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The kitchen in flaky mode

Upper-crust desserts take time or some imagination

By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / November 24, 2010

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Even good bakers who routinely turn out cakes and cookies from scratch seem to be afraid of pie crust. Others see this task as so satisfying, they can roll out crust after crust without breaking a sweat. But you can make apple pie and quite a good crust by stacking a few sheets of phyllo dough on top of one another and setting them on a mound of fruit. Or spread a cake batter over a bed of cranberries and apples in a pie pan, the way TV star Ina Garten does, to make an easy cake that looks and (almost) tastes like a pie. Or, if you’re fearless, make a professional-looking pear tart in a French pie pan, with a buttery crust and fanned slices of Bosc pears. The Thanksgiving table may demand pies, but it’s up to you to interpret the tradition.