Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pie Crust Primer...Works for Me Wednesday

Why is it four ingredients (one of them being ICE WATER) can cause baking anxiety?   Flour, salt, fat and water…you know what I'm talking about: pie crust.

Don't get me wrong, I have used Pillsbury refrigerated crusts many a time...and it's really pretty yummy.  But, maybe Thanksgiving has you feeling brave.  Maybe you want to feel like a domestic goddess (pie crust from scratch will do that for ya).  Maybe, just maybe, your mother-in-law is coming for dinner and you want her to know that you can make pie crust, too.

Here were my fears about pie crust...
  • Am I working the dough too much?
  • What fat should I use?
  • Will it get soggy?
  • Will it be flaky and not taste good?
  • Will it be tasty and not flake?
  • Will I send my husband to the store for a box of the refrigerated stuff?

Fear no more!  Let me share my favorite, no-fail recipe along with a few tips for a perfectly flaky, delicious pie crust!

For a double-piecrust:
(modified from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion)

2 & 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c. cold shortening (Crisco)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 c. ice water

Reserve a few tablespoons of flour, set aside. Whisk together remaining flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until it is crumbly.

Place the reserved flour on work surface and coat butter in it. Use a rolling pin or your hand to flatten the butter until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Break the flour-coated butter into 1 inch pieces and mix into the dough until it is evenly distributed.

Sprinkle water over the dough while tossing with a fork just until it is easily squeezed into a ball. Flatten into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll each disk into a 12 x 9″ rectangle (approx). Fold into thirds, like a letter, then fold again in thirds to form a square. Wrap both pieces again and refrigerate 30 more minutes.

After 30 minutes, let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes, then roll out to the size needed for the bottom crust.  Use the second piece for a lattice or decorative top.

Now, here are a few pie crust secrets:
  1. For a perfectly baked bottom crust, use a glass pie pan and bake the pie on the bottom rack of your oven.
  2. To prevent a soggy bottom crust on a fruit pie, brush on a thin layer of lightly beaten egg white before adding the fruit.
Psst....Cheryl over at TidyMom is having a Pie PARTY on the 16th.  Go check out the pies and link up your own! 

Never fail pie crust....works for me! :)

{Portions of this post first appeared as a guest post on Muthering Heights.}

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