Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pie Crust

Basic 9-inch Pie Crust 
Source: Maida Heatter's Pies & Tarts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1997 ed.), pg. 17.

Ah, the dreaded pie crust. As much as I like to bake, I confess I do not enjoy making pie crusts. They are messy and often difficult and everything has to be exact. suppose I'm one of those rare bakers who just doesn't enjoy working with dough. I finally discovered Ina Garten's pie crust that you make in a food processor. It is very easy, comes out perfect each time and the dough is smooth and beautiful. It is my go-to pie crust recipe.

But since I'm blogging about Maida Heatter's recipes, I should at least attempt her pie crust recipe, now shouldn't I?!

Okay, been there, done that. The recipe scared me (5 pages!!!) but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The results though were less than spectacular so I'm sticking to Ina's recipe (sorry Maida!) when I'm making pies. Taste wise, I couldn't tell much difference. After all, isn't a pie crust basically a pie crust?

Maida recommends using a glass pie plate.

Pie Pastry

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
Scant 1/2 tsp. salt
3 TBS. vegetable shortening, cold and firm
3 TBS. unsalted butter, cold and firm, cut into very small squares
About 3 TBS. ice water


If your room is warm, Maida recommends chilling the mixing bowl and even the flour beforehand.

Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening and butter.

Cut the butter and shortening into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the ice water by small drops over the surface.
Stir, mix or toss with a fork. Continue adding the water until the flour is barely moistened. Do not dump the water in one place, make sure it is sprinkled evenly.
Turn the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap.
Carefully wrap the mixture into a ball, covering with the wrap.
Flatten slightly and place in the refrigerator. The dough needs to chill at least one hour
before using it. Overnight is even better.
Maida recommends rolling out the dough on a pastry cloth. I do not have one so I used my regular cutting board. Flour the cloth (or board) and rolling pin. Flatten the dough about 7 inches in diameter. With your fingers, smooth and pinch together any small cracks around the edges.
Roll from the center out and do not turn the dough upside down. Roll from the center out and try to keep the shape round. Pinch cracked edges together. Reflour the rolling pin as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Roll into a circle 12-13 inches in diameter. Try to keep the dough the same thickness so it will bake evenly. To transfer to the pie plate, drape it over the rolling pin and gently lower it into the pie plate. Press the dough into place and cut off excess edges.

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