Introducing Pie Tools! | November 3, 2016

At Tovolo, baking is serious business.

I have been really excited to share Tovolo’s new Pie Tools with you and today’s the day! In the world of baking, sometimes it is hard to find much innovation. Materials have evolved like Silicone Baking Mats or Nylon Icing Spatulas. But core items like Pastry Blenders and Sifters have barely changed in decades…until now.  We always approach new product by the problem it solves. Is it easy to clean?  Does it save time? Is it fun to use without losing efficiency? If we can answer yes to these questions and more then we move forward.

We have a way of approaching new projects by developing a family of products that take you from start to finish.  So, if you think about baking a pie, the first thing you would do is cut the butter into the dry ingredients to make pea size butter pieces covered in flour before adding the very cold water. Traditionally, a pastry blender was used and they are still the best manual way of doing this task. Pastry Blenders have changed over the years but they are not necessarily better. Tovolo’s Pastry Blender is different for a few reasons: the handle is comfortable to use, the tines (wires) are a thicker gauge to prevent bending, and they are also sunk into the handle so that they are not so vulnerable to hard, cold butter. Additionally, we changed the orientation of the surface area of the wires so that your hand rocks back allowing you a more natural rocking motion verses going straight down with the wires or side to side. The BEST part however is that we created a lever that allows you to move the wires up and down away from each other to aid in cleaning the butter and flour off the tines!  WHAT?

Our next new pastry tool is the Scoop&Sift. This is a one cup scoop that’s bowl is made of very fine mesh allowing you to scoop a cup of flour and sift using the same scoop! This avoids taking the extra step of taking out your flour sifter, scooping flour into the sifter, measuring the flour after sifting, and then cleaning the sifter. It is also great for dusting a silicone pastry mat or counter with flour before rolling out dough. This great little helper is equally proficient with powdered sugar and cocoa for all your dusting needs.

Step three in pie crust or pastry making is cutting the dough to the proper size. If you have a 9” pie plate, usually you would roll your dough; put your plate on the dough upside down to see if you have rolled it out about 2” past the edge of the plate. Now with Tovolo’s Precision Pie Crust Cutter, you can roll out your dough, slide the wheel to the appropriate measurement (guided by the diameter of your pie plate) and score the dough using one of the four included edge wheels. By using a plastic wheel blade, you can use the Precision Pie Crust Cutter on a Tovolo Silicone Pastry Mat, on a non-stick surface without fear of scratching, or right on your counter!  Easy breezy!

Last but not least, I am happy to introduce you to the Tovolo Bench Scraper.  It is another updated, classic tool.  We offset it so that you can lift with it.  Think about that, lifting dough off the counter, lifting lasagna out of a 13”x9” casserole pan, or cutting and lifting brownies right out of the pan.  It has a ruler for measuring the brownies to be uniform sizes.  It is made of stainless steel so the beveled edge is strong enough to actually cut through dough, lasagna, or brownies.  Lastly, it has and asymmetrical corner so that you can get into tight corners in pans.  This is one of those tools you aren’t sure you need and then end up using almost daily for tasks you didn’t know you needed help with.

Whew!  Did you make it through all that – that was a lot of words!  You know what you need now?  PIE!

Here is a great recipe from smittenkitchen.com for the BEST Pecan Pie I have ever eaten.  Hands down, not even close, it was SO good!  She mentions that what makes it so good is the Golden Syrup and I totally agree – it was sublime!

Oh, by the way, Sur La Table has an exclusive on the Tovolo Pie Tools until the beginning of the year so if these are on your wish list they are available in stores or online at surlatable.com.

PECAN PIE

YIELDS 1 – 9″ pie |  PREP TIME  20 minutes +45 minutes baking time |   PRINT PDF

INGREDIENTS

 

Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1/4 cup water with ice in it, plus an additional tablespoon if needed

 

Filling

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

3/4 cup golden syrup (DO NOT substitute – this was the BEST pecan pie I have ever had!)

A pinch or two of sea salt

2 cups pecan halves (chop about 2/3’s of a cup – rough chop is fine.)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional) I used Crater Lake Hazelnut Espresso Vodka; be still my heart.

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

DIRECTIONS

Make the pie dough

By hand: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with a Tovolo Pastry Blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a Tovolo Silicone Spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.

With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.

Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Form the crust: On a Tovolo Silicone Pastry Mat, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Use the Tovolo Precision Pie Crust Cutter to cut the 12” circle. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Place in fridge until ready to fill.

Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).

 

Prepare filling

Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice so that they toast evenly. Set aside until needed.

In medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in pecans, cider vinegar, vanilla and bourbon (if using). Pour into a bowl (so that it cools faster) and set the mixture aside to cool a little, about 5 to 10 minutes. Then, whisk in one egg at a time until combined. Pour mixture into prepared pie shell.

 

Bake

For 40 to 45 minutes. The pie is done with the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is slightly firm to the touch but still has some jiggle to it. Cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.