Scouting: Food52 Holiday Market

  Erin McDowell's Dessert Creations  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Erin McDowell's Dessert Creations | Image: Laura Messersmith

When I’m looking for guidance on a recipe or cooking technique (and Ina isn’t available to help with her words of wisdom) I check out Food52 to see what their experts have to say. So I was excited when I found out that the site was organizing a holiday pop-up shop downtown complete with demos and classes to help home cooks step up their game for holiday entertaining.

As soon as I saw the list of offerings I knew immediately that I wanted to sign up for a session called “Make Your Desserts Beautiful” with Erin McDowell a food stylist and test kitchen manager for Food52.

  Erin in Action  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Erin in Action | Image: Laura Messersmith

Check out this description – doesn’t it sound amazing?

"Fancy cakes and pies aren't just for bakeries. Erin McDowell will teach you foolproof ways to make intricate pie crusts and decorative cakes. She'll demo tips for braided pie edges, the perfect crimped crust, the classic swirled cake icing, and more."

  Classic Crimped Edge Pie Crust  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Classic Crimped Edge Pie Crust | Image: Laura Messersmith

  Classic Lattice Pie Crust  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Classic Lattice Pie Crust | Image: Laura Messersmith

I went full-on honor society, showing up early, sitting right in front, asking 1,000 questions, and Erin could not have been lovelier or more approachable. She showed us her tricks of the trade for frosting and decorating cakes beautifully, proper technique for rolling out pie dough, and how to do fancy things like cut out top crust. She also introduced us to a brilliant creation of her own devising called the “fattis” aka a fat lattice crust (photo evidence below.)

  The Fattis (aka Fat Lattice) Pie Crust  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

The Fattis (aka Fat Lattice) Pie Crust | Image: Laura Messersmith

I probably should have taken better notes, but thankfully Erin has several pie specific how-to articles on Food52 in case I need to jog my memory. I left feeling so jazzed about making pie and finally conquering a food group that’s always intimidated me. I’d sign up for this class again in a heartbeat, so while I wait for Erin to open up her own pastry school it’s going to be pie central around these parts while I practice these new skills. Step 1: try the All Buttah Pie Dough. Consider yourself warned.