In Edmonton, we have a very chique and popular bakery called Duchess Bake Shop. BuzzFeed named Duchess as one of the top 23 bakeries around the world you need to visit (and we all know how BuzzFeed is THE WORD when it comes to everything!)
Additionally, our super-hip selfie Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ate there once.
Anyways, the bakery is just incredible. During a visit, you will find it packed with patrons, usually lining up to buy their amazing macarons. However, my favourite thing that they make is the pie.
Duchess Bake Shop recently opened up a new portion of the business dedicated to baking classes, Duchess Provisions. You can take all different types of baking classes including how to make their delectable macarons, but my friend Micheline and I managed to score two spots in their pie making class!
We were very excited to learn the secret to Duchess’ fabulous pies. And the class did not disappoint.
The class was taught by owner Giselle and her long-time employee Sherilynn. Giselle talked about how her co-owner Jake is this incredible pasty chef, but when she first met him he didn’t know how to make a pie. The home-trained Giselle is the pie expert. The two of them put their skills together to create the most popular bakery In town.
Pies are just my cup of tea. They are rustic, less fussy and more forgiving then a lot of other types of baking. Although you can definitely take some steps to make your pies top notch, they are pretty hard to screw up.
We started out by making a classic apple pie (pictured.) We used the hard and less sweet Granny Smith apples, which Micheline peeled and I sliced. We let the apples sit and get juicy, but not too runny. Micheline rolled out our pre-made dough. A nice trick they showed us was to fold the rolled out dough in half before sliding the pie plate under it and spreading it across the plate. It made this whole task much easier.
After adding the filling and making the top, we brushed the surface with an egg-white and cream mixture, then sprinkled with white sugar. The egg whites help make the pie crust nice and shiny while the cream helps it to brown. It’s amazing how nicely it works!
The dough was pre-made for us when we did our pies to speed up the class, however we made some fresh dough to take home. This will be today’s recipe.
Now I typically just use Tenderflake for my pie crusts, so I was curious to see how Duchess makes their crust. I was amazed that their recipe was even easier then Tenderflake.
Giselle explained to us that pie crust is really fat, flour and water. The most important part is to select the fat. She said you can use animal fat, like that of chicken, which will make the crust flavourful, but far too greasy. She said you can use butter, which has a lot of flavour but makes the crust a little heavier. Shortening gives you a very light and flakey crust, but offers no flavour. She said her preferred method is to use ½ butter ½ shortening.
We made our crust and each took a little bit home. I still have mine in my freezer, as pie crust freezes just great.
DUCHESS DOUGH TIPS:
- Make in advance and freeze if you have to.
- You can make it in a stand mixer with the proper attachment, or use a pastry cutter and knead by hand.
- If you are doing it by hand, cut your butter into very small pieces as this will make the whole thing much easier.
OTHER PIE TIPS FROM THE CLASS (pay attention, these tips are gold!!)
- To get the dough on the pan, fold rolled dough in half before sliding the pan underneath
- Once dough is placed in pan, use a kitchen knife to cut dough around the perimeter of the pie pan, leaving about 1 inch overhand.
- When sealing the pie, fold excess dough underneath so it just comes over the edge of the pie pan.
- Before baking, brush pie with an egg white – cream mixture, and sprinkle with white sugar.
Our pie class was so fun and interesting. Stay tuned for my next post where I will share my favourite Duchess pie recipe with you – sour cherry cream pie.
Thanks to Giselle for allowing me to share her recipe with you!
Click here to view other posts in this series:
Duchess Bake Shop Pie Class Part 2: Sour Cream Cherry Pie
Click here to view PDF Duchess Pie Dough Recipe:
Duchess Pie Dough
Good news! Giselle has released a Duchess Bake Shop cookbook feature some of the best recipes from the bakery. Click here for more information.
Duchess Bake Shop
Easy Mixer Pie Dough
Makes 3 x 9 – inch pie shells
or 1 covered or lattice-top pie plus extra pie shell.
640 g (4 cups) all purpose flour
226 g (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, in ½ inch cubes
200 g (1 cup) cold vegetable shortening, in ½ inch cubes
1 tsp salt
242 g (1 cup) ice water
- You will need a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
- Alternatively, use a pastry cutter to do by hand
- Place the flour, butter, shortening, and salt into a stand mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the fats are in small chunks and the mixture looks a bit dry. This should only take 10-15 seconds. If you overmix you run the risk of turning your mixture into a dough, and then you’ll have a difficult time incorporating all the water in the next step.
- Add the ice water all at once and mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Some small lumps of fat should remain in the dough.
- Shape the dough into three balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minute, making sure the dough is fully chilled before rolling out. At this point the dough can be frozen. Let it thaw completely before using it , but when you roll it out, be sure it’s still cold.
Pie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, or in the freezer for up to six months.