Delicious Pie Recipes Straight From Bubby's

With the holidays upon us, it's time to start planning which dishes to bring to all of your seasonal parties and gatherings. Well, there's no need to slave over an impossible casserole or an obscure family recipe, because we have a lineup of delicious pies that will make you the talk of the table.
Bubby's, a home-cooking mecca in lower Manhattan, was kind enough to share its incredible recipes for autumn baked goods. And, boy do they look amazing. In the gallery ahead, we'll show you how to make pies from scratch — including the crust. Of course, you'll find seasonal favorites like apple pie included in the mix, but we've also snuck in a savory squash-and-sage pie along with a pumpkin, pecan, and caramel treat that are sure to please. Let the baking begin!
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Photo: Courtesy of Bubby's.
All-Butter Pastry Pie Dough (8-10 inch single crust)

4 to 5 tbsp ice cold water
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter

1. Measure out the water for the crust (with a bit of extra water in the cup in case you need a touch more) and then add ice cubes. Chill the water in the freezer (water should be very cold, but not frozen).

2. Measure out the flour (unsifted) by leveling off dry measuring cup, and add to a large bowl. Add the salt to the flour and give it a quick stir to combine evenly.

3. Using cold butter, measure out the amount you need, and then coat the cold, solid stick with the flour in the bowl. Using a dough scraper or a long butcher knife, cut the butter lengthwise in half, and then lengthwise in quarters, coating each newly cut side with flour as you go. Dice the butter into ¼-inch cubes (or 1-inch sticks if using a food processor). Break up any pieces that stick together and toss them all to coat them with flour. (If it is a warm day, chill this mixture briefly in the freezer before continuing.)

4. Using a pastry cutter, press the blades through the mixture, bearing down repeatedly like you would to mash potatoes. Repeat this gesture until the largest pieces of fat are the size of shelling peas and the smallest are the size of lentils (none smaller). Do not get overenthusiastic here: this size range makes for excellent flakiness. Re-chill if necessary.

5. When adding the water, begin with a fully chilled flour-and-fat mixture and ice cold water. Be judicious, even stingy, with the water. Do not add all the water at once; it must be dispersed into the mixture incrementally. Add water, two or three tablespoons at first, quickly tossing the mixture with your hands after each addition with the light upward motion to distribute the water evenly throughout it. Work the dough as little as possible.

6. Continue adding little bits of water at a time. When there are no floury bits anymore — just little comet-like cobbles that don’t quite cohere — slow down and sprinkle or flick water in at this point. One drop can make the difference and bring it all together. The balance can shift quickly from crumbly to wet.

7. To test the dough for consistency, lightly pat together some dough the size of a tennis ball. If the ball crumbles apart or has lots of dry looking cracks in it, the dough is still too dry; let it break apart. Add a drop or two of water to the outside of the ball and work it just a little. If it holds and feels firm and supple, mop up any remaining crumbs with the ball — if they pick up easily, the dough is probably wet enough. If they fall back into the bowl, you might need a touch more water. The pastry should be just a little bit tacky when you touch it.

8. Shape the dough into one round ball with your hands. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour to relax and slow the gluten development and re-chill the fat. In practical terms, this cold rest makes the dough easier to roll out.

9. When chilled, unwrap the dough and place it on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface like a wooden chopping block or a countertop. Keep a little mound of flour off to the side to pull from as needed.

10. Gently press the ball down with the palm of your hand to flatten it into a round, flat, disk, about two inches high. Sprinkle the flattened dough with flour. Start the rolling pin in the center and keep rolling the dough from the center outward — using more pressure in the center and less as you near the edge. Take care not to roll beyond the outside edge or it will get too thin. If the edges start to crack and separate, gently squeeze them back together. Scatter flour across the rolling surface and flip the puck over.

11. Strive to make the thickness of the dough as even as possible—about ⅛-inch thick by the end. Loosely fold the circle in half, then in quarters. Center the tip of the wedge in the pie plate and unfold the pie dough very gently. Lift the edges inward a bit to help the dough settle into the edges of the pan on its own accord without forcing it. Don’t press or stretch the dough.

12. After lining the pie pan and allowing the dough to settle into it completely, trim the excess dough — about ¾ inch beyond the edge of the pan — with the pastry cutter or the tip of a sharp knife. Roll the trimmed dough edge and rest it on the lip of the tin. Work your way around the edge continuously, striving for a rolled edge pretty even in thickness — about ½ inch. The easiest way to crimp the edge of a single-crust pie is by pressing the tines of a fork evenly around the edge. You might need to dip the tines in flour occasionally to keep the dough from sticking to them.

13. Chill the fully formed crust for at last 20 minutes before filling it or baking it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bubby's.
Apple Pie

Ingredients
All-Butter Pastry Pie Dough for two 9-inch crusts, chilled
3½ pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ½" to ¼" thick
¼ cup butter, melted (2 oz)
1 tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of ground clove
3 tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 475° F. Peel, core, and slice apples. Sauté in butter until the apples get very soft. Measure the filling ingredients out on top of the apples and toss everything together. Roll out two rounds of dough. Make sure the top crust is rolled big enough to cover the mound of apples and has enough left over to crimp with the bottom crust. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the bottom crust. Place apple mixture in the bottom crust. Drape top crust over it. Roll and crimp crust edge. Make decorative slits on the top of the pie for steam to escape. Sprinkle very lightly with water and dust with sugar.

2. Bake the pie on a lipped cookie sheet for 10 minutes, or until the crust looks dry, blistered, and blonde. Turn the oven down to 350° F, and bake at least 30 minutes or more, or until the crust is golden brown and visible juices are thickened and bubble slowly through slits in top crust. Be patient, it could take an hour more. This second cooking time varies from pie to pie, oven to oven. With a pie this high, you can expect some runoff on the tray. Test apples for doneness by poking a wooden skewer through the open vent slits of the top crust.

3. Cool completely before cutting, at least a few hours. Serve at room temperature. Store uncovered so the pastry can breathe at room temperature up to two days.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bubby's.
Fresh Pumpkin Pie with Caramel Sauce and Candied Pecans

Ingredients
Par-baked All-Butter Pastry Pie Crust for one 9-inch pie
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree (see below)
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1⅓ cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp chopped candied ginger (optional)
1 recipe Caramel Sauce (see below)
1 recipe Candied Pecans (see below)

1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Take one small (3 to 4 pound) cheese pumpkin and carefully cut it into quarters. Remove the seeds (clean them, and then toast them with seasoned salt and paprika for a tasty snack) and set the slices in a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about an hour, until a knife slides through it easily. Uncover and let it cool at room temperature. Then scoop out the pumpkin meat into a mixing bowl. With a potato masher, smash it up until smooth, leaving no lumps at all.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the pumpkin, cream, eggs, sugars, and vanilla until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and blend just until combined. Sprinkle the ginger in the par-baked pie shell and pour the filling on top.

3. Bake the pie on a rimmed baking sheet for 50-55 minutes, or until just barely set in the center. Wiggle the pie gently to test its doneness — look for a center that juggles but doesn’t look slosh. The retained heat in the custard will continue cooking the middle as the pie cools off. Don’t overcook it or the texture won’t be as silky.

4. Cool the pie completely on a cooling rack before cutting, at least a few hours, then refrigerate. Serve it cold with Caramel Sauce and Candied Pecans.

Note: Pumpkin Puree
Pie pumpkins are pale yellow on the outside. They're often called cheese pumpkins because they have a creamier texture than the traditional orange Jack-O-Lantern-type of pumpkin, which are a bit stringy for pie. They're usually a little smaller than the orange pumpkins. Still, a 3-pound pumpkin will yield enough puree for 6 to 7 pies. The puree does keep in the fridge for five or six days, and in the freezer for a month. You can also make a delicious soup or raviolis or any number of things with the remaining puree.

Caramel Sauce
1½ cups sugar
½ cup water
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed

1. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy pot over medium heat. Don’t stir it. Clip a candy thermometer to the side so that the tip is immersed in the water but not touching the bottom of the pan.

2. Whisk together the heavy cream and sour cream. Set aside at room temperature.

3. Cook the syrup until it is a rich caramel color (340 to 380° F on candy thermometer) and remove it from the heat. With the caramel pot off the heat, add the butter a little at a time, stirring quickly. Add the cream and sour cream and still well.

4. Cool and store caramel sauce in an airtight container.

Candied Pecans
¼ cup honey
1½ tbsp whiskey
1¾ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 cups raw, unsalted pecans

Preheat oven to 300° F. In a large bowl, mix together the honey, whiskey, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Add the nuts and mix well.

Spread the coated nuts on a large well-greased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Stir and scrape them up every 5 minutes with a spatula and return the pan to the oven until the nuts smell good and are deep glossy brown. Be careful not to burn them.

Remove the pan from the oven and scrape the nuts up with a spatula occasionally as they are cooling or they’ll stick together and to the sheet.

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Photo: Courtesy of Bubby's.
Sour Cherry Lattice Pie

Ingredients
All-Butter Pastry Pie Dough for two 9-inch crusts, chilled
5 ⅓ cups pitted sour cherries*
¼ cup ground quick-cooking tapioca
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp almond extract
A pinch of salt
Sugar to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 475° F. Pit fresh sour cherries into a bowl. Combine them, and the juice they create, with the quick-cooking tapioca so that it has a chance to soften.

2. Roll out two pie dough rounds, line a 9-inch pie pan with one round of dough. Cut the second into lattice strips. Chill both.

3. Measure the sugar, salt, lemon zest, almond extract, and melted butter into the cherries. Toss briefly and pour into the bottom crust. Cover with lattice top crust. Curl up crust edge and crimp. Chill pie well in freezer or refrigerator before baking.

4. Sprinkle top lightly with sugar. Bake the pie on a rimmed cookie sheet for 10 minutes or until the crust looks dry, blistered, and blonde. Turn the oven down to moderate, 350° F, and bake at least a half an hour more, or until the crust is golden brown and visible juices are thickened and bubble slowly through the lattice top crust. Be patient, it could take an hour more. This second cooking time varies from pie to pie, oven to oven. Cool completely before cutting, at least a few hours. Serve at room temperature. Store uncovered so the pastry can breathe at room temperature up to two days.

*If you’re working with frozen cherries in sugar syrup, thaw and drain them in a colander positioned over a bowl (unlike the fresh cherry juice, don’t retain it for the pie — use this sweetened juice for some other thing, like homemade cherry soda, as we do at Bubby’s). Thaw cherries a couple of hours before they are needed. When they’re ready, combine them with the tapioca. Also, decrease sugar to ⅔ cup.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bubby's.
Savory Butternut Squash Pie

Ingredients
Par-baked All-Butter Pastry Pie Crust for one 9-inch Pie
2 cups fresh butternut squash puree
1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp whole butter
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 yellow onion, diced
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp freshly chopped sage
1 tsp freshly chopped tarragon
1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
2 tsp sea salt
Pinch of ground cayenne
1⅓ cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
1 tsp orange zest
Juice from ½ orange
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus 3 tbsp reserved for the top

Butternut Squash Puree
Preheat oven to 325° F. Take one small (3 to 4 lbs) butternut squash and carefully cut it into halves. Remove the seeds and place cut face down in a baking dish. Bake for about an hour, until a knife slides through it easily. Let it cool. Scoop out the meat into a mixing bowl. With a potato masher, smash it up until smooth, leaving no lumps at all.

Pie
1. In a sauté pan, melt the butter until bubbling. Add the garlic and cook until sizzling. Add the diced onion and cook until it begins to brown. Set aside and cool.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, seasonings, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the squash puree, cream, and eggs, garlic and onion mixture, orange zest and orange juice until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and blend just until combined.

4. Pour the mixture into the par-baked pie shell and place on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining grated Parmesan on top and place in the middle rack of the preheated oven.

5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until just barely set in the center. Wiggle the pie gently to test its doneness — look for a center that juggles but doesn’t look sloshy. The retained heat in the custard will continue cooking the middle as the pie cools off. Don’t overcook it or the texture won’t be as silky.

6. Cool the pie completely on a cooling rack before cutting, at least a few hours. Serve at room temperature.
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