BASIC PIE HACKS
• If you burn your pie, scrape out the usable filling (if applicable) and repurpose to create other desserts, such as a trifle, cobbler, ice cream topping, cookie sandwich fillings, etc.
• Add a bit of lemon juice into your apple pie filling to offset the sweet with a dash of tart.
• Use food processor to mix crust ingredients together faster.
• To prevent cracking, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees.
• Blind baking/parbaking: if you need to bake the crust with no filling, fill the pie with dry beans or rice, or set another pie pan in the well. Invert, and bake on the center rack of an oven preheated to 350F until the crust is firm and golden, approximately 25 minutes.
• Golden rule: "when in doubt, throw it out."
HEALTHY BAKING HACKS
• One tablespoon of chia seeds to three tablespoons of water yields one egg replacement.
• Swap ground toasted nuts for some of the sugar in cake recipes helps increase flavor profile, provides high nutrients and proteins, and lowers sugar content.
• Add dried fruits (such as raisins, apples, pears, apricots, cherries and cranberries) to provide bursts of sweetness. Cutting the fruit into very small pieces helps distribute the flavors and sweetness more evenly.
• In cookies and quick bread recipes, substitute non-fat yogurt or applesauce for some of the butter. It helps keep the interior moist and reduces the amount of calories.
For more on Buddy Valastro, visit www.carlosbakery.com