Monday, July 28, 2014

Pie Crusts Musts

Anyone that steps into a kitchen to bake at one point must face the inevitable...You need to know how to make a pie crust. Now don't get me wrong, it was years even decades into my baking career that I even dared to make a pie crust. I did what many do, I either A) bought that roll out dough in the dairy section or B) bought one ready to bake from the freezer section.

That worked for a while, a sprinkle of sugar, a brushing of butter and you do fine to pass off an okay pie crust but as you bite into that pie with that wonderful filling you prepared you can't help but feel like a cheep date for having skimped on the crust..  Yeah we've all done it. Tucked tail and ran to the store instead of just making the darn thing yourself. It shouldn't be difficult, I mean you can make a souffle while a baby screams and it not fall. You managed to make that sugar free gluten free egg free cake your twelfth cousin thrice removed on your mother's side wanted for her wedding edible. A pie crust should be no issue. Well it isn't, so you're gonna do this and I'm gonna give you some tips and tricks I have learned over the years that allows me to pop out pie crusts faster than Julia Childs can make Duck A L'Orange. Roll up your sleeves guys and dolls, it's crust making time.

First thing first you are gonna need is a recipe. Now most any pie crust recipe will work but this is the one I use, so I'm going with it.

Pie Crust for Double  Crust, 9-10 inch

  • 5 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1pound salted butter
  • 2 cups water

  1. Mix salt and flour together
  2. Cut in butter
  3. Add enough water to bring together
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap
  5. Refrigerate 4 hours
  6. Roll out and use as needed. 
(Can be melted two days in the fridge or a month in a sealed container in the freezer, just let it thaw a day in the fridge before use.)

Okay, that's it but trust me there is more to it than that but honestly that's the basics. Now to get what has turned to paste in my hands on numerous occasions into this.

You gotta do this......
  1. Chill everything. Seriously, I put my flour and salt in the freezer for at least an hour before I start. I chill my bowl, I freeze the water until ice is starting  to form in the glass. And of course, keep  utter in the fridge until you need it.
  2. Take a cheese grater to your butter. Seriously, this is the best method I have found for "breaking down" chilled butter. Then I just pop it it into the freezer for twenty minutes  before  I get started.
  3. I don't use a food processor because it over works the dough for me. I don't use a pastry cutter because my butter melts too fast. I use my stand mixer, paddle attachment, on medium low speed to cut my butter flour and salt together. 
  4. Cut the butter and flour together just until it becomes grainy, some larger chunks are okay!
  5. Chill  bowl, ^_~
  6. Add 3/4 cup of chilled water in slowly and then add water a  spoon at a time until it is just  together. It will be crumbly but should hold shape is pressed together.
  7. You probably won't need all the water but I always chill more to compensate for ice forming and just to be safe.
  8. Hey, don't freak out if ice chips fall into the dough or even form on your bowl. Happens to me all the time, it's okay!
  9. Press the dough into two disks, each wrapped separately in plastic, pressed flat. This will make rolling out easier.
  10. Yes, this is a lot of dough but I make thick crusts in large deep pans, I always want to make sure I have extra, especially if I am doing a lattice top. This recipe can probably make 4 pie firsts is rolled out thin, or as most say, "normal thickness" lol
  11. Only work with one pie crust at a time,to keep butter from melting.
  12. Dust off extra flour from rolling out with a brush to keep it from baking with a too "floury" taste.
  13. Once you have the bottom of the pie in the pie plate, brush with an egg white and stick it back in the fridge. This will keep the bottom from getting soggy when filled and baked.
  14. Once the top is on your pie, brush it down. I used butter for savory and milk sprinkled with sugar for sweet.
  15. If making a lattice topped pie, cut the strips before you make the filling, lay on a well floured cookie sheet and stick in the fridge until ready to use.

Yeah I know, I did some things people swear you shouldn't and I don't use a drop of Crisco. Sorry Ma, that's for the chicken. But this works for me, it may just work for you. Don't worry, I won't tell. Now for the most important trip of all....

Give yourself time and don't be afraid to fail. It happens, even to the best of us. You'll find your way to make crusts, all you have to do is give yourself a chance and I promise you, one day you'll wonder what you were ever so worried about.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Hobbit