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Demo: Pie Pastry Crusts

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#1 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 07:26 PM

This demo thread will be a collaborative effort and it's open to all members of the eGullet Society For Arts & Letters to particpate in. I want to make a special note, if you double check the title of this thread I've specified it as "Pie Pastry Crusts" which to me can be defined as crusts made with flour, fat and liquid. Crusts that are pressed into the pan, nut crusts, graham cracker crusts, ground cookie crumbs, etc... will be demo'ed in a seperate thread titled "Demo: Press-in Crusts". So please consider which type of crust your making and choose the appropriate demo thread to share on.

My co-hosts and I will delete any off topic questions, remarks or chatter, keeping this thread narrowly focused on demonstrations. If you have questions on a demo that isn't the most current poster, please mention to whom your asking a question to, then let that person respond as the authority of their own information.

As promised I said I would begin this thread with the information I have previously written for a pie crust baking class. I'm sorry, I need to break that promise due to feeling under the weather (head cold). I'd like to hold off with my part of the demonstration and let you all begin, please.

I'll begin this thread by pasteing in Jackel10's demo, that was accidentally posted on the wrong thread. Please feel free to jump in and ask Jackel10 about his crust, recipe, technique or any questions you have. Then I hope we can look forward to seeing many of you post your demonstrations of your crust recipes.

Thanks in advance everyone!!.........enjoy!

Here a a pork pie made with an oil-based hot water crust.
Not the best looking pie I've made, but tasty, In any case hand raised pies should look a little rustic, and be slightly pot-bellied. If you want it easier, make it inside a muffin tin for a small one, or a springform for a larger pie.
Normally this would be lard based, wich is easier to mold, as it stiffens as it cools, but someone up thread was asking about oil based, so here goes.

Hot Water Paste
Enough for two small or one large pie

200g/8 oz strong (bread) flour
75g/3oz oil (I used sunflower oil. Olive oil would be too assertive a taste Normally this would be lard or other hard fat)
25g/1 oz water.
Pinch salt

Boil together the water and the oil. Sift the flour and the salt (I just whizz briefly)

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Whizz together  with the boiling water/oil to form a ball. You may need to add more hot watrer - I added about another 25ml You could do this by hand, but you need to work quickly before it cools. Softish dough.

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Cut off about a third for a lid and set aside. Form the rest around a glass, or something cylindrical. They were originally formed around wooden dollies, although you can hand raise freeform. You need to work while the pastry is warm. Unlike normal pastry, which is better cold, this is better worked hot. If you made it with lard it will stiffen as it cools. The oil based pastry stays soft, so may need support of a paper band round the outside when you remove the former.

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Fill with your chosen filling, I was in a hurry, so this is ordinary sausagemeat, with extra pepper and some anchovy. A proper pork pie (for this quantity - 2 pies)

300g/13oz pork shoulder coarsely minced
100g/4oz unsmoked bacon chopped fine
1 tsp chopped sage
1/2 tsp anchovy essence
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground balck pepper

Mix together. Should be peppery. Fill the coffins, as the pastry cases used to be called.  If you put a hardboiled egg in the middle and make it rectangular its a Gala Pie. Other fillings are a game forcemeat, or a pate (pate en croute). Pork and apple or Pork and chutney are good, but a plain pork pie best of all.

Roll out and put on the lid, crimp round the edges. Decorate if you like, and put  the all important hole in the middle.
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BAke in the middel of a hot (350F) oven for half an hour. Bigger pies will take longer, at a lower temperature. Take it out and egg glaze. You can see I did not crimp the lid properly. Bake for another half an hour.
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Fill though the hole in the top with a strongly jellied stock. Originally this would have been made from the pork bones, but I had some in the fridge. A paper funnel helps.

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I should have left it longer before cutting, as the stock had not gelled properly. The holes should be filled with jellied stock.
Not the most beautiful pie, but  a more than adequate cold supper with a few pickles and a bit of salad

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#2 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 01:49 PM

O.k. just one more thing to mention. We should be posting our recipes into RecipeGullet (button for it is on the top right side of your page), then linking to your recipe in your post. If you need help, please pm me or my co-hosts.

#3 chefpeon

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 06:39 PM

Ok, kids, as promised, here is my Leaf Lard Pie Demo.
I've posted the recipe and instructions in RecipeGullet, and it's here.

First, you must have your leaf lard, although in this recipe, I'm sure regular lard would work fine too. You can purchase leaf lard, already rendered, for $1.00 per 1 pound tub at Dietrich's Meats.

I've been a PC for over 15 years. I've made a LOT of pies, and I've made a LOT of pie crusts, and I've tried a LOT of recipes. Discovering leaf lard, for me, has been like finding a genie in a bottle. I swear by the stuff......I've never made anything better, I swear to God! In fact, I love leaf lard so much, I would marry it......or maybe be the Official Spokesmodel/Ambassador of Leaf Lard. Don't worry, my opinion is totally unbiased and I'm not being paid to say it.....not even by Mr. Trump. :raz:

So this demo is just a visual tour of your basic pie dough making process. No new ground being broken, except for the fact that I'm using the MAGICAL LEAF LARD. The technique I use will serve anyone well, no matter what pie crust recipe you use.

Ok, step one......
Combine 1/4 cup ice water and two tsp. white vinegar.
Measure out 6 Tbsp. of leaf lard (or 3 ozs)....weighing it is easier.
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Then, combine your 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 3/4 cups pastry flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. baking powder. Put that, and your bowl of vinegar water in the freezer for about 20 minutes so everything is nice and cold. Having your ingredients ice cold is optimal to get the flakiest crust....the coldness keeps the butter and lard from "squishing" into your dry ingredients and reducing flakiness. But you know, if you skip the step of putting everything in the freezer, it's not the end of the world. As a matter of fact, I skip it a lot when I don't have much time, or more likely lack of room in my freezer.

Next, cut up 12 Tbsp. (1 and a half sticks) COLD butter into small chunks. You can use salted or unsalted butter....depends on your preference. Place the butter chunks and lard on top of your dry ingredients.....like so......
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Next, using a pastry cutter, or by rubbing with your fingers or using a couple of kitchen knives, cut the butter and lard into the flour mixture til it looks sorta like coarse meal flecked with pea size chunks of butter and lard.....kinda like this...
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I've always liked using a pastry cutter best. If I were making a bunch of pies at work, I'd have my dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and I would cut the butter into the dough with the paddle attachment on the mixer, or if I was lucky and had a dough blade, I'd use that.

Next, sprinkle in your vinegar/ice water mixture, and using a fork, toss it around til it comes together.
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I've always found that the amount of water called for in this recipe is always right on. I've never needed to add more or less.

Next, gather your moistened li'l chunks into a rough dough ball.....like so.....
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Then divide your dough ball in half.....
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Then press into two fat disks, and wrap them in plastic wrap.
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Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours before using. You can freeze it too, if you want.

Ok! 30 minutes are up......time to roll it out! Here's my bottom crust......see all the "chunks" of fat in there? That's a GOOD thing!
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I line my pan, and put my apple filling in, which I made from the apples I have in my yard. I have no idea what kind of apples they are, but they're great baking apples. I dot it generously with butter, then roll out my top crust.
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I brush the edge of my bottom crust with water, then place my top crust on, press to seal, then trim the edges with scissors.
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Then I roll the excess crust under the edge, tuck it into the pie pan, flute the edge, brush the top with egg wash (no egg wash on the edges!), cut steam vents (A is for Apple), and sprinkle with coarse vanilla sugar.
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Into the oven it goes......
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As you can see, I have TWO pies in my Fabulous Frigidaire Flair oven. The first pie, which I demo'd and the mini-pie, which I made from the dough scraps and extra filling I had. I love my
Fabulous Frigidaire Flair oven. It was top o' the line in 1962 (the same year I was born), and here
it is 43 years later, still chugging away. I love it so much that I have another one just like it in my garage as a "parts" oven. I will definitely cry the day that I can no longer fix my Flair, and can't find parts. The Flair oven was also the oven Samantha had in her kitchen on Bewitched!

Ok, pie is done........
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Yum! Looks great!
Gotta let it cool.....then......
cut a slice!
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Is that a flaky lookin' pie crust or WHAT??? Gotta trust me when I say it tastes great too!

Now check this out......this is a slice of the mini pie that I made with the scraps! It looks just as flaky!
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Pretty cool, huh?

Hopefully you can discover the joys of leaf lard too......you'll love it, I promise! :wub:

#4 CaliPoutine

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 06:55 PM

Fabulous demo. Pie crusts really scare me. I read about leaf lard in an old issue of CI and I must order some.

Im determined to make and enter a pie in our town fair. I just read an article about a deep dish apple pie( once again, i think it was CI) and they cooked the filling first. Anyone ever try that?

#5 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 07:08 PM

please respond to CaliPoutines question about pie filling on this thread, about pie fillings.

#6 Beanie

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 09:49 AM

[Then I roll the excess crust under the edge, tuck it into the pie pan, flute the edge, brush the top with egg wash (no egg wash on the edges!), cut steam vents (A is for Apple), and sprinkle with coarse vanilla sugar.
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Great demo! Can you give us tips on how you fluted the edge? The indentations are so deep and the "points" sticking out so well defined. I have so much trouble fluting even though directions always make it seem so easy. Thanks.
Ilene

#7 jgarner53

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 02:44 PM

Lovely fluting Anne! It looks like you lose some of the detail as the pie bakes, or is that just a trick of the photography?
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#8 chefpeon

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 03:48 PM

Can you give us tips on how you fluted the edge? The indentations are so deep and the "points" sticking out so well defined. I have so much trouble fluting even though directions always make it seem so easy. Thanks.


It is pretty easy.....ok, how to explain.....hmmmmm. I should have had my husby take a picture AS I was fluting and it would have been easy to see! I didn't think of it....sorry.

Ok, the indentations are formed by my index finger. As I'm making the indentation, with my other index finger and thumb, I am pressing the dough in a V-form around my index finger. Does that make sense? Next time I make a pie, I will have my husband snap a pic as I'm fluting and I'll post it here.

It looks like you lose some of the detail as the pie bakes, or is that just a trick of the photography?


No doubt, I do lose a lot of detail when the pie bakes....that's why I make the fluting so defined when I make the pie.....'cause I know...<snif> that some of it will go away. The pie still looks pretty good out of the oven though..... :wub:

#9 JayBassin

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 07:16 AM

I absolutely agree that (1) the demo is fantastic and (2) shortening only adds some flakiness, lots of trans-fats, and zero flavor. I think the reason shortening works is because it's pure fat---American butter is almost 20% water. I've used 1/2 butter and 1/2 clarified butter (be sure not to cook the clarified butter past the stage where all the water is boiled off).

I also make butter dough in a food processor and agree that it can get too mealy. I whiz 1/2 the butter in with the flour and let it get mealy, then add the other half of the butter in small dice and just blend. I add a teaspoon of distilled vinegar, which breaks gluten strands, and mix in ice water. I dump the rough dough on the counter and smear the chunky butter in with the heel of my hand, folding the dough together a couple of times.

I think that the diced and smeared butter provides the same flakiness as a shortening dough, with more flavor and no transfat. Admittedly, it's hard to do in large batches in a commercial kitchen.
He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau

#10 RuthWells

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:26 AM

shortening only adds some flakiness, lots of trans-fats, and zero flavor

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There is a non-trans-fat shortening being offered by Crisco in the market -- I wonder whether there is an equivalent available to the trade? I've only ever attempted all-butter pie crusts, but am interested in trying a part-shortening based on Wendy's tests.

Wendy, as always, you rock!

#11 Fritz Brenner

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 11:32 AM

thanks for all this work, everyone. one question, as i'm still learning with pie crusts: how do you roll your crusts into a nice circle like that? i roll mine from the center down, and do a quarter turn every few rolls, but i feel like my crusts are still sort of rectangular, and can be hard to fit into a plate. any tips? :smile:
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#12 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:09 PM

but I compensate for the phenomenon you mention, by using chunks of frozen butter of widely different sizes and/or adding it in stages, so while some of it get to small meal, some remains in peas sized chunks.  If I get lazy or inattentative during this step, I do wind up with a less flaky crust.

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I've seriously tried very hard to do this myself and can't acheive the same perfection when I use the cusinart to mix in my liquids verses mixing the liquid in by hand. Regardless of how cold my butter/fat was, the cusinart cuts right through it.

#13 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:32 PM

thanks for all this work, everyone.  one question, as i'm still learning with pie crusts: how do you roll your crusts into a nice circle like that?  i roll mine from the center down, and do a quarter turn every few rolls, but i feel like my crusts are still sort of rectangular, and can be hard to fit into a plate.  any tips? :smile:

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Maybe someone else will help by describing this action, please? (I'm not the best person for decribing things.) It's become such second nature to me it's hard for me to see this thru the eyes of a less experienced baker.

#14 achevres

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 07:31 AM

This thread is great! I love to make pies because: 1. I love pie and 2. it's so hard to buy a good pie (tasty crust and filling and flaky crust and cooked bottom!) and 3. I'm the only one I know that makes one from scratch. I use either all-butter recipe or RL Berenbaum's flaky crust recipe with 3/4 butter and 1/4 cream cheese (very flaky but has an extra step).

Thanks Wendy and chefpeon for your demos!

I think the comment that all-butter crusts taste better is true when compared to an all-shortening crust. I would love to use leaf lard, but can't find it.

I have 3 things I still need help with.

1. Can someone post links to leaf lard suppliers?

2. The hardest step for me is getting the two crusts sealed together and achieving a good seal (this is after rolling). The crust is either too cold (from being put back in the fridge) or too warm. I use the above-mentioned crusts, roll on marble with a marble pin, the kitchen is 70-72 degrees and my hands are always cold. Also, are you using water to "glue" the crusts and what do you use to apply it (brush? fingers?). Cold water? Some other "glue"? Or does everyone have these problems?

3. Can someone show how to get a pretty crimp on a lattice pie? My lattices are very nice, but the crimped edge isn't. My latest method is to let the bottom crust be larger and bring it over the lattice edges. But still run into the too-cold too-hot problem.

Thanks!

#15 viva

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 07:41 AM

I noticed most folks here are using vinegar. A lot of recipes I have used call for lemon juice instead. Are there pros/cons to vinegar vs. lemon juice, or do they have the same effect?
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#16 chefpeon

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 11:02 AM

1. Can someone post links to leaf lard suppliers?


I did post the link in my demo. If you click on the word "Dietrich's" in my post, it will take you right to their page. On their page is a phone number. Call and order. That's what I did.

A lot of recipes I have used call for lemon juice instead. Are there pros/cons to vinegar vs. lemon juice, or do they have the same effect?


Lemon juice and vinegar are interchangeable in this application. It's all matter of preference of the recipe writer/user. The key ingredient in both is their acidic properties.

#17 JayBassin

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Posted 03 September 2005 - 12:08 PM

2. The hardest step for me is getting the two crusts sealed together and achieving a good seal (this is after rolling).  The crust is either too cold (from being put back in the fridge) or too warm.  I use the above-mentioned crusts, roll on marble with a marble pin, the kitchen is 70-72 degrees and my hands are always cold.  Also, are you using water to "glue" the crusts and what do you use to apply it (brush? fingers?). Cold water? Some other "glue"? Or does everyone have these problems?

I use a water seal. I just wet my finger, or if I have several pies, a pastry brush---and run it around. Then gently pinch the top and bottom crusts together.

3. Can someone show how to get a pretty crimp on a lattice pie?  My lattices are very nice, but the crimped edge isn't.  My latest method is to let the bottom crust be larger and bring it over the lattice edges. But still run into the too-cold too-hot problem. 
Thanks!

With a regular top crust, most people roll or fold the top under the bottom crust, then crimp. With a lattice, it's best to fold the bottom up and over the ends of the lattice strips, but leave enough to flute.
He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau

#18 SethG

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 09:39 PM

Wendy, what do you think of the cream cheese crust? Have you tried it? I made RLB's Perfect Peach Pie with the cream cheese crust on Saturday-- sorry, I wish I had pics for you, but I don't. The first time I tried this crust I thought it was really really great, the second time only so-so. This time, my third try, I thought it was a good balance of things: flaky, tender... and yet I think all butter would have tasted better, and I may be imagining things but it seems to me that the cream cheese makes the browning of the pie less attractive. The crust ends up looking whiter and the browning is more patchy. What do you think?
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#19 achevres

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 07:52 AM

Wendy, what do you think of the cream cheese crust?  Have you tried it?  I made RLB's Perfect Peach Pie with the cream cheese crust on Saturday-- sorry, I wish I had pics for you, but I don't.  The first time I tried this crust I thought it was really really great, the second time only so-so.  This time, my third try, I thought it was a good balance of things:  flaky, tender... and yet I think all butter would have tasted better, and I may be imagining things but it seems to me that the cream cheese makes the browning of the pie less attractive.  The crust ends up looking whiter and the browning is more patchy.  What do you think?

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I'm not Wendy, but IMO RLB's Flaky Cream Cheese Pastry recipe needs more salt. When I make it I either use salted butter (heresy! :shock: ) or add 1/8th ts salt per stick (4 oz) of butter. Usually a tad more than that.

The browning may not be as uniform, but I think the flakyness compensates for that.

#20 achevres

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 07:54 AM

Thanks JayBassin and chefpeon or your answers!

#21 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 08:11 AM

Wendy, what do you think of the cream cheese crust?  Have you tried it?  I made RLB's Perfect Peach Pie with the cream cheese crust on Saturday-- sorry, I wish I had pics for you, but I don't.  The first time I tried this crust I thought it was really really great, the second time only so-so.  This time, my third try, I thought it was a good balance of things:  flaky, tender... and yet I think all butter would have tasted better, and I may be imagining things but it seems to me that the cream cheese makes the browning of the pie less attractive.  The crust ends up looking whiter and the browning is more patchy.  What do you think?

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I do own RLB's The Pie And Pastry Bible, but I really haven't worked much from it.

I make sour cream and cream cheese crusts for other pastries............and I find it hard to imagine I'd like those for fruit pies. But I don't know. I'll give her recipe a try as soon as I find an opening in my menus and report back.

#22 jackal10

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 01:13 PM

For an extra flaky crust I give my pastry a couple of turns - rough puff.

#23 Apicio

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 03:17 PM

After addressing the matter of taste and flakiness of the crust and texture and flavour of the filling, another factor that I give consideration to is how a slice or any slice off the pie looks like. I could never get a perfect slice from a traditional pie plate so I started using those crimped tin tart pans with false bottom to make each slice a perfect one. This is also the reason for my quest for controlling the moisture of the pie filling. It cannot be too juicy that it will all spill out when you take the first slice.


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#24 jgarner53

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 03:23 PM

OK, my turn on the demo! I'm a bit nervous because I am a newly minted pro, and I don't make much dough at work. But I have always loved pie, and ever since I started out on my own after college, some 15+ years ago, I've striven to perfect my pie crust recipe and technique.

I started out with the recipe my mom's always used. I made a lot of tough crusts initially because I was overworking the dough, mixing too much. This was in the days when, like Anne, I used a pastry blender. Then I read somewhere about the problems of overmixing, and for a while I was terrified that any mixing I did would make my crust tough. So then I had problems with undermixed doughs that leaked, or cracked, or were almost impossible to roll out. My mom had always been more or less adamant about following the recipe exactly, so for a long time, I would stick to the amount of water in the recipe, which sometimes gave me soggy crusts, and sometimes I'd have a pile of flour/fat crumbs that I was trying to roll into a cohesive dough.

Somewhere in there, things started to click, and I started to get a better sense of how to do this. One year, when I was making pies for Thanksgiving, I decided to try two things: using my food processor and changing out half the shortening for butter. From that point on, my pie crusts have gotten consistently better. But as a point of reference, I still use the proportions in my 1963 edition of the Good Housekeeping cookbook.

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You can't see it very well, but the recipe I use is Flaky Pastry II, located on the right-hand page, with the asterisk by it. The recipe itself (with my variations) is here

Good Housekeeping doesn't want you using butter, but doesn't specify the type of fat used in the recipe (or its temperature). They suggest lard, shortening, oil, or margarine. Obviously, using all of one type will change the flavor and even the texture of this dough. My mom swears by all shortening, but I prefer a mix of 2/3 butter, 1/3 shortening.

Gather your ingredients together. If you look carefully, you can see a date on the lid of my shortening can. After discovering one Wednesday night before Thanksgiving that my can had gone off, I now use a marker to keep track of how old the can is. I haven't measure the water yet, but as I'll be taking it tablespoon by tablespoon it doesn't really matter. Contrary to many pie pastry recipes, this one does not include any acid (lemon juice, vinegar, what have you). It also doesn't have any sugar in the crust. Personally, I like the slightly salty taste this crust has and find that it's a nice counterpoint to the sweet filling.

If you're new to baking, one of the first and most important things I learned about pie dough particularly is how important it is to measure ingredients exactly. Level off your cups of flour, the shortening, etc. While experience has taught me how to fiddle with a recipe, if I'd been lackadaisical when I first started, my pie crusts would likely have been even worse than they were already! :laugh:

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Pulse the flour and salt briefly together in your food processor, then add the shortening. Pulse briefly (one-second pulses) about 10 times, or until the shortening is combined with the flour, and you can't see any pieces.

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Next, add the butter, and pulse just until the butter chunks are about the size of large peas. Because I do the whole dough in my f.p., I leave the chunks slightly larger than I would if I were going to add the water by hand. But I'm lazy and don't want to wash another bowl (I usually dump the flour straight into the f.p.).

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Time to add the water. Remove the lid of your food processor and sprinkle half of the water over the flour/fat mixture. I find this to be more effective than trying to pour it though the feed tube. You want to distribute your water over the greatest area, as evenly as possible. Pulse once or twice, and then add the rest of the water. Pulse until the dough almost starts to hang on to the side of the workbowl, and when you pick up a handful of it and squeeze, it will hold together. When I made this batch, I needed two more tablespoons of water before it did this.

It's important not to process the dough until it forms a ball. If you do that, you've overworked your pastry, and it will likely be tough (ask me how I know).

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If you're intimidated by this method, I'd recommend dumping the dough out before you add the water and doing it by hand, tossing the water in with a fork, tablespoon by tablespoon. You have much more control this way. But, like I said, I'm lazy about washing dishes. :rolleyes:

Dump the contents of your food processor out onto a work surface. It will look like this:

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Don't worry. If you start pressing all those crumbs together, you will wind up with a ball of dough, like this. See the pieces of butter? That's good. They're about the size of small peas at this point.

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Cut the ball in half, shape into a ball and flatten to a thick disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour. This will give the flour bits time to hydrate so that the dough will be more cohesive when you start rolling it out. In my case, I waited two days before rolling. Any longer, and I would have frozen the dough and thawed it in the fridge.

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When you're ready to roll out your dough, get one packet out 5-10 minutes before you're ready to give it time to warm up just a bit. This will help minimize cracking. Once you start rolling out the first packet, get the second one out.

For a long, long time, I rolled out my dough between sheets of waxed paper. This kept the dough from sticking to the counter, but as my technique's improved, I've been able to dispense with this and just go with a floured board. They key is to keep turning the dough to help keep it round and from sticking. I flour the top lightly, too.

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Roll out the dough, easing up before you get to the edge. This will help keep the edges from getting too thin. You want it about an inch or more larger than your pie plate. I use mine to measure my progress. See all the lovely buttery streaks? Yum!

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Use a pastry brush to dust off the excess flour and roll the dough onto your pin. There are a variety of ways to get your dough into the pan. This one works for me. If another one works for you, great!

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I have a little crack on the left side there, which I press together. Unlike Wendy, I'm too impatient or disorganized to fill and freeze my pie ahead of time, so I stick the empty crust into the fridge while I roll out the top crust. Using a ruler, make sure it's a couple of inches larger than your pie plate so there's room to crimp and for the crust to fit over the mound of filling. (I've highlighted the measurement on the ruler for you).

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Slide the crust onto a cookie sheet and into the fridge while you prep your filling. Today's pie is apple, due to my continuing bounty of apples. The recipe comes from the same cookbook - old-fashioned, no pre-cooking of the apples. Just layer in fruit and the sugar/flour/seasoning mixture, dot with butter, and you're good to go.

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After shooting and reviewing these photos, I realize how difficult/unattractive it is to have a beige object (pie crust) on a beige background (ugly, nasty tile).

Trim the bottom crust (I agree with Wendy that scissors work best) to the edge of the pie pan. Moisten with water or egg wash, and add the top crust. Trim to about half an inch overhang from the edge of the pan. Press gently to seal and fold the top crust over the bottom. Crimp as desired. Add a glaze (milk, egg, egg white) and top with sugar if desired (I did), and cut slits to vent. If you're Martha Stewart, you have cute, tiny, apple-shaped cutters, and you can cut out apple shapes and apply the cut outs to the top of the pie.

I'm not her.

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And onto the lowest rack of a preheated 425ºF oven. I have a pizza stone and use that, with some foil on it to catch any drips. My stone's stained enough as it is.

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Some 45 minutes later:

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And 10 minutes after that:

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And, finally, here's a slice:

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The crust is perfectly done - brown and crisp on top, flaky underneath. I wish the juices had thickened just a little bit more. There's some in the pan after cutting and serving half of the pie. You can see that there's a small gap from the reduced apples, but it's not appreciable.

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I hope I've been helpful!
"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner
buttercream pastries

#25 MelissaH

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 07:40 AM

I hope I've been helpful!

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Very!! :biggrin:

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#26 DiH

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 08:22 AM

thanks for all this work, everyone.  one question, as i'm still learning with pie crusts: how do you roll your crusts into a nice circle like that?  i roll mine from the center down, and do a quarter turn every few rolls, but i feel like my crusts are still sort of rectangular, and can be hard to fit into a plate.  any tips? :smile:

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Maybe someone else will help by describing this action, please? (I'm not the best person for decribing things.) It's become such second nature to me it's hard for me to see this thru the eyes of a less experienced baker.

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I'll take a stab at it... after working long and hard to overcome this same hurdle.

Place flattened ball of dough in center of lightly floured surface. I always roll from the center toward the outside... and I never turn my dough while rolling out the crust.

Visualizing the face of a clock and starting with the 12:00 position, I roll from the center toward each "number", i.e. Center to 12; Center to 1; Center to 2, etc., working my way around the entire face of the "clock", sometimes several times depending on the amount of pressure exerted.

Clear as mud? :raz:


Di

#27 jgarner53

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 04:12 PM

i roll mine from the center down, and do a quarter turn every few rolls, but i feel like my crusts are still sort of rectangular, and can be hard to fit into a plate.  any tips?


I roll from the center up, rotating about 1/8 of a turn after two or three strokes. I will keep feeling it (picking it up between thumb and fingers) to make sure it's even. If it isn't, I'll work the thicker area a little more.
"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner
buttercream pastries

#28 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 08:40 PM

I guess I work it similarly to jgarner53...........I pick it up frequently giving it turns, randomly so as I'm rolling out I'm keeping the round shape always.. I choose how I should roll the dough to keep it in a circular shape by thinning out the thickest area of dough along the way.

#29 KarenS

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 09:31 PM

I use cream cheese dough all of the time for fruit pies. It is flakey, easy to work with and has a rich tang that balances well with the fruit.
7# 2 oz pastry flour
6#cream cheese
6 # butter
2 T kosher salt

Cream butter, add cream cheese.
Add flour and salt- pulse mixer on and off to combine (do not overwork).
Rest overnight.

When I make pie dough I do a modified version of the one I learned at Chez Panisse.
10 1/2c flour
3 # 6oz butter (frozen and cut in small cubes)
1 1/2c crisco (yes, they used crisco)
3 c ice water (with the addition of the juice of two lemons- part of the 3c measurement)
2T kosher salt

Cut the fats into the flour (this will fit in the 20 qt)- until mealy with streaks of crisco.
Add the water and pulse to combine.
Rest overnight.

Like Wendy- I bake my pies frozen. They are ready to bake first thing in the morning, and will be ready for a lunch special. I roll doughs, fill pies and tart pans at the end of my day so that they are ready for baking off right away.

#30 piazzola

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:42 AM

Some people suggest adding little vinegar
What do you think?





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