Growing up, my mother was always baking for our family, neighbours, and friends. I remember waking up many mornings with the smell of freshly baked muffins luring me out of bed. Pies and cakes were always homemade. I have fond memories baking with my mom and sisters ever since I was young, and I remember it being the part of daily life I loved most.” — Marla
Marla Boehr, owner of milkandhoneypieco.com, traded the fashion runway for pie making. Read her modelling-to-baking story here. Today, she shares with us her baking tips, fave pie recipe, and tips on how to get the kids to lend a hand in the kitchen.
What are some baking tips that you’ve learned from your mom?
“Never run out of butter, flour and sugar! I learned all the baking fundamentals from my mom…The things you learn from experience — how long to cream butter for cookies, how to roll out pie crust… I have so much respect for years of tradition when it comes to baking and technique — from the simple to the complex.”
MORE MARLA and MOM TIPS:
- Cream butter until light and fluffy — usually 3-5 minutes (set a timer if you’re unsure) — or according to recipe instructions. Do not rush this step! Creaming butter aerates the dough, resulting in a fluffier cookie.
- Pie crusts can be tricky…You have to show the crust you are the boss! Rolling and crimping pie dough takes a lot of strength! Crimping requires quite a bit of pressure and lots of practice to get an even looking edge. Although there are various methods to crimp dough, I push the thumb of my right hand in between the thumb and index finger of my left hand, and work my way around the edges.
- For presentation, my mom’s best tip is to keep it simple. When plating, put the whipping cream or ice cream on the side so the actual pie slice is fully visible.
What inspires the type of pies you create?
“I am inspired by local food producers and produce what’s in season. Fruit and dairy are so important to buy locally…the flavours are spectacular, and it reduces your carbon footprint. I also love experimenting with flavour combinations particularly when it comes to herbs (e.g. blueberry and basil) and alcohol (e.g. sour cherry pie spiked with whiskey). I also love elevating the humble pie to something beautiful whether it be with florals, a lattice crust, or a fruity garnish.”
What’s next for Milk & Honey Pie Co.?
“BIG NEWS in this department…I am moving to Edmonton for my husband’s job. Exciting things seem to be happening in Edmonton with the opening of a food incubator there this spring called The Public . I would love to continue with pies in some trajectory and I have ideas on something I could scale to a national level. I never seem to run out of ideas! In the meantime, I will be experimenting with new recipes and creative projects so please feel free to follow along on Instagram @milkandhoneypieco
MARLA’S TOP PIE FOR THE HOLIDAYS: APPLE CRANBERRY
Ingredients: One 9” all- butter pie crust (unbaked with crimped edges). This can be homemade or store-bought (seriously, we’re not judging).
- 2 TBSP sugar
- ¼ c packed light brown sugar
- ¾ c rolled oats
- ⅓ c all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp ground allspice
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes, at room temperature
- 4 cups sliced apples
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 TBSP flour
Keep rolled and crimped pie crust in the fridge until ready to fill.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F when ready to bake the pie. Bake the pie in the lower half of the oven.
Make the crumble: In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon. Place the butter in the bowl and toss the pieces with your hands so they are coated with the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, chop the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of small peas. Once the butter is this size, use your fingers to fully break down the butter until it is no longer visible. Place crumble in the fridge until ready to use (pro-tip: crumble may be stored in the fridge for 2 days or in a ziploc bag in the freezer for 1 month).
Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir together the sliced apples and cranberries. In a small bowl, stir all the dry ingredients for the filling together. Add the dry ingredients to the apple/cranberry mix and toss together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated.
Assemble the pie: Retrieve your pie crust from the fridge and pour the fruity filling into the pie shell. Top with all of the oaty crumble. Place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.
Bake: Place the baking sheet topped with your assembled pie in the lower half of your preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is starting to turn a golden brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 30-35 minutes (or longer depending on your oven). Your pie will be done baking when the crust is a golden brown colour and the filling is bubbling and oozing over the edges of the pie. A bit of a mess on your baking sheet is a great sign in this case!
Cool completely on a wire rack, about 2-3 hours (if you can handle it;) Serve warm or at room temperature. This pie is lovely topped with slightly sweetened whipped cream (we prefer organic whipping cream for its exceptional flavour) or ice cream.
This pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days. Guaranteed it won’t last that long!!
MARLA’S TIPS ON HOW TO GET THE KIDS (HAPPILY) INTO THE KITCHEN:
- There is always the promise of eating it right after:)
- Get your kids their own aprons…my kids love theirs!
- Use baking as a way to teach math and chemistry skills (eg. 4 quarters equal a whole or ask, ‘what does baking soda do”?)
- Let kids explore food in a sensory way and allow time to clean up afterwards.