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Learning to Bake Pies at Triple Creek Ranch

Although Triple Creek Ranch offers plenty of outdoor adventures for active boomers, sometimes you need a break from all that rugged fun. That’s how I found myself in a pie baking class on a Thanksgiving visit to the Montana Relais & Chateau guest ranch.

Executive Pastry Chef Natasha Platt

Executive Pastry Chef, Natasha Platt, graciously shares her expertise in pie making with guests of the ranch.

Guests gather in the gourmet kitchen of Ponderosa cabin to watch Executive Pastry Chef, Natasha Platt, bake pies. As we sip on coffee or hot chocolate, Natasha mixes up her flakey pie dough recipe before effortlessly rolling out the dough onto the granite countertop. The secret to her flakey crust? Natasha freezes the butter before grating it into the pie dough mixture.

Executive Pastry Chef Natasha Platt

Natasha rolls out the dough as the smell of baking apples makes our mouths water.

Next, Natasha mixes up the filling for apple and pumpkin pies. As the pies cook, guests ask questions about Natasha’s baking techniques. She also shares stories about her life as a pastry chef. And there’s time to tour the lovely 3-bedroom Ponderosa cabin, which would make a fun multigenerational headquarters at the ranch or the perfect space for several couples traveling together.

Executive Pastry Chef,Natasha Platt

Natasha’s skill at lacing the perfect apple pie topping is enviable.

Soon the kitchen fills with the aroma of fresh baked pies. Of course the pie baking class isn’t complete without sampling Natasha’s efforts. Yum!

Cooking demonstrations are complimentary at Triple Creek Ranch. They are an excellent activity for learning while resting your body for even more Triple Creek Ranch adventures.

Executive Pastry Chef Natasha Platt

Picture perfect apple pie!

Thanks to Natasha for sharing her pie recipes with our readers:

Flakey Pie Dough
10 oz All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
8 oz Butter, cold
3 oz Ice Water

Mix flour and salt together.
Grate butter & toss in the flour.
Add ice water and toss until the flour is moistened.
Let the dough rest in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before use.

Apple Pie Filling
2 lbs Apples
1/2 Lemon
1 oz Butter
4 oz Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 oz Apple Cider
1 oz Cornstarch
2 oz Water
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
2 oz Brandy

Peel, core & slice the apples.
Toss apples in lemon juice.
Sauté apples in butter.
Add sugar, cinnamon, salt & cider.
Cook apples until desired firmness.
Make a slurry with the cornstarch & water.
Add mixture to apples and cook until thickened.
Mix in the vanilla & brandy.
Let cool.
Pour into a pie shell and lattice the top.
Bake @350F for approximately 1 hour until golden.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
12 oz canned Pumpkin Pie puree
5 oz Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Ginger
1/8 tsp. Cloves
3 Eggs
10 oz Half & Half

Whisk brown sugar, spices & salt into the pumpkin puree.
Blend in the eggs and Half & Half.
Bake @350F for approximately 30 minutes until set and the middle just barely jiggles.

Executive Pastry Chef Natasha Platt

Natasha’s pumpkin pie was delicious!

Triple Creek Ranch introduces Cooking School Vintner Weekends for 2015  The food and wine events (included with the room rate at no extra cost) offer hands-on experiences featuring Chef Jacob Leatherman and his staff as they showcase various culinary techniques. The weekends feature vintners from Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena and Oregon’s Et Fille wineries, who join guests for cooking classes and wine pairing dinners.

Have you visited the exquisite Triple Creek Ranch or are you planning a visit? Come join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook. Or send us an email with your thoughts.

Disclosure: Triple Creek Ranch provided this travel experience. However the opinions are strictly my own.

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