Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Perfect Pie Crust

Dear Mom,

Have you ever noticed that we have the same hands?  
Thank you for teaching my hands a zillion things about 
baking.  Especially your bits about pie dough, because 
you're one of the few people I know who makes pie 
completely from scratch.  Not to mention that your pie 
is the best pie in the entire world.  Although my pie will 
always pale in comparison to yours, I'm eternally grateful.  

Sara Kay

Dear Everybody!

This is the first of a slew of Thanksgiving recipes - hurrah!  I'm starting with pie because you can freeze the dough, so it's an easy one to make ahead.  Tomorrow, I'll be posting Pumpkin Pie (the easiest pie on the planet) and then on Friday, I'll post a Southern-boy-approved Pecan Pie recipe.  If time permits, I'll try to squeeze in my mom's apple pie recipe at some point.  But I'm dedicating this weekend to turkey, stuffing, and gravy.  Whew.  (Anyone want to come over and take photos for me while I cook?  And wash dishes?)

After researching this recipe, I decided to finally follow all the cool kids and make my dough in a food processor.  I've been protesting for years, proudly raising my metal pastry blender in the air, embracing the old-school way of blending dough.  Ahem.  Until now.  The cool kids were onto something with their new-fangled food processor ways.  Aside from the dough coming together in mere seconds, the food processor really does a superior job of mixing in the fats and water without overworking the dough.  I'm officially a fan.

I posted exactly 14 tons of photos below, hoping that they'll help illustrate the steps of making pie dough.  Please let me know if it's helpful (or overkill), or if you have any questions, or tips to offer!

Pie in the Sky,

Perfect Pie Crust
adapted from Barefoot Contessa

makes 2, 10" crusts:

12 Tbsp. (169g) unsalted butter, very cold
6 Tbsp. (72g) butter flavor shortening, very cold
2 1/2 c. (320g) flour
1 tsp. (4g) kosher salt
1 Tbsp. (12g) sugar
8-10 Tbsp. ice water

Dice the butter and shortening and keep chilled in the freezer while you prepare the flour mixture.

Measure the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and shortening pieces.  Pulse 8-12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.  Drizzle 8 Tbsp. of the ice water over the mixture.  Process just until the dough starts to form a ball, adding more water - a Tbsp. at a time - if mixture is too dry.  Gather the dough into 2 even balls and flatten into disks.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.  These discs can be frozen for up to a week.  Allow to thaw in your refrigerator and roll as directed below.

Roll each dough ball out on a well-floured surface, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough as needed to prevent sticking.

Note: My original pie crust recipe used all shortening, so I'm betting that this can be made nondairy by substituting shortening for all of the butter.

Ingredient Lineup:

Butter and shortening added to flour mixture:

Pulse until butter is the size of peas:

Add ice water then process until dough starts to form a ball,
adding tablespoons of ice water if dough is too dry.

Place chilled disc of dough onto a well-floured surface:

Roll dough from the center toward the edges, sprinkling with flour to keep from sticking:

Roll dough to a thickness like that of 3 stacked dimes:

Or, hold your pie plate over the circle to make sure you've rolled the dough wide enough:

Roll the edge of the circle over the rolling pin:

As you roll over the pin, sprinkle a little flour on the underside, to keep it from sticking:

Continue rolling over the pin until the entire circle of dough is coiled up:

Lift the pin with dough up onto the edge of your pie pan:

And roll the pin along the top edge of the pie plate, letting the dough circle unroll until it covers the plate:

Lift up the edges of the dough to let it fall into the bottom of the pie plate:

Trim the edge of the dough circle to roughly 1" from the pie plate's edge:

Tuck the cut edge of the dough circle under, creating a smooth rolled edge around the plate:

To crimp the edges, push your inside index finger into a V 
created by your outside thumb and index finger:

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  1. Thank you so much for the pie crust recipe and step-by-step directions (with photos)... it is very helpful. I almost feel like I can do this now. :0)

  2. Louisa - You definitely can do it! Post questions for me if you bump into them, ok?


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