By Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous)
The tables have turned, now here’s your chance to “dig in like an Alabama tick” when you serve up this Pie-redator apple-strawberry pie at your next movie marathon night.
Time to create:
* 2 hours to make the top design
* 0.5 hours to make the pie bottom
* 45 minutes to bake
* 1 large box of strawberries
* 4 apples
* Vanilla extract
* Blue and red (or purple) food colouring
* Egg white
* Pillsbury ready made pie crust, or your own crust
* Food-safe paintbrush
* Fontant sculpting tools (optional)
* Sharp knife
* A printer and paper
* Image editing software (optional)
* Pie pan
* Flat plate or cutting board
* Cling wrap
* Small glass jars
Step 1 - Prepare a template
Image credit: Stan Winston School of Character Art
If you are looking for a scary monster face, you don't have to go much further than Stan Winston's website of movie creature designs! But you can use any image you like provided it has a clear outline for you to cut around.
I used Photoshop to resize the image and make sure it would fit nicely within an 8" pie pan, but this is not a critical step. You can simply pick an image and print it out the full size of your 8.5"x11" sheet of paper and it should be a decent fit for your pie pan.
Step 2 - Assemble your supplies
I like to use two flat surfaces for this type of work:
1. a flat plate covered in floured cling wrap to place finished elements on, and
2. a floured cutting board to cut out the pieces.
Fondant sculpting tools are handy, but not critical - you can always use your own fingers in a pinch!
Step 3 - Trace the primary shape
After cutting out the head shape of my Predator on the paper, I traced it on the rolled out dough with a sharpe knife, and then set aside.
Why use a tracing guide for this? One word: speed. While you could freehand all of the layers for this design, with pie dough you are always working against the clock - the longer you leave your dough out, the dryer and grosser it gets. I find a combo of freehand detail work and guides for the large elements gets me the results I want in the fastest time possible.
Step 4 - Freehand cut out surrounding details
I freehand cut out the shapes for the dreadlocks and neck plates, and then placed on my floured plate. I don't bother using paper cutouts and tracing these elements because they are pretty simple, and because this method allows me to conform them to my pie plate precisely.
Step 5 - Mix up your colour wash
Painting with food colouring alone on pie dough does not work. One day I will use science to find out why. For now, suffice it to say, mixing food colouring with any form of extract containing alcohol does work.
Mix a few drops of red and blue food colouring in with a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The should give you a purpley-brown colour to paint with (and it smells awesome).
Step 6 - Base coat background elements
On your working plate, lay out the neck pieces and dreadlocks. Use your food-safe brush to do a wash of your vanilla colouring.
Step 7 - Cut out the smaller details
Place the main head piece on top of the dreadlocks and neck plates. Go back to your original paper guide and cut the paper down again for the next layer of dough. The head, upper jaw, and lower jaw pieces can be traced and cut out of the dough now.
Step 8 - Blend layers and sculpt detail
With egg whites as glue, add all the pieces together.
Using your fingers and the fondant tools, begin to sculpt the details of the face. If your dough starts to dry out, dunk your fingers in the egg wash, just as you would with water on clay.
Step 9 - Paint details
Start to shade in the eye area and jaw and add the head mottling. At this point I also added some bands over the dreadlocks as in the drawing.
Step 10 - Add a darker colour wash
Add a few more drops of blue and red food colouring to your vanilla wash to get a slightly darker colour. With this, go over the tops of the dreadlocks and a few areas under the eyes and chin to create a deeper shading/gradient effect.
Pie top = done!
Wrap it up and stick it in the fridge until you are ready for it. Keeping it cool until the moment before it goes in the oven will help keep the details crisp.
Step 11 - Make the rest of the pie
The "pie part" of your pie can be anything really... I chose a blend of boiled apples, raw apples and strawberries, and I gave my dough a wash of strawberry jam before filling. It was super yummy.
Step 12 - Transfer the design over
The pie bottom is done, the pie top is done, and we are ready to assemble!
Slip a large strawberry under where his mouth will line up, then carefully transfer over the whole top design from your work plate.
Pop the pie in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, or whatever your particular "pie bottom" recipe calls for. Every oven is different so keep an eye on it. The vanilla extract wash will darken up in the oven considerably, so go by the non-coloured areas to tell if your pie is ready.
Step 13 - Poke in his mouth hole while strawberry still hot
As soon as you take your pie out of the oven, grab a chopstick or the back of your paintbrush and poke in his mouth hole until it looks like a lovely gooey gross monster trachea.
Step 14 - Done!
Et voila! Dig in... and if you liked this recipe/tutorial, follow me on instagram @ThePieous for more geeky pie ideas and tips.