Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pie Crust Primer...Works for Me Wednesday

Why is it four ingredients (one of them being ICE WATER) can cause baking anxiety?   Flour, salt, fat and water…you know what I'm talking about: pie crust.

Don't get me wrong, I have used Pillsbury refrigerated crusts many a time...and it's really pretty yummy.  But, maybe Thanksgiving has you feeling brave.  Maybe you want to feel like a domestic goddess (pie crust from scratch will do that for ya).  Maybe, just maybe, your mother-in-law is coming for dinner and you want her to know that you can make pie crust, too.


Here were my fears about pie crust...
  • Am I working the dough too much?
  • What fat should I use?
  • Will it get soggy?
  • Will it be flaky and not taste good?
  • Will it be tasty and not flake?
  • Will I send my husband to the store for a box of the refrigerated stuff?

 
Fear no more!  Let me share my favorite, no-fail recipe along with a few tips for a perfectly flaky, delicious pie crust!


For a double-piecrust:
(modified from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion)

2 & 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c. cold shortening (Crisco)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 c. ice water


Reserve a few tablespoons of flour, set aside. Whisk together remaining flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until it is crumbly.

Place the reserved flour on work surface and coat butter in it. Use a rolling pin or your hand to flatten the butter until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Break the flour-coated butter into 1 inch pieces and mix into the dough until it is evenly distributed.

Sprinkle water over the dough while tossing with a fork just until it is easily squeezed into a ball. Flatten into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll each disk into a 12 x 9″ rectangle (approx). Fold into thirds, like a letter, then fold again in thirds to form a square. Wrap both pieces again and refrigerate 30 more minutes.

After 30 minutes, let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes, then roll out to the size needed for the bottom crust.  Use the second piece for a lattice or decorative top.

Now, here are a few pie crust secrets:
  1. For a perfectly baked bottom crust, use a glass pie pan and bake the pie on the bottom rack of your oven.
  2. To prevent a soggy bottom crust on a fruit pie, brush on a thin layer of lightly beaten egg white before adding the fruit.
Psst....Cheryl over at TidyMom is having a Pie PARTY on the 16th.  Go check out the pies and link up your own! 

Never fail pie crust....works for me! :)


{Portions of this post first appeared as a guest post on Muthering Heights.}

28 comments:

  1. I love your Works For Me Wednesdays! :D these are awesome tips, and something every baker will be glad to know.

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  2. i LOVE this. i have failed miserable at pie crusts and my grandma was so good at them... definitely trying your tips!

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  3. THANK YOU!

    Sometimes I like the crust more than the filling.

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  4. Is this right for pumpkin pie??? Tell me YES and I'm going to be happy!!!
    Do you know that last August during my few days in Los Angeles I bought a Huge Crisco can??? In Italy is impossible to find it!!!

    Thanks a lot, hugs, Flavia

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  5. Hi Bridget, first of all let me tell you that I absolutely love your work, and greatly appreciate your willingness to share with us. Now, onto the question (I apologize if it sounds "naive", but pie crust has failed me so many times that this is my last hope): how do you mix the coated butter into the dough? Do you use an electric hand mixer? a hand whisk? a fork? Thank you for your help!

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  6. What a gorgeous looking pie and crust! Some great tips here Bridget. I found a crust that works for me that requires prayers to the patron saint of baking :) and no fingers crossing while making. However, your crust looks so amazing that the next pie I bake, I'm going to this recipe.

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  7. I love flaky crusts...will definitely make this!

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  8. Love your pir tips. Do have recipe for cherry pe
    Gcaebi@charter.net

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  9. LOVE your crust. (that sounded weird...) I am totally using this recipe for my pumpkin pie this year!!

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  10. I love crust! I just might have enough courage this Thanksgiving to make my own. Thanks!

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  11. Your making me want to bake a pie!

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  12. Ah reading blog posts on pies never fails to evoke some pie making desire. Love pies!

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  13. You're right pie crust can be sooo scary! Love this though. Thanks for the recipe!

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  14. The macro shot of this pie crust says it all. If only I could sit around eating pies like this all day long. *dreamy*

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  15. Thank you so much! This is just in time for me!

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  16. I will have to try this method out, never heard of anything like it before.

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  17. this is awesome post i like this a lot. it is one of the useful post for me. thanks for this.

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  18. I'm glad to have this post THIS week..........so I'll be ready to replace my all-Crisco pie crust recipe next week.

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  19. That looks like one fantastic pie crust! I think I'll try this with my grandmother's chocolate pie recipe.

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  20. Hooray for this! Though I'm having my aunt bring the pies for Thanksgiving dinner, this will be good to know for the future!

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  21. I'll have to give this a try! I'm usually pretty good at pie crust, though I use all butter in mine most of the time. But this looks like an interesting method, so it's going on my list! :)

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  22. Oh I love these tips!
    I TOTALLY know what you mean about making a pie crust from scratch.
    Every time I pull out the rolling pin~
    dust the pastry mat with flour...
    and cut some pie pastry...or roll out cookie dough...
    it makes me GIDDY like nothing else does!
    Shhhhh!
    Don't tell Greg! {wink!}
    Love these tips!
    I'm going to try them all!
    You have one lucky mother~in~law!
    That pie is perfection!
    xoxoxox

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  23. Yay for perfect pie crusts! I have not entered that realm yet . . . but I plan to! Kay (The Church Cook) shared a tip today--adding vodka to the pie crust! I'm definitely going to be using all the pie crust wisdom I can find to perfect my skills.

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  24. Love your website :-) I was just wondering if I could refrigerate the dough for 3 days after folding it into the letter before using it. Do you know if that would ruin the final product or not? Thanks!

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  25. Sherice Zammitt-GroffNovember 18, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    OKAY!!! I just made this pie cruse recipe with a blackberry filling and holy peanut butter was it amazing! I never like to brag but I made one delicious pie thanks to you!!! I love my crust recipe but your recipe had me so enticed to try something new. Now I shall combine both recipes and create a hybrid crust! muahahaha! >in love<

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  26. I am making my first pie crust tomorrow and am having that same anxiety! What if it doesn't work out??? I know I can always go with an already made one, but I want to be able to do this myself!!! Hahahah! I already have the dough, its the rest of the process that is scaring me. So glad yours turned out perfect.....hope mine does too! :)

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  27. "goddess"? So all bakers are women? Despite the gender assumption, this was a great post. I plan to try out this recipe for Christmas.

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  28. This recipe makes two crusts. Two pies if you are only using bottoms and one pie if you are using a top and bottom. Well the pie I'm making, a buttermilk pie, will only use the bottom crust. Can I freeze the other crust? Thanks!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
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