Whether pumpkin, pecan, or apple, the way many people end their Thanksgiving meal is with a slice of pie, but making pie is no easy feat. There’s a lot that can go wrong in the pursuit of flakey crust, so we invited Catherine Zornischenko, the Owner of Kate’s Kitchen in Flat Rock, and Manager Gina Putty to get their advice on how to make a tasty pie. Their restaurant is known for its coconut cream pie, but they have over 15 varieties and are always busy this time of year filling orders for Thanksgiving.
Watch the video above to have them walk you through the basics of making pie crust, and below is an interview we conducted with Catherine.
Q. How did you first learn to make pies?
From my mother, the original Kate.
Q. What makes a good pie recipe? Is there something people should look out for when picking a recipe?
As long as the ingredients sound good to you, it will more than likely taste good. Using seasonal ingredients is always a good idea.
Q. When making a pie crust, do you prefer butter, lard, shortening, or something else? Why?
We’ve always used lard. In our opinion, it makes for a flakey, tender crust that has great flavor.
Q. Do any of the ingredients for a pie crust need to be extra cold or at room temp to work better?
You definitely want to make sure you use ice water. The ice water will harden the lard as you work it into the flour. You don’t want to achieve an even mixture with pie dough. You want there to be pockets of lard throughout the dough so that when it bakes, the lard melts and leaves pockets of air. This is how you achieve the perfect flakey crust.
Q. When it comes to adding a top crust to a pie, do you have any tips?
Don’t make the top too thin and don’t hesitate, just commit. Fold your top in half, plop it onto your pie and then gently unfold it.
Q. When should you blind-bake or par-bake a crust? Should pumpkin or pecan pies be blind-baked?
We don’t employ that method for pumpkin or pecan pies. But I believe there are some additional variables that would make one want to blind bake. If you were using a heavy glass dish, or your dough was thicker, you may want to blind-bake first.
Q. How can you prevent leakage or a soggy bottom on a pie with a very liquid filling?
Preventing leakage hasn’t ever really been a concern of ours, but ensuring a good seal when you’re crimping your pie is helpful.
Q. Are there any other pieces of advice you have for someone baking a pie at home?
I think the most common error is overworking the dough so it gets tough and/or completely blends in the lard. Work quickly and don’t do any extra kneading that you don’t have to.
Q. Can people order a pie from you? What do you have available for Thanksgiving?
Absolutely! We have over a dozen different varieties of fruit and cream pies. We definitely recommend our pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, but there are plenty of different options to make everyone happy this holiday.
Kate’s Kitchen is open 7 AM-2 PM Thursday through Sunday and is located at 26558 W Huron River Dr, Flat Rock, MI 48134.
This interview was initially shared in the Dine in the D Newsletter, which sends you local foodie news right to your inbox. To sign up for the newsletter, click or tap here.