Lots of exciting news is happening! My next and very newest, never before published cookbook-- “Simply Southwest” is due to be published November 22 and can be pre-ordered from
Amazon, Barnes and Noble or from Independent Bookstores. It is a wonderful new book with more history, new recipes and lots of fun and good to know hints and tips.
There’s still a very few places left for our November 11-13 weekend at Half-Price. It is a full participation class and lots of fun—we have consistently won praise from our students, some of whom have returned as many as five times. Also we are rated #1 by Bon Appetit magazine and Gayot.com.
A new and ever popular full-participation cooking class is set for the evening of December 1 where you will learn to make the best tasting posole, fluffy, flavorful tamales, melt in your Bizcochitos, Perfect Guacamole and Margaritas. First 12 reservations can be accepted.
Special News about our Pecos Valley Spice Company products—we are now packing your favorite chiles in 2 ounce packages, especially great for 2 to 4 recipes of your favorite chile laden dishes. Also new is our Very Special Carne Adobado kit. (We prepare kits instead of mixes, so each flavor is fresh, not muddled and over whelmed by the strongest flavor in the mix.)
Order our Gift Boxes now for your Gift Giving convenience. We are preparing two brand new boxes to go with our 2 new cookbooks. Our very popular Gift Box collections are just perfect for holiday gifting. Place your orders now to assure timely delivery. We will drop ship each order for you if you like. Also, I will personally autograph each cookbook as you wish.
Gift Certificates are available for any amount from $25.00 up for our Pecos Valley Spice Co. products and for $95.00 and up for our cooking classes. We also have certificates for our weekend and special classes All Weekend and Special classes are going on sale for 2017 at 20% off, so keep checking, we will have them listed very soon.
Fall and especially Thanksgiving gives us a perfect reason to bake the perfect pie. Increasingly, I get so many requests for pastry and pie baking. I will be teaching a special 2 day Baking Workshop where piebaking will be an important part of it. Bread baking and cake baking will also be featured. The 2 day session is set for February 23-24, 2017. REgister now for the next 3 days to get the Early Bird Discount.
It seems plenty of people are still very interested in baking the perfect pie. And, I am so thrilled. I have always just loved to bake and cook. Pie and pastry baking are right up there in challenging home cooks. I think what helps is to know just what makes for perfection. Once you learn the basics—success will always be YOURS. And, I want that for you. There is not a lot worse than spending a great deal of time baking a pie and having a tough pie crust or soggy bottom crust.
Perfection comes from good ingredients and technique. As for ingredients—truly, there is no better shortening than lard. It got its name honestly in England, where the word shortening was applied to any fat that cut the gluten or protein in wheat flour. And, simply put—lard cuts gluten better than any other shortening. Other choices are hydrogenated vegetable shortening or butter. Some use oil—however there will never be the quality from any of these. To reassure you—lard has less saturated fat and less cholesterol than butter and is safer with no potentially harmful side effects from the hydrogenation process.
The technique for successful pastry is that each grain of flour needs to coated with cold shortening and then the least amount of cold liquid is needed to make the pastry hold together. This presents the challenge—if you do not get the pastry moist enough—it is impossible to roll out.
I have become a dedicated food processor user for pastry—for me, it is foolproof. Just use the metal all-purpose chopping blade and place the flour and dry ingredients in first, then add the shortening and pulse until the shortening has coated all of the flour and is the texture of cornmeal. (Even if you go too far and the dough becomes thick like cookie dough—it will still work.)
Next, add a minimum amount of cool liquid to the flour mixture until it becomes a soft, pliable dough. Chill and then, roll using a minimum amount of flour on both the surface as well as on your rolling pin. You can roll between waxed paper pieces if the dough is stiff and very cold.
To prevent a soggy bottom crust in a 2 crusted pie. ALWAYS preheat the oven to 400 to 425F and place the oven rack on the bottom position. Baking the pie for the first 15 minutes at a higher temperature allows the shortening to melt and create a flaky crust before the filling boils. Then reduce the heat and bake at 350F until the pie is done.
I am giving you my all-time favorite pastry recipe and favorite pie recipes to go along with the pastry.