I love baking pies....unfortunately I can't cook to save my life..(sorry Tom!) but I sure do love to experiment with baking! I have no formal training whatsoever...I just really enjoy being in the kitchen. I think my love for painting and design contributes to my fascination with pie designs and creating unique tops for special occasions.
Over the past few years I have posted a few fun homemade pies to my Instagram account. They have been mostly apple tart, blueberry, pumpkin, or plain old apple pies. I have experimented with different designs, shapes and sizes but this year...I experimented with color!
Two weeks ago, Tom hosted a fun "Spurly" weekend of cooking and celebrating with friends at his home in MA. I decided that I wanted to contribute a homemade pie for the occasion. While I was shopping in Whole Foods for my apple pie ingredients, I came across an all-natural vegetable colorant set made by India Tree. The colors are made up of different vegetables to create a "dyed" look for your dough. I found two metal leaf cut outs and thought how fun it would be to create a fall leaf apple pie for our fall weekend in the woods.
Below are my steps to creating a fun and colorful pie crust. The best part? You get to use a paint brush!
What you will need:
1. India Tree Colorant Set
2. 1 egg
3. 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4. Cookie cutters or sharp knives for the "drawing" process
5. 1 new paint brush
I am not a dough or filling recipe expert...so jump online and explore or ask a family member for their favorite recipe. That's what I did. Roll out your dough to 1/4 of an inch thickness and begin with your pie cut outs. You do not need a cookie or pie cutter for this step..I usually free hand it but I couldn't resist picking up these cute leaf cutters in Whole Foods!
Use a butter knife to draw the "veins" of the leaves into the dough for extra detail.
Prepare your colors for a "paint glaze"
The India Tree colorant set comes in primary colors:
Red, Yellow, and Blue
For this particular project, I decided to make two secondary colors, green and orange.
1 egg white + 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Add these ingredients into a bowl and stir; then divide the mixture into 5 small bowls.
Add the India Tree food coloring to each bowl as desired.
For those of you who may be new to the world of color theory:
Yellow + Red = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
Yellow + Red + Blue = Brown
Blue + Green (you will have to make green!) = Forrest Green
Once you have made your desired colors you can begin to paint.
Use your new paint brush to dip into your colors and apply soft strokes to your leaves. You may need a few layers of paint to get to your desired saturation level.
I would suggest priming your leaves with the yellow glaze first as it is to go from your light colors to your darker and more saturated colors. The glaze will stay wet until the pie is cooked so not to worry if you need to wipe off excess glaze.
You are ready to BAKE!
Your oven should be pre-heated at 420 degrees and cooking time will be approximately 50-60 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye out on your top layer of crust - if you see that the leaves are browning too quickly you can always cover them with tin foil.
Enjoy your "painted" pies!