Pre-made pie crusts & best fresh apple source for pies?
Ok, my yearly pie urge is here.
Who will have good apples as of this week? Favorite vendor or market and/or variety for pie? I'm leaning toward Gravenstein if it isn't too late in the season.
Also, what would be the best pre-made pie crust? Be nice. My second post on Chowhound was this exact same question. I was broiled by the bakers on the board ...
"Modern technology ie. food processors has transformed pie crust making from an art into a push of a button that any idiot can do in 5 minutes."
Re-reading that post, it is NOT as unpleasant as remembered. However, I was new and my answer wasn't being, well, answered. No wonder I like you so much Ruth. You took a little of the sting out of that post. Might be your fault that I stuck around on Chowhoud.
There has to be some new frozen pie crusts out there. Any bakeries that will sell dough? I didn't look closely, but it seemed Berkeley Bowl had a good selection.
Does Andronico's still sell French Picnic pie crusts, mentioned in my long, ago post (I went with Nancy's, IIRC).
Anyone with baking advice ... I am contemplating making my own crust ... here are my questions on Home Cooking.
If the suggestions are good enough and all goes well ... yeah, remember who you are Krys and the USUAL results ... I might even be inspired to post my first picture on Chowhound
Heck, I might even photograph a screaming failure. It would document what I've been saying about my cooking skills all these years.
Yeah ... hyped ... really hyped.
Honestly, I like the frozen roll-up Pillsbury crusts just fine. They work in a pinch (fit nicely in the freezer!), and unless you're entering it in a pie contest, I doubt too many people would find it ew-yucky. I've made a few fruit pies and chicken pot pies with them, and they're buttery and crispy. Definitely not homemade, but they do the job.
If you're going for something more gourmet, though, I'm no help at all. :)
I think the TJ's is pre-rolled: just unfold and put in the pie tin. Gravensteins should be at their peak. Note that they're fairly sweet and soft (perfect for applesauce, because they don't need any sweetening) although they vary -- the softer ones tend to be more yellow. If you want a firm and/or tangy pie filling you should use one of the more traditional baking apples. And if you do use gravs, you should use the minimum amount of sugar.
If you're going to be at Berkeley Bowl, they should have a plethora of apples to choose from this time of year.
I often buy premade pie crusts from Trader Joes. They are fresh as opposed to frozen so you can put them into your own pan or use them on a regular baking sheet, the edges folded up around your filling for a flat gallette type tart. Unfortunately they're not made with butter and they're not as good as a great homemade pie crust, but they do work well for all sorts of pies and quiches. If I had a food processor I'd probably make my own, but since I don't TJ's is the answer. Looking forward to seeing if others know of any superior sources in SF.
I buy my apples from DeVoto at the SF Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market (he is there on Tuesdays too). I've made two galettes this year (no pies yet -- I generally wait until pippins, my favorite pie apples are ready). One galette I made from gravensteins (very good) and one from pink ladies (too mushy, fell apart too much). Pippins are my favorite pie apples but they don't come in until late October, and Stan said they'd be late this year. I generally don't like gravensteins in pie, but in a galette they hold up and present well. I agree with Ruth and Robert that the best use for gravs is applesauce. I've made a bunch so far this year. I have been eating some of DeVoto's gravs this week out of hand, and they are crispy, juicy and on the tart side.