At the beginning of the month, for April Fools, we created a little joke cookbook for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Since that seems like forever ago and because we all need a little bit of fun in our lives, two of us decided to have a friendly little challenge to see who would make the best She-Ra themed pie.
Meet the Bakers: Jem and Ariel
Ariel: Hey everyone! I really hate pie (except for the best pie in the world at Winkel 43 in Amsterdam), so I have no idea why I decided to do this challenge. I love to cook but I’m not a great baker, so we’ll see how this goes. I’m doing this all for the honor of Greyskull. And Catra.
Jem: Hey everybody, my name is Jem (they/them), I love Catra and I like to think I’m a pretty good chef. Here’s me with a tiny whisk at 9pm about to make a pie.
Oh, you want a better view of my dope husky shirt? I know, it’s really cool.
You’re welcome. Now, who wants to make a pie?
Phase 1: Gather Ingredients
Ariel: Luckily, we had exactly one (1) bag of flour that my mom kept hidden for emergencies. Given that this is a pie emergency, I went ahead and used it. I also picked up butter, frozen berries, and the will to live from my local Trader Joes. Unfortunately, they were fresh out of Etherian spices, so I had to forage for those myself.
Jem: There is no flour. I tried two different grocery stores and neither had flour. The solution was to wake up early and bribe a couple friends (with donuts) to stand in line with me at Trader Joe’s until opening. Even then, I was lucky and got one of just a few bags left. If you’re trying this at home, good luck.
Phase 2: Make the Dough
Ariel: I have never made pie dough, but the internet told me it would be pretty easy, so long as I keep everything cold and don’t use my hands. I’m a very hands-on baker (ha) and love kneading bread dough, so making pie dough was a bit of a challenge. But if I can learn to stop touching my face to avoid spreading germs, I can learn to not knead my pie dough too much, right? Also, I don’t own a pastry blender and I didn’t want to wash my food processor, so I had to cut in the butter with two butter knives. It was a very… intense arm workout.
Jem: Alright, making a good pie dough is actually really simple. You only need a few key ingredients: flour, ice water, chilled butter and/or shortening. For the whole process, you want to keep your dough relatively cold. Cut up your butter into little pieces and stick it back in the fridge until you’re ready to mix it in. When you do mix the ingredients, use a fork or something first and fold the ingredients together. You can use your hands once the dough starts coming together, but remember, you’re not making bread! Please don’t go all She-Ra muscle-mode and start tossing it around like a pizza. Once you have your dough made, refrigerate it. You can either ball it and stick it in the fridge, or roll it out first, then stick it in the fridge. The dough will roll smoother if it’s cold. Also: parchment paper is your friend.
Phase 3: Assemble the Filling*
Ariel: I’m making berry pie, in honor of Mara.
While trying not to cry, I went ahead and simmered some frozen berries with a dash of cinnamon, the juice of one lemon, and the tiniest pinch of salt. If you have the hair of a unicorn, now would be a good time to add it, but alas, I was unable to track down Swift Wind. Once the mixture was nice and thick, I put it in the fridge to cool.
Jem: I’m making apple pie because I support the equine revolution and Swift Wind kind of scares me.
So this pie is for him, which means a lot of apples. I bought some of the most expensive apples: Honeycrisp, and some of the cheapest apples: Granny Smith. I like to think they balance each other out. Whatever you do, don’t use Red Delicious apples. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even look at a Red Delicious. Those are the worst apples and they should never be baked into a pie.
So, you want to cut your apples really thin. As thin as Catra’s patience for Kyle. Thin apples will layer nicely and create a satisfying texture when you bite into them. Many things in life are great when thick (bacon, pizza crust, my physique) but apples for pie are meant to be thin. Too thick and you’ll end up with a bite of mushy applesauce. Slice those apples up, stop snacking on them (those are for the pie, Jem!) and remember to practice knife safety.
*You want to know a not-so-secret trick to get a delicious apple pie filling? Add a little lemon juice in there. A teaspoon, a tablespoon? I don’t remember, so I’ll leave the amount up to you.
Phase 4: Putting it Together
Ariel: While the filling was cooling in the fridge, I pulled out half of the dough and set to making decorations. I know this is my first pie, but I was feeling extra™️ and decided to make the pie themed to the Etherian Forest. So, I spent the better part of an hour making leaves and little dough roses. They actually turned out pretty cute!
Once those were done, I started the assembly process. Dough, filling, decorations, and egg/cream wash to top it all off. Not gonna lie, I felt pretty accomplished at this point.
Jem: Placing the bottom layer of dough in the pie dish is easy, and adding the apples in is pretty easy too. Just remember to spread them evenly and fill your pie as much as you can. The apples will shrink in the oven as the water evaporates. The difficulty arises when you add the top layer of dough. Be gentle, be patient, and be wary of tearing your dough. Remember how I said parchment paper is your friend? This is why.
Before baking, brush the top layer of dough with an egg wash. Essentially, you’re painting a thin layer of scrambled eggs over your pie. That’s give your pie a Instagram-worthy, golden-brown shine. Just don’t overdo it or you might end up with an omelette* instead of pie. Then sprinkle a little sugar on top and bake that bad boy.
*I’m joking. I promise that won’t actually happen.
Phase 5: The Results Are In
Ariel: Et, voila! So, not too shabby for a first attempt. I’m sad the decorations kind of faded into the filling, but they still look cute! And the pie looks even better dressed up with the sword of She-Ra and a Catra plush on the side. Dislike for pie aside, this was fun!
Jem: Ta-da! In honor of Madame Razz, Swift Wind and the Equine Revolution, I made an apple pie. Just like Catra, she’s a little rough around the edges, but she’s beautiful and I love her.
So that’s our pies! Who won the challenge? Make sure you vote over on our Twitter!