Easter Basket Pie
Can't stop smiling at the ?? faces in this Easter Basket Pie!
Author: The Chef
Recipe type: Dessert
- 4 cups sliced peeled sweet cooking apples (1/4-inch slices), such as Gala, Honeycrisp and Braeburn
- 1¼ cups sliced fresh strawberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 2 batches Pie Dough, recipe follows (see Cook's Note)
- Pink, black and assorted jewel tone or pastel gel or liquid food coloring, for coloring the dough
- Assorted colored sanding sugar, for decorating
Pie Dough (you will need 2 batches):
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup very cold or frozen vegetable shortening, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
Special equipment: a 9-inch pie plate; an 18-inch ruler; a 3-inch bunny head cutter; a 3-inch egg cutter; a ¾-inch round cutter; a 1-inch diamond cutter; a ½-inch and 1-inch flower cutter; a small craft paintbrush
- Combine the apples, strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a large bowl and gently toss together until combined. Set aside.
- Line a large work surface with parchment paper and lightly flour the paper. Roll out one ball of Pie Dough into a 12-inch circle. Gently roll the dough up around your rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate. Unroll the pastry over the plate. (Alternatively, fold the pastry in half and then again in quarters, transfer to the pie plate and unfold.) Gently fit the pastry into the plate and up the sides. Tuck the edges under the side of the pie plate and trim.
- Transfer the apple/strawberry mixture to the lined pie plate and evenly distribute. Place the filled pie plate in the fridge while you complete the next step.
- For the woven basket: Roll out a ball of dough to a 14-by-10-inch rectangle. Use a ruler and a sharp knife to cut fifteen 14-by-1/2-inch-long strips of dough. Braid three of the pastry strips together. Your finished braid will be approximately 10 inches long. Repeat this process with the other strips until you have five braids.
- Remove the pie from the fridge. Use your ruler to measure 3½ inches up from the bottom of the pie plate and mark the edge of the pie. Dampen around the edges of the bottom half of the pie with water to ensure that the pastry will adhere. Gently transfer one braid to the pie to cover your mark. Add the other four braids one at a time, moving down the pie and slightly overlapping the rows, until all five braids are in place. Use your knife to trim any excess braid to 1 inch beyond the edge of the pie. Tuck the excess pastry under the rim of the pie plate.
For the basket handle:
- Using leftover dough from your braid rollout, roll out four pieces of dough to approximately 12 inches in length and ½ inch in diameter. Twist two pieces of the dough together to make a rope. Repeat this process for the other two pieces of dough. Dampen the edge of the top half of the pie with water and attach one rope to each side of the pie. The ropes should meet at the top center of the pie. Curl the bottom of each rope decoratively around the basket edge.
To create the Easter eggs:
- Roll out another ball of dough to a 14-by-10-inch rectangle. Cut five egg shapes with a 3-inch egg cutter. To color the dough, use either gel or liquid food coloring mixed with a small amount of water. Apply with a small paint brush (available in craft stores). Paint each egg a different color (pastel or jewel tones work best). To add sparkle to your eggs, after painting and while the dough is still slightly damp, sprinkle each egg with a coordinating colored sanding sugar. Set aside to dry.
To create the Easter bunnies and bow:
- Cut three bunny heads with a 3-inch bunny head cutter from the same batch of dough. Use a ¾-inch round cutter to cut six circles. Use a 1-inch diamond cutter to cut six diamonds. Use a ruler and sharp knife to cut one strip of pastry, 16 inches by ½ inch. Cut an inverted v-shape into both ends of the strip. Cut another strip of pastry, 1 inch by ½ inch.
- Using small pieces of dough, roll nine balls of dough for the eyes and noses. Use pink food coloring to paint the six diamonds, three of the small round balls and the two strips of pastry. Use black food coloring to paint the remaining six small round balls.
To assemble the bunny:
- Dampen the back of the diamond shapes with water and place them in the center of the bunny ears. Dampen the circles and place two circles along the cheek line of each bunny's face. Dampen the space above the cheeks of each bunny and place the eyes and nose. Use your knife to score three lines on each cheek to create the whiskers.
To assemble the bow:
- Lay the longer strip of pastry in front of you horizontally. Mark the center of the pastry with a knife. Fold the left side of the strip in and down over the center. Fold in the right side so it criss-crosses over the left side. Pinch the pastry at the spot where the two pieces overlap in the center. Dampen the small strip of pastry and lay it over the area that you have pinched. Press gently to adhere.
To create the flowers:
- Use ½-inch and 1-inch flower cookie cutters to cut flower shapes for the front and handle of the basket. Paint the flowers in colors of your choice.
- Dampen the backs of the flowers and gently adhere them to the basket handle and front. Dampen the back of the bow and gentle adhere it to the front of the basket.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the Easter eggs and bunnies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the faces of the bunnies are slightly browned. Allow them to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
- Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake until the pie is golden and the filling bubbles thickly, another 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool for at least 2 hours.
- Use a spoon to gently depress the filling under the top edge of the basket. Slide the eggs partially under the top edge of the basket and arrange. Place the bunnies decoratively above the eggs.
Pie Dough (you will need 2 batches):
For the pie dough:
- Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade until combined, 2 to 3 times. Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Pulse 4 to 5 times until the mixtures resembles small pebbles with a few larger pieces.
- Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over top. Pulse until the mixture starts to clump and comes together, 6 to 8 times. If the mixture does not clump, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing 1 to 2 times between additions.
- Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cup your hands around the dough to bring together in a ball. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
This recipe requires a double batch of pie dough. If you have a large food processor, you can double the supplied recipe. Otherwise, it is best to make two separate batches. There will be 1 leftover ball of dough, which can be frozen for up to 3 months.