Thursday, July 21, 2011

How To: Perfect Pie Crust

Next in my "How To"-- the perfect pie crust! It is the time to bake-up some summery, fruit-filled, or meringue-topped pies. And what better way to show your loved ones that you are willing to go the extra mile to make them the perfect treat? Believe me, this pie crust recipe will be a crowd-pleasing, show-stopper that will impressive the pants off everyone you know!

I really tried to break everything down step-by-step, because I know that making your own pie crust can be a little intimidating, even for the most seasoned baker (and I by no means am an expert yet). But, I hope you will dive in and try it, because it is fun, rewarding, and tastes wayyy better than the frozen stuff.

Ingredients (for pie crust bottom and top)
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 teaspoons sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), very cold
* 1/2 cup shortening, very cold
* 14 tablespoons ice water

Ingredients (if you need just a bottom or top crust)
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 6 teaspoons unsalted butter, very cold
* 1/4 cup shortening, very cold
* 7 tablespoons ice water

* In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar.
* Dice up cold butter into small cubes (remember: very cold ingredients are essential to flaky crust; leave in fridge until needed)
* Add the diced up butter to the flour mixture. To incorporate, rub/squeeze the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until it starts coming together into clumps. This should take 1-2 minutes.
* Note: instead of using hands, you can also use a pastry blender (I have one, but was at my Dad's when I made this, and using hands works just fine as well--just make sure to try to use only your fingers, that way your hands don't warm the ingredients too much).
* Then, add the shortening, and rub into the the floury/buttery mixture until it becomes incorporated into smaller pea-sized pieces. This should take about a minute or two.
* Add about half the water, and incorporate with fingers until damp. Then, add the rest of the ice water little by little until the dough is totally moistened (but not so much that there is excess moisture).Work the mixture together until just right, don't overwork the dough (as fun as it is, this will activate the gluten, and make the dough tough).
* Half the dough (if making top and bottom crust), wrap tight in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
* After done refrigerating, flour a smooth surface to work on, and pat your dough down on top.
* Begin working the dough from the center out with your rolling pin.
* Continue working until the dough is about an 11 inch circle.
* To get your dough onto your pie pan, I find it easiest to roll it back over my rolling pin, and then unroll the dough over the pie pan. There should be enough dough to hang a bit over the edges (I rolled mine out a little too much--no worries, that what scissors are for).
* Then fill your pie with whatever you fancy!
* If making a top, repeat steps above, and unroll over your filling.
* If baking only the bottom, make sure to line with some pie weights/beans if baking before you add your filing (depending on the recipe).
* Then, pull the bottom dough over the top dough, and roll up to pie pan edge. You may need to cut some overhang to make everything even. There are so many different ways to decorate the edges. This honestly is not my forte. As you can see, I do the pinchy-sun looking thing, because it's pretty easy. Literally, just pinch together the edge of the dough between your thumb and pointer finger, and push from other interior of the pie crust with your other hands pointer finger.

* Cut little vents in the top. I also like to brush my pie crust with a little egg white or heavy cream, and then sprinkle with granulated sugar (although you may want to wait until about halfway through baking time for this, so the top doesn't get too brown).
* Important note: Before putting pie crust in the oven, you will always want to line the edges with foil. Remove the foil band when there is about 30 minutes left of cooking. The reason for this is that otherwise the edges will get much darker than the rest of the pie. No one wants burned edges!
* Baking time will depend on what you are using the crust for, and will likely want to refer to the recipe you are using for the filling.

~ Stay tuned for some fresh cherry pie, and as always, stay fresh!

Pie crust recipe adapted from here.

No comments:

Post a Comment