Monday, January 9, 2012

Perfect Pie Crust

New pie crust!

All butter pie crust from the Best of Fine Cooking Pies, Crisps and Cobblers
Awesome magazine!

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
3/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c cold butter, cut into cubes
3 - 4 Tbs cold water

Put the dry ingredients together, then put the butter in the bowl. Hand squish the butter in with the flour until it's all just mixed. This is fun! The butter should stay as cold as you can keep it, and don't over mix. The magazine says that it should become small disks of butter overlaid with flour.

I didn't know this, but the pie crust becomes flakey when the butter melts, then steams. The little pockets of air between the flour becomes the flaky crust. Pretty cool! But in order to do this, the butter and water have to be cold enough so they don't melt. Once it all melts, the pockets of butter aren't there anymore.

Once the flour and butter are mixed to be a crumbly mix, add the water a little bit at a time until it all mixes into a slightly sticky dough. Don't over mix. That's usually my biggest problem with baked goods. It should be a shaggy dough that holds shape when you press it together.

Form the dough into a disk and cover in plastic. Chill for at least an hour in the fridge. When it's ready to be rolled take it out and let it rest until it's just cold enough to depress the dough, but not so cold that it cracks under the finger imprint.

Bethany Pastry Cloth.
I usually keep the cloth in the freezer.
Roll it out, I actually took out my pie cloth to do this. I normally don't bother but I was really determined to make a good crust.

When I rolled this out I was suitably amazed. It was a great dough! I have a terrible time with pie crust usually, when it rolls out it's always crumbly and the rolling pin pulls it into all kinds of mangled shapes. This time it rolled out and was stretchy! I've never made a stretchy crust myself before! It rolled out smooth and I hate to keep harping it, but it was fantastic!

The crust, rolled out. So beautiful!

It was like a pie-crust-making-dream.

Anyways, the rest of the pie making was pretty typical. I made a mix of thawed strawberries, cornstarch and sugar (should have used more sugar) and a touch of cinnamon and since the crust turned out so beautifully I cut up the rest of the apple I had left, heated up the carmel I made with the previous pies, and made a couple apple pies too.

The crust, though, was defiantly the shining point. The all butter crusts I've made before have all been soggy and just tasted like liquid butter. This time the crust was delicate and didn't scream of butter. Next time I think I'll add a little vanilla to the mix in place of a little of the water, or at least some cinnamon or something. If I make strawberry filling, I think I'd add some sugar or maybe some honey.

I also learned with electric pie makers to let the pies cook about twice as long as they suggest, until the filling starts really bubbling and the crust stops having any wet looking spots on it.

The pies, I'm getting better at them!
It was fabulous! A great second try and I'm going to try the crust again. I'm pretty excited about the pie magazine.

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