One of my personal missions in life is to get people back into the kitchen. Baking from scratch is so important to me that I made "Cakes from Scratch" the tagline for CakeLove when I started the company over a decade ago. To me, the kitchen embodies family, home, love... all of those things are reflected in what we feed ourselves, our parents, our children, our loved ones.
To celebrate the home kitchen, I'm kicking off a series of profiles called #bakefromscratch, to highlight individuals that are doing amazing things in their home kitchen. The first profile in this series is my friend Becky, who lives in PA. Becky and my wife used to work together, and I got to taste some of her incredible creations at company events. She has been baking from scratch since she was about 10 years old and now bakes frequently with the help of her boys, who are 5 and 3 years old. Her pies are to die for.
WB: How did you get into baking?
Becky: When I was little, my mom baked Toll House chocolate chip cookies and I helped her. She also made these incredible lemon bars from a Southern Living recipe, which I still use to this day.
Tell me about your biggest baking disaster.
I had a cookbook that featured a beautiful, domed chocolate cake. I tried making it but it burned, sank, never rose, and got stuck to the pan. It was a total disaster and I think I even cried given the amount of time I wasted on it. That was before I discovered your cookbooks -- haven't burnt a cake since!
Ha! That's very kind; thank you. What about baking tips? Any particularly useful tip that you'd like to share with home bakers?
It's actually from you: you say in one of your cookbooks that, if you don't have a sifter, you can sift dry ingredients using a whisk. I do that all the time now, because I don't have a sifter and don't really care to get one.
Is there a recipe you want to share with the CakeLove community?
I love the cinnamon butter crust recipe in Pie Love; it's my go-to pie crust recipe now. I like combining it with berry filling recipe, which I like because it works and doesn't require any funky ingredients. The end result is a pie that tastes great and is not too sweet.
Send me a photo! I love your lattice work... it's WAY better than mine.
Cinnamon Butter Pie Crust
from Pie Love
10 oz (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tbsp superfine granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
10 tbsp (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
5-6 tbsp ice water
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9- to 10-inch pie pan with butter and lightly sprinkle with sugar.
- Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt to the work bowl of a food processor and mix for at least 30 seconds.
- Stop the processor and add the butter all at once.
- Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs; pulse in the water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough forms into a ball and rides on top of the S blade.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment. Set aside one third of the dough. If you're not making a double-crust pie, wrap it in plastic film and freeze or refrigerate it for another use.
- Form the remaining dough into a disk, place a second piece of parchment on top, and roll it into a large round about 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.
- Gently lift the rolled dough into the pie pan, fold the excess underneath, crimp the edge, and chill the crust for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, if you are making a double-crust pie, roll out the reserved dough between two sheets of parchment to a round approximately 10 inches across. Set it aside, keeping it between the parchment sheets to prevent it from drying out.
- Dock the bottom crust and cover it with a circle of parchment paper cut to size and a disposable pie pan resting gently above the crust to prevent it from puffing up while toasting. If your pie filling will be baked, blind bake the crust for 5 to 7 minutes. If you'll be using the crust for a custard pie where baking isn't required, blind bake it for 12 to 15 minutes - checking often after 10 minutes.
- Set the blind-baked crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling of your choice. Top it as desired and bake it as directed in your recipe.
If you or someone you know is a home baker, please tell us more using the form to the right. If we like what we hear, we'll contact you for the next #bakefromscratch profile.