The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

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Keith’s Kitchen – Taste in pies

Staff writer tests two fall recipes
Keith Luo
A slice of apple pie after it had cooled. The lattice crust fell apart as it was cut and led to a few cracks, but overall it was a sweet and decadent treat.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I decided to make two classic, widely-beloved pies and compare them to each other. From the baking process to the taste to the presentation, I’ll break down the ups and downs of each. Feel free to try the recipes with family and friends!

Apple Pie (8.5/10)

Apple pie has always been a childhood favorite, a classic if you will. As such, I felt it was only right to make it for the fall season. Apple pie has this rich taste made from the apples combining with the light brown sugar and cinnamon. With a short list of ingredients and a relatively simple recipe, apple pie very well might become your new favorite. The only downside is its long cooking time: around three hours of cooking and prepping, and an hour for it to rest. While the recipe does call for a food processor, I was able to achieve somewhat of a similar result using just my hands — granted it took a bit of time — and a fork.

Sophomore Keith Luo displays his prepared pie crust. Luo ran into problems with the pie crust drying up in his first trial, but was able to save it. (Photo provided by Keith Luo)

Everything went smoothly except for the most important part: the crust. I had formed the dough fine up until I had to refrigerate it. The recipe said to flatten the dough before refrigerating, but I accidentally rolled it out too thin. After I took the dough out, I found that it was crumbly and ripped when I tried to flatten it.

I was devastated. I had waited for an hour for the dough to cool, and it was the only part of the pie I was missing. I thought I had to restart. Luckily, I decided to try rehydrating the dough since it was so crumbly. While the dough did shrink, it was still usable and resulted in a decent dough. Not the best, but it was good enough.

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From there, it was smooth sailing. I added the filling into the pie, put on the lattice pie crust and threw it into the oven. If you try this recipe, you’ll see a lot of liquid from the filling when you change the oven temperature, but don’t worry, it’ll evaporate eventually.

The end result was a delicious apple pie that had all the notes of a proper fall classic. It was rich, bright and not overly sweet. While the lattice crust didn’t come out as well as I would’ve liked, it was still pretty good for a dough that I had to rehydrate and rework. Taking this all into account, I gave it a rating of 8.5/10.

This recipe is very possible to make without a food processor, but the butter melting from the heat of your hands may cause some trouble. I would also be careful about putting the pie too close to one edge as it will cook unevenly. This recipe was pretty simple and fun to make, and I would definitely recommend you give it a try. However, if you prefer a store bought apple pie, I would take a look at HEB or Whole Foods.

Pumpkin Pie (9.5/10)

The pumpkin pie after it had fully cooled. It smells of pumpkin spice, a mixture of ginger, cloves and cinnamon. (Keith Luo)

Pumpkin pie is another favorite in the fall. With its rich aroma and decadent flavor from the ginger, cloves and cinnamon, pumpkin pie is widely beloved. I decided to make pumpkin pie to compare with apple pie because they both are known as a symbol of fall.

With a slightly larger list of ingredients — some of which aren’t commonly owned — but a similar cook time, pumpkin pie offers a few key advantages and disadvantages when compared to apple pie.

Pumpkin pie was actually easier to make than apple pie as the filling was simpler and there wasn’t a need for a lattice crust. The crust-making process went about the same but with one key difference: I had learned from my mistake and flattened it just a bit and let it warm back up for around 15 minutes after taking it out of the refrigerator.

Making the filling for the pumpkin pie was like night and day compared to the filling for the apple pie. While you had to peel and cut six or seven apples for the apple pie, you just had to whisk a few ingredients in a bowl for the pumpkin pie with little to no preparation.

Sophomore Keith Luo places a prepared pumpkin pie into the oven. Luo considers pumpkin pie a symbol of the fall. (Photo provided by Keith Luo)

However, while the filling was much easier to make, the crust process took longer; not because I was making a lattice crust, but because I had to blind bake — pre-baking the crust by itself — the pie crust. This added about 35 minutes to the process, which wasn’t that much extra time.

When I took the pie out of the oven, I was met by a wave of spices from the cloves, ginger and cinnamon. After taking it out, the smell blanketed the house and enveloped the kitchen. I let it sit for an hour and a half until it was cool to the touch. When I took a bite, it was everything I had hoped for: decadent, sweet, aromatic and most importantly, smooth. The filling had come out better than I had ever expected it to, with its velvety texture and rich taste.

So having made both pies, albeit having made improvements after the first recipe, I would say I enjoyed making the pumpkin pie more since it was simpler and had a better end result. The pumpkin pie cooked more consistently throughout compared to the apple pie, which had an uneven bake on the crust. It was also more fun to make as it felt less repetitive compared to cutting and peeling six apples for the apple pie. However, both recipes are definitely worth your time with their familiar flavors and cozy feelings of fall.

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  • S

    Sophia LiNov 6, 2023 at 9:40 pm

    This is such a fun story!! I want to try making these now too 🙂

  • R

    Rilina TranNov 2, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    Really great story Keith! I love the details and I could taste the pies as I read your story. I will use your suggestions when I bake an apple pie for Thanksgiving. Thank you for letting me taste test the pie! It was super delicious.