, whole grain, rye and barley flours can also be used in bread baking, producing a loaf with a deep flavour and dense crumb.

For sweet breads, such as the perennial holiday favourite panettone, a lighter texture is preferred. All-purpose flour can be used to help the dough create the distinctive and desired dome-shaped structure.

Tip: Bake your festive creations ahead of time (be sure that you have a lot of room in the freezer) and defrost the bread in a low temperature oven for an easy savoury or sweet fruit-studded snack.

Pies

Perfect pie crust is an obsession for many bakers and with good reason — it is often viewed as both a science and an art. Although one of the many debates tends to be about whether to use lard, butter or shortening for the crust, the type of flour can also make a difference. Some recipes, such as this sugar pie, call for unbleached flour, according to the taste preferences of the baker. Pastry flour, which is often confused with cake flour, differs due to its slightly higher protein content. The added protein in this flour lends a bit more support for baked goods that need to have some structure while keeping the flaky texture, making it perfect for filled pies such as this mincemeat pie.

Tip: Prepare pie dough ahead of time and freeze in pre-portioned containers ready to thaw and roll out. The filling can also be prepared ahead of time to use later, or, depending on the pie, the crust can be blind baked, filled and frozen.

Safe food handling of flour

For safe food handling of flour, please make sure to follow these safety tips.

  • Do not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
  • Bake products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.

Looking for more holiday baking ideas? Check out full episodes of The Big Bake.

flapper-pie-karlynn-feature

Rediscovering Old-Fashioned Prairie Desserts

Karlynn Johnston is bringing your grandma’s baking back. We’re not talking jello salad, but rum balls, danties, squares and the ultimate Prairie classic, flapper pie.

With her new cookbook, aptly named, Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky, the Edmonton-based blogger behind The Kitchen Magpie, takes us back in time with recipes for classic Canadian desserts of yesteryear. Passed down on scraps of paper or typically only published in community cookbooks, Johnston has brought together a perfect selection of long forgotten sweets from Prairie kitchens past and present.

flapper pie and blue prairie sky

Flipping through the cookbook, each page takes you back to your grandmother’s kitchen, school bake sales and community halls, where many of these desserts have been enjoyed for generations.

“My grandma, out on the farm, would always have danties in the freezer for company,” says Johnston. “That was a big part of Prairie life.”

For Johnston, her love of baking started at a young age, where she spent summers in her grandmother’s farmstead kitchen in Dauphin, Manitoba. There she was put to work turning buckets of freshly picked blueberries and Saskatoons into dozens of freshly baked pies, made with classic Canadian Tenderflake dough.

“Pie days were a lot of work,” says Johnston. “She’d start in the morning. If you could fit three in the oven, you’d bake those for an hour and have the next ones ready. It was a huge assembly line.”
From there, the pies were cooled, wrapped and frozen for the cold Prairie winter. While she ample experience mixing, rolling and baking pie dough, she admits that she doesn’t quite have her grandmother’s touch.

“She had the lightest touch, out of everyone I know,” she says. “By touch she always knew if it needed a little more vinegar or cold water. She made the best pie pastry.”

Karlynn Johnston's Flapper Pie.

Excerpted from Flapper Pie and Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts by Karlynn Johnston. Copyright © 2016 Karlynn Johnston. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from Flapper Pie and Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts by Karlynn Johnston. Copyright © 2016 Karlynn Johnston. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Johnston prefers to make the simple graham crust of the classic Prairie flapper pie, which dons the cover of her book. Known as the ‘almost’ forgotten pie, the custard-filled treat topped with meringue is a family favourite across the prairies, with variations abound.

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me it’s the proper one, because it has cinnamon in the graham crust,” says Johnston, who received the recipe from her mother. Once she baked it up, and posted it on The Kitchen Magpie, she was flooded with nostalgic notes from readers.

“I had hundreds of people telling me they had forgotten about it,” says Johnston. “I think it is one of those foods that their grandmas and their aunts used to make and it just has the memories attached to it.”

“My mom didn’t make it, but she remembers her mom making it. Her generation forgot about it and now my generation is going back and recapturing all those memories.”

Saskatoon-Berry-Pie

Excerpted from Flapper Pie and Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts by Karlynn Johnston. Copyright © 2016 Karlynn Johnston. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Johnston isn’t surprised by the newfound love for classic recipes, especially Canadian ones. With new, over the top food trends popping up almost daily, she thinks that people still crave that down home comfort.

“It is fantastic to go to a restaurant and eat it, but these (classic recipes) are the recipes that mean the most to us,” she says.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t open to creative twists on the classics. Her book is riddled with new interpretations of Canadian sweets, including her new favourite: Saskatoon Butter Tart Pie.

“There’s something about the flavours that are perfect,” she says. “You won’t think they would work but it does really, really well. It is like the culmination of everything Prairies in one recipe.”

10 Best Places for Pie Across Canada

If you’ve been living in Canada long enough, you already know that pies are one of our country’s most beloved and iconic desserts. Whether it’s the seasonal fruit pies or creative twists on classics, here are 10 of the best places to get pie in Canada.

rustique-pie-kitchen2

Rustique Pie Kitchen

Goodies Bake Shop (Winnipeg, MB)

Expect nothing but the classics from this indulgent little spot in Winnipeg. Of course, you can get a lemon meringue pie with the meringue piled high, but anyone who’s a fan of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups will be more than happy with the chocolate peanut butter pie.

Mabel’s Bakery (Toronto, ON)

With a few locations around Toronto, it’s easy to find your way to a Mabel’s to grab a pie on your way home from work. Granted, if you’re too late, they may all be gone — so you might want to stop by on your way to work instead. Heading into the holiday season, a well-made pecan pie is always appreciated after a big dinner and, luckily, they’ve got you covered here.

mabels-bakery

Mabel’s Bakery

The Flaky Tart (Toronto, ON)

This classic bakery is a popular spot for a simple, homemade pie like cinnamony sweet apple. With a more simple approach to pies and their fillings, these versions are easy to pick up and pawn off as your own at a dinner party. I’m not saying you should lie to your friends, but if you’re a terrible baker and tasked with making dessert for a potluck, the choice is yours!

Life of Pie (Ottawa, ON)

Arguably the city’s most popular pie shop, this great little spot offers a nice range of pies, with a slew of different weekly flavours. Always expect some fruit varieties (pear ginger crisp was this past Wednesday), quiches and much more. And yes, if you’re wondering, it always smells ridiculously good in here.

the-pie-hole-1

The Pie Hole

Pie Cloud (Calgary, AB)

Not just somehwere to go just for some take-home pie, this newer eatery in the Kensington neighbourhood is all pie, through-and-through — offering it up for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Try a wintery option like the Turkey Dinner, made with a stuffing “crust”, turkey, tender vegetables, mashed potatoes and cranberry relish. You’ll find the usual pie suspects here (apple, pecan, etc.), but try the Marshmallow Mermaid for something more new and fresh: orange and blue curaçao curd in a flaky crust with a marshmallow topping.

The Pie Hole (Vancouver, BC)

There is creativity abound with the in-crusted creations from Pie Hole. Maple French Toast Bacon and Bourbon Pecan Pumpkin are just two of the delicious pie varieties that shoul have your mouth watering in no time. They don’t have a proper bricks and mortar location, but customers are still able to find their goods at shops and cafes around the city, as well as online.

the-pie-hole-2

The Pie Hole

The Pie Lady’s Drive-up Bake Shop (Halifax, NS)

Too quirky not to mention, this mom-and-pop operation is an online-only ordering system, where you select your pies from a drop-down menu. You can then head over to their shop where they hand you freshly baked pies through the car window. How sweet is that?

The Pie Shoppe (Vancouver, BC)

With choices like walnut and bourbon and salted honey, it becomes apparent (after looking through the bake case) that this is not your standard pie shop. Big on seasonality, don’t expect to see the bakers offering you a cherry pie in the middle of winter. Don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee while you’re here, since they roast their own beans in house.

Rustique Pie Kitchen (Montreal, QC)

One of the nicest things about pies is they’re meant for sharing — so if you’re looking for a simple dessert option for dinner, you can’t really go wrong here. Rustique’s pie options change with the season, so right now you can find a freshly baked strawberry rhubarb pie sitting on display screaming, “Take me home with you!” Naturally, you will.

rustique-pie-kitchen

Rustique Pie Kitchen

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky (Toronto, ON)

Custard-filled, cream-filled, and almost any fresh fruit you can imagine, Wanda’s got it going on at her popular bake shop. The chocolate bottom pecan pie is a fun spin on the classic, with a chocolate shortbread base. You also can’t go wrong with the “Ambrosia,” which is a rich myriad of flavours with peaches, wild blueberries, apples, pecans and raspberries. With Wanda by your side, you can’t lose at dessert this holiday season.

wandas-pie-in-the-sky

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky

canadian-pie

6 Classic Canadian Pies You Need to Try

Classic Canadian Pies infographic
Design by Alexandra Tanner

Get the Recipes

Flapper Pie
A popular dessert in the Prairies, this rich custardy pie is made with graham crumb crust and topped with meringue.

Maple Pie
Silky, sweet and creamy, this delicious treat boasts the one ingredient all Canadians love: maple syrup.

Sugar Pie
Also known as Tarte Au Sucre, this Quebec favourite is buttery, sweet and melt-in-your mouth good.

Apple Pie
Classic and comforting, nothing beats a slice of freshly baked warm apple pie featuring Canada’s great produce.

Tourtiére Pie
This savoury French-Canadian dish boasts a medley of hearty flavours in one incredible dish.

Pecan Pie
Similar to its cousins, Maple Pie and Sugar Pie, this rich dessert is just as tempting but offers more crunch.