Pie chimneys really work!

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HughYeman
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2005/02/07 13:50:50 (permalink)

Pie chimneys really work!

On Saturday I baked what I think was the best apple pie I've ever made. Since I had received two ceramic pie chimneys for Christmas I decided to try using them for the first time. The filling came out so perfectly tender and the bottom crust so wonderfully dry and flaky that it _can't_ be a coincidence. I don't think I'll ever again bake a pie without a chimney.

I posted some pictures on my site. To give you a sense of the scale, this pie contains the makings of two overstuffed ten-inch pies.

http://users.arczip.com/gourmand/PICS/pics.htm

-Hugh Yeman
#1

13 Replies Related Threads

    Green_Chile
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/07 13:58:48 (permalink)
    Wow! This is the first I've ever heard of a "pie chimney", are they to help steam escape or what? Anyway, the pie looks scrumptious! How'd it taste?!
    #2
    HughYeman
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/07 14:24:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Green_Chile

    Wow! This is the first I've ever heard of a "pie chimney", are they to help steam escape or what? Anyway, the pie looks scrumptious! How'd it taste?!


    It was astounding, and I usually find some kind of fault with my pies. I think I also lucked out and found some really amazing Granny Smith apples. I always use them anyway because I think they're by far the best pie apple. However, I usually end up with a certain percentage of apples that are quite greenish on the inside, and those tend to be under-ripe and not so tasty. This load of Granny Smiths, however, all seemed nicely white on the inside and the pie tasted amazing. It was nicely sweet, but not the type of sweetness I got recently that made me think "Crap, I put in too much sugar." It was the kind of sweetness that makes you think "Mmmmm, apple!" Also, I seemed to hit the nail on the head with the spices this time. I tend to go overboard with the spices because I feel that Betty Crocker's spice measurements are too stingy so I end up overdoing it when I throw in some extra. This time I'd say I used about 150% of the Betty Crocker amount of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the spices seemed perfectly balanced to me.

    I think the texture is the most striking part, and that's where I think the chimneys helped. Yes, their function is to let steam escape but I hadn't considered just how important this is for the texture of the bottom crust. I've _never_ had a lower crust come out that crisp and flaky before. But not only the texture of the crust but of the filling was truly amazing. The pieces of apple were distinct, that is they weren't cooked down so much that it was all a big mush. But each piece was very thoroughly tender.

    Anyway, enough soliloquizing about my pie. If you want the recipe just double this one, adding about half again the amount of spices.

    http://users.arczip.com/gourmand/lists/Recipes/Apple.htm

    You'll have to find a truly massive deep-dish pie pan, though. :)

    -Hugh Yeman

    #3
    HughYeman
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/07 14:29:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9

    Hugh:

    What gorgeousness! Your nature photographs, I mean. All except the spiders. Hate 'em, sorry.



    Heh. They totally creep me out too. I think that's part of the fascination.

    quote:


    I love those pie chimneys in the shape of singing birds. "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing." I have read that, when the pie juices are simmering, you can sometimes even hear soft whistling sounds from the birds. I didn't know they worked as well as that, though. Good job! Very delicious-looking pie!



    Thanks!

    quote:


    P.S. They sell another pie-baking aid in which you may be interested. This one is composed of little curved corrugated metal strips that you rest lightly on the crust during most of the baking period. They prevent excessive browning and dryness.


    Actually, I got some of those a while back but I have a hard time getting them to stay on the pie without really crushing them down onto the crust. So I prefer to use aluminum foil around the edge. Thankfully my girlfriend does the job of putting it on because I find it incredibly frustrating and tedious. The burned outer edge was my fault: I took the foil off too soon or left the pie in too long, depending on how you want to look at it.

    -Hugh
    #4
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/07 18:28:14 (permalink)
    Hugh, take a look for solid aluminum rings to cover the edge of the crust. They come in 2 sizes and cost about $4 for the smaller one and about $5 for the bigger one. MUCH easier than dealing with the aluminum foil. I got mine at Bed Bath & Beyond. The brand name is some cutesy "Mrs. So-And-So" thing. I am very happy with these. Please note, others, that these rings prevent store-bought frozen pies from becoming burnt at the edges also.

    Now I gotta go look for some of those birds!
    #5
    AeroDynamic
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/07 18:57:58 (permalink)
    I got my rings at the local grocery store.Near the disposable pans section....
    #6
    meowzart
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/08 08:16:34 (permalink)
    My co-worker swears by those pie birds. But with them in there, cutting pretty slices is kind of out of the question, huh? Was there a reason you used two instead of just one at the center?

    Thanks Hugh!
    #7
    HughYeman
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/08 08:47:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by michaelgemmell

    Hugh, take a look for solid aluminum rings to cover the edge of the crust. They come in 2 sizes and cost about $4 for the smaller one and about $5 for the bigger one. MUCH easier than dealing with the aluminum foil. I got mine at Bed Bath & Beyond. The brand name is some cutesy "Mrs. So-And-So" thing. I am very happy with these. Please note, others, that these rings prevent store-bought frozen pies from becoming burnt at the edges also.

    Now I gotta go look for some of those birds!


    Hey yeah, now I remember seeing those rings. However, I'm not sure if I ever saw one big enough for a ten-inch pie. I'll have another look. I'm sure that if I want one big enough for my deep-dish pies I'll have to make my own! :)
    #8
    HughYeman
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/08 08:52:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by meowzart

    My co-worker swears by those pie birds. But with them in there, cutting pretty slices is kind of out of the question, huh?


    Yeah, there is that. You have to work around them as you cut. Believe me, though, that unless the bottom crust I got this weekend was a staggering coincidence you'll agree with me when you try 'em that they're worth it.

    quote:

    Was there a reason you used two instead of just one at the center?


    Never having used the chimneys before, I figured that they must have a limited range over which they can vent steam. Since the dish I used is 13" in diameter and 3" deep, and contains the makings of two overstuffed ten-inch pies, I figured it could use two.

    -Hugh
    #9
    Green_Chile
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/08 09:15:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by HughYeman

    quote:
    Originally posted by Green_Chile

    Wow! This is the first I've ever heard of a "pie chimney", are they to help steam escape or what? Anyway, the pie looks scrumptious! How'd it taste?!


    It was astounding, and I usually find some kind of fault with my pies. I think I also lucked out and found some really amazing Granny Smith apples. I always use them anyway because I think they're by far the best pie apple. However, I usually end up with a certain percentage of apples that are quite greenish on the inside, and those tend to be under-ripe and not so tasty. This load of Granny Smiths, however, all seemed nicely white on the inside and the pie tasted amazing. It was nicely sweet, but not the type of sweetness I got recently that made me think "Crap, I put in too much sugar." It was the kind of sweetness that makes you think "Mmmmm, apple!" Also, I seemed to hit the nail on the head with the spices this time. I tend to go overboard with the spices because I feel that Betty Crocker's spice measurements are too stingy so I end up overdoing it when I throw in some extra. This time I'd say I used about 150% of the Betty Crocker amount of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the spices seemed perfectly balanced to me.

    I think the texture is the most striking part, and that's where I think the chimneys helped. Yes, their function is to let steam escape but I hadn't considered just how important this is for the texture of the bottom crust. I've _never_ had a lower crust come out that crisp and flaky before. But not only the texture of the crust but of the filling was truly amazing. The pieces of apple were distinct, that is they weren't cooked down so much that it was all a big mush. But each piece was very thoroughly tender.

    Anyway, enough soliloquizing about my pie. If you want the recipe just double this one, adding about half again the amount of spices.

    http://users.arczip.com/gourmand/lists/Recipes/Apple.htm

    You'll have to find a truly massive deep-dish pie pan, though. :)

    -Hugh Yeman




    Well this is just awesome to hear about...I've got to try to find some chimney's of my own now and an appropriate pie dish. You're discriptions sound like my Grandma Rubie's Pie...strait off the tree...thanks for all the tips and the great pics to. I hope this post won't get quashed as being un-Roadfood related...as yer pie looks better than most Roadside Pies I've seen;)
    #10
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/09 17:27:50 (permalink)
    Hugh, I just checked, and the brand is "Mrs. Anderson's" and the large is indeed 10" in diameter.
    #11
    HughYeman
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/02/10 10:21:31 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by michaelgemmell

    Hugh, I just checked, and the brand is "Mrs. Anderson's" and the large is indeed 10" in diameter.


    Excellent! I will pick one up next time I'm near a "Bed, Bath, & Beyond". Thanks!

    -Hugh
    #12
    kittyfood
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/05/20 11:22:21 (permalink)
    When I was growing up in the 1950s, my mother cut paper drinking straws into lengths of 2" or so, and used them for the same purpose. For years when I've found myself in a dusty old dime store, grocery, etc. I've looked to see if they had any paper straws left, with no luck. Recently I found a whole box of them at a yard sale for $5. The best part about using the straws, if you're a little kid smelling the pie coming out of the oven, is that you get to suck the warm juice out of them after your mother takes them out of the pie.
    #13
    HughYeman
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    RE: Pie chimneys really work! 2005/05/23 11:09:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by kittyfood

    When I was growing up in the 1950s, my mother cut paper drinking straws into lengths of 2" or so, and used them for the same purpose. For years when I've found myself in a dusty old dime store, grocery, etc. I've looked to see if they had any paper straws left, with no luck. Recently I found a whole box of them at a yard sale for $5. The best part about using the straws, if you're a little kid smelling the pie coming out of the oven, is that you get to suck the warm juice out of them after your mother takes them out of the pie.


    Oh, that sounds fantastic! Seems like that's your equivalent of my most warmly thought-of childhood treat: licking the beaters after my Mom made whipped cream! To this day I ask friends at my pie parties "Do you want to lick the beater?" and I try to get across to them what a special thing it is that I'm sharing with them.

    -Hugh
    #14
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