• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Wendy DeBord

Demo: Pie Pastry Crusts

88 posts in this topic

I'd like to talk about "pastry flour", an ingredient not normally available to the home baker. When a recipe calls for pastry flour, I have three choices: AP flour, cake flour, and whole wheat pastry flour. What should I be using?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abra,

I use unbleached white pastry flour or all purpose, depending on what I have on hand. I've never noticed a drastic difference, though the pastry flour produces a more tender product IMO. The other day I made Wendy's All Butter Pie Crust (in RecipeGullet) using white pastry flour and it came out great.

Cake flour is bleached and has a lower protein level than either pastry or A.P. and I tend to think it would not make a good pie crust....but I never tried it. I've never used whole wheat pastry flour either. I think it would depend on how finely milled it is; mixing it with A.P. would probably work.

There's an interesting discussion about different flours here.


Ilene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get white pastry flour mail order from the King Arthur Flour Catalogue. But the shipping is not cheap due to the weight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But where can one get unbleached white pastry flour, or any white pastry flour, for that matter?  I always look for it, but have never seen it anywhere.

Is there a Whole Foods market near you? Most natural foods stores carry pastry flour in the bulk bin section. You can also purchase it direct from Bob's Red Mill . The 2005 catalog offers the following: 1-24 oz. bag for $1.46; a case of 4-24 oz bags for $5.26; a 5 lb. bag for $2.51, a case of 6-5 lbs for $13.22 and a 25 lb. bag for 11.89. Shipping from Oregon shouldn't be too expensive to your area.


Ilene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have both All purpose flour and Cake flour, you can follow Rose Berenbaum’s suggestion of blending (by weight) 2/3 AP flour with 1/3 Cake flour. This is exactly what we do at the shop. I inquired from my supplier about Pastry flour but it was $5 more per 20 kilogram bag whereas AP and Cake flour were priced the same.


Gato ming gato miao busca la vida para comer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, I see that King Arthur does indeed have it, but only in the "pro" size of 50 lbs. I shop there a lot, but I'd never looked at the pro section.

My local grocery does carry some Bob's Red Mill items, so I'll ask them whether they can get me some flour. But in the meantime, thanks for the formula, Apicio. I can blend it myself, for sure, now that I know the ratio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you have both All purpose flour and Cake flour, you can follow Rose Berenbaum’s suggestion of blending (by weight) 2/3 AP flour with 1/3 Cake flour. This is exactly what we do at the shop. I inquired from my supplier about Pastry flour but it was $5 more per 20 kilogram bag whereas AP and Cake flour were priced the same.

This is what I was going to say also. When you don't have pastry flour....make your own. You know pastry flour is in the middle (protein-wise) of AP flour and cake, so you just mix the two. Just like when you're out of half and half.....mix milk and cream. Or when you don't have any whole milk, mix cream with water. Or when you're out of brown sugar, mix granulated with molasses....... :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah, I see that King Arthur does indeed have it, but only in the "pro" size of 50 lbs. I shop there a lot, but I'd never looked at the pro section.

I think King Arthur has changed their product line recently. If you go to their Bakers Catalogue site, they are selling a "Mellow Pastry Blend" in 3 lb. sizes.

KA Pastry Blend

The only pastry flour I have seen at Whole Foods is whole wheat.


Edited by rickster (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The last pie I made, I used the crust recipe from the latest (Sept. 2005) issue of Cook's Illustrated, which they'd intended for use in a deep-dish apple pie but which I used with cherries. The ingredients:

12.5 oz AP flour

1 tsp table salt

1 Tbsp sugar

2 sticks butter, cubed (they said frozen for 10 min; I didn't)

3 Tbsp sour cream

1.3 c ice water

They used a food processor method. I have no dishwasher and dislike cleaning that machine, so I made my crust by hand, hence my reason for not freezing the butter. They buzzed the dry ingredients together, buzzed in the butter, mixed together the sour cream and water, and buzzed that in too, half at a time. I whisked together the dry stuff, flattened each individual butter cube with my hands, making sure that at least some of the cubes broke down even more, and then folded in the wet stuff with a big rubber scraper. From there, I divided the dough into two parts, shaped each into a disk, wrapped the disks in plastic wrap, and stashed them in the fridge for an hour or so.

My husband really liked the pie I made, and this crust was a big reason why he liked it so much. Therefore, I'd like to do it again. My dilemma: I don't normally like to keep full-fat sour cream on hand. This recipe only uses 3 Tbsp/batch of crust, which leaves me with lots of leftover sour cream. I suppose I could just make lots and lots of pies or cakes in a brief timespan before the sour cream goes bad, but I don't want to do that to my waistline.

My question: would it be possible for me to portion out the remnants of my sour cream into 3 Tbsp. blobs, possibly in ice-cube trays, freeze the portions, and then bag for later use? I'm sure it wouldn't be much good for eating on baked potatoes or the like, but would my pie crusts suffer, since it just gets mixed with water and added in? I have freezer space for sour cream ice cubes, but I don't have freezer space to store crust for two dozen pies. :laugh:

MelissaH

I tried CI's new pie crust recipe too and I liked it a lot -- it was almost like puff pastry. I would encourage you to not skip the 10-minute freezing of the (already cold) butter before blending -- I think it made all the difference in preventing over-processing, at least in the food processor, (which I prefer to use because I'm lazy and find it easier). I noticed that this recipe from CI is almost identical to Sherry Yard's all-butter "1-2-3 Flaky" crust in her wonderful "Secrets of Baking" book (save the sour cream - she uses 1/2 t vinegar instead) -- right down to the 10-minute freeze of the butter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah, I see that King Arthur does indeed have it, but only in the "pro" size of 50 lbs. I shop there a lot, but I'd never looked at the pro section.

I think King Arthur has changed their product line recently. If you go to their Bakers Catalogue site, they are selling a "Mellow Pastry Blend" in 3 lb. sizes.

KA Pastry Blend

The only pastry flour I have seen at Whole Foods is whole wheat.

I've tried their Mellow Blend for pie crusts, which lowers the protein to around 10.3%, but I actually think their regular AP unbleached 11.7% produces a better pie crust -- at least in the all-butter pastry I make. I find it makes a flakier crust -- maybe the extra gluten provides more structure for the butter to do its flaky-layering thing. Maybe the same reason why some bakers call for bread flour when making danish pastry?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little late, but thought I would add one more technique I hadn't seen here. It is from Shirley Corriher's Cookwise, called "Flaky Crisp Crust." The technique that differs from others is that you use a rolling pin to flatten cubes of butter as opposed to a mixer, food processor or by hand. Ms. Corriher states "Rolling near-frozen 1/2 inch cubes of butter with flour flattens and coats the butter for a very flaky crust."

I had made this a few years ago, when I first got the cookbook, but hadn't made it since. I couldn't remember what kind of result I had so thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it again. It sounds so promising...

Here are the ingredients:

1 3/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Wondra flour

(note: I used 1/2 & 1/2 cake and unbleached AP flour since I had neither bleached AP flour nor Wondra flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter in 1/2 inch cubes

2 tablespoons very cold lard or shortening in tablespoon-size pieces

8 ounces sour cream

1 to 2 tablespoons cold whole milk if needed

She instructs you to mix the flour and salt and roll the flour with butter a few times, chill in the freezer, roll it again, this time adding the lard, and chill again. Then add the sour cream and mix, pat into a disk, and chill again. Next, roll into shape and place in pan, then a final 15 minute rest in the freezer before baking. She instructs using graham cracker crumbs on the bottom of the crust to keep it crispy and nicely browned but I omitted that because I was running out of time.

When looking at this recipe again it seemed to me that 8 ounces of sour cream seemed like a lot. Should have trusted my instincts. Anyway,

gallery_22732_1836_24570.jpg

Here is what the cold butter and flour looked like after resting 10 minutes in the freezer as instructed.

gallery_22732_1836_40055.jpg

Here is what it looked like after the first go-round with the rolling pin. Gathered it up and rolled two more times.

gallery_22732_1836_6935.jpg

This is the next go-round with the rolling pin, after the 10 minute rest in the freezer. You can see the butter forming large flat pieces (which one would think would make the crust quite flaky indeed). Corriher says the butter/flour mixture should look like peeling paint.

gallery_22732_1836_28326.jpg

This is the last roll, after adding in the lard. Quite flaky-looking.

gallery_22732_1836_24112.jpg

This is what the flour/butter mixture looked like in the bowl right before I added the sour cream.

gallery_22732_1836_39604.jpg

YIKES! This is what it looked like after adding the sour cream. Did it really say 8 ounces! Look how wet this mess is!

I decided to proceed with the recipe, hoping against hope that after a sit in the fridge for 30 minutes the moisture would redistribute, leaving me with a better dough.

gallery_22732_1836_43485.jpg

One half of the dough after being in the fridge for about 1 hour. Still very wet. The dough is very, very soft and hard to work with. It wants to stick and tear so I added probably 2-3 tablespoons (maybe more) of flour while rolling to keep it together. It tore when I put it in the pie pan and ended up like so:

gallery_22732_1836_15703.jpg

Whew! I rolled out the other half of the dough, put in my apple pie filling, and popped it into the freezer as instructed.

gallery_22732_1836_24302.jpg

Here it is after 1/2 hour in the freezer, going into the oven.

The final product:

gallery_22732_1836_69176.jpg

gallery_22732_1836_25983.jpg

gallery_22732_1836_14466.jpg

The crust is pretty flaky but that's a lot of work for a crust that would probably be just about as flaky using a less intensive method. Also, we couldn't wait until the pie was cooled enough, so we had a very runny pie. Tasted good, though!

Edit to clarify instructions


Edited by Darcie B (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The crust is pretty flaky but that's a lot of work for a crust that would probably be just about as flaky using a less intensive method. Also, we couldn't wait until the pie was cooled enough, so we had a very runny pie. Tasted good, though!

Yeah, you're right! That's a lot of work! Doesn't seem too practical. Your pie looks beautiful though! :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made a pretty quick apple pie last night/this morning and I used your all-butter crust, Wendy, for two reasons. First, I wanted to see if I liked the flavor more than I like RLB's cream cheese crust; and second, I wanted to see how flaky it would be.

I scaled Wendy's recipe down to 1/8 size, but because I was making the pastry at about midnight last night, I didn't do a lot of chilling in between steps, or put any of the components in the freezer before I got started. I simply followed Wendy's directions, but I tried to be quite quick about it, and tried to leave rather sizable bits of butter in the dough.

The scaling down left some of the measurements mysterious. I used a teaspoon of vinegar, about 2/3 of an egg, and I just added 2 or three tablespoons of cold water--until it felt correct to me. I also used AP flour-- I forgot to use pastry flour.

Anyway, the results were outstanding, and quite flaky! I will never use RLB's fussy freezing and mushing in a plastic bag method again. I also loved the flavor, and I have to disagree with Wendy about whether you can tell the difference in pie crust between butter and other fats. I think you can. Certainly the flavor of the filling dominates much of the time, but one gets numerous opportunities when eating a slice of pie to munch on crust alone. And at these times, there's butter, and then there's "not exactly."


"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the novices among us might be interested in this photo demonstration of decorative edges for pie crusts. It's from Hormel's web site.


Ilene

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought the novices among us might be interested in this photo demonstration of decorative edges for pie crusts.  It's from Hormel's web site.

Man, that braid would be a pita.

Di

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Wendy. It was me that wanted the oil based hot water crust. My PC has been on the blink and I have not been able to get on here for a few weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am baking a frozen apple pie from the raw state this afternoon. I have read Wendy's demo stating that this is how she does it.

My question is at what temperature do I cook this pie? I think I read that she cooked it for something like 2.5 hours. Normally I cook pie at a high heat for a few minutes, but am concerned that the crust will get too brown if it in the oven for that long at too high a heat.

Thanks for the help.


Life is short, eat dessert first

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bake it at 350F.....no turning the heat up or down along the way. I don't need to cover the top of the pie to protect it from over browning either.

There's another technique you can try if you want. You can bake it closed up in a clean brown grocery bag. Believe it or not it works really well. It insultates the pie from the dirrect heat, the whole pie bakes perfectly even.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Wendy - 350 it is for 2.5 hours I am assuming.......


Life is short, eat dessert first

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The time............truthfully I rarely look at the clock when I bake.....It took me that time based on my oven and how full it was.

For you, I'd say you can bake it for 1 hour with-out even checking on it. Then you will need to judge when it's done and it might be 2 1/2 hours or it may be less. For instance if your pie isn't a full as mine was it will take less time to bake........

To know when your pie is done, I always let it bubble over thru the slits I have on it's top. Then I'm certain it came to a boil in the center to set my thickeners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'm having problems. I've made pies for years and been very happy with my crusts. In the last week the 2 crusts I've made have been very tough. The first I made in the Food processor, the second using a pastry cutter. Both doughs had chunks of fat in them when they were done, and both had streaks of fat once they were rolled. I worked the dough as little as possible.

Are there any other reasons why the dough may be tough? There was some vinegar in it as well. Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i'm having problems.  I've made pies for years and been very happy with my crusts.  In the last week the 2 crusts I've made have been very tough.  The first I made in the Food processor, the second using a pastry cutter.  Both doughs had chunks of fat in them when they were done, and both had streaks of fat once they were rolled.  I worked the dough as little as possible.

Are there any other reasons why the dough may be tough?  There was some vinegar in it as well.  Any thoughts?

It appears you are an experienced pie-dough maker, so technique doesn't sound like the problem. Was the flour different? Did you switch from low-gluten (cake flour, pastry flour, ap flour) to bread flour?


He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By ChristysConfections
      Hi everyone!
       
      I hope I'm not posting in the wrong section. I am looking for recommendations on where to find a used/economically priced climate controlled (low humidity and refrigerated, but not too cold) chocolate display case as well as a regular refrigerated display case (bakery style). Something like this, but it doesn't need to be too fancy looking. I am living in Canada on the West Coast, so the closer to local, the better. I'm finding it very challenging to find something. I found and excellent deal on a couple of used ones in the USA, but the seller doesn't want to deal with the hassle of having it crated and shipped. I'm trying to keep up to date searching on the Ecole Chocolat graduate forum as well as The Chocolate Life classifieds. 
       
      Also, does anyone know if a smaller table-top type climates controlled chocolate display case exists? Or are the only options out there for larger models?
       
      Warm Regards,
      Christy
    • By Lam
      So I've been looking for the ultimate matcha brownies (technically blondies but it just doesn't have the same ring to it). I've made chewy and fudgy regular brownies, but I find white chocolate based blondies to be much trickier. I have made a few matcha brownie recipes in the past, but they all came out sad and cakey. So I have taken it upon myself to come up with my own recipe. My matcha brownies came out very moist and "fudgy" but not chewy. I'm thinking next time I should try using vegetable oil instead of butter and only dark brown sugar. 


    • By ltjazz
      Hey all,
       
      I've made thicker and creamier sorbets with 25% to 35% sugar strained fruit purees and sugar, syrups, and other stabilizers that have worked well. However, because it's so much fruit and little to no water it can be an expensive project.
       
      I am trying to make "Water Ice" or "Italian Ice" in my home ice cream machine. Think of textures similar to Rita's Water Ice, Court Pastry Shop, or Miko's in Chicago. It eats much lighter than a sorbet but isn't really icy, but it's also not thick like sorbet. Ritas uses "flavoring" and sugar, while the other two use fruit juice. I'm thinking of thinning the strained fruit juice with water and adding a stabilizer, but I'm having trouble getting this in my home ice cream machine without it freezing solid like granita.
       
      Can anyone suggest a way to use real fruit juice, water, and a combination and concentration of stabilizers to get a looser, frozen fruit dessert that isn't icy?
    • By Mette
      I've searched high and low for a recipe for lemon mousse, firm enough to make little 'eggs' to go on a dessert plate. Ideally, it should not be based on lemon curd or lemon cream, but just plain old lemons.
      Also, please throw me the best chocolate mousse recipe EVER - I'm in a mousse phase....
      Thanks in advance.
    • By B Edulis
      Once again, I tried to recreate my mother's shortbread cookies, using her recipe, and they didn't turn out. They were so crumbly they fell apart when you picked them up. I'm very attached to this particular recipe -- she told me that she got it from the first boy who ever kissed her, whose Scottish mother was renowned for them. That's one way to get a recipe!) She made them at all holidays. Here the recipe:
      1 cup of butter
      1/2 cup of sugar
      2 cups of flour
      pinch salt
      I've been creaming the butter and suger and adding the flour, chilling it and rolling it out and baking them at about 300 degrees. They spread more than hers did and they're just way crumbly. The taste is good, though.
      I wish I could as her for advice, but she's no longer with us -- can anyone help me?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.