Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pie in the Sky: part one-Universal Pie Crust

It's summer and the farmer's markets are overflowing with the wholesome bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables and you are crazy excited to make something wonderful....or you have a few packages of frozen fruit in the freezer and everyone in the house is eyeing you like you're the last sweet pastry on the way to hell. Either way, it's time to make some pie.

And, yes, I'm gonna draw this out and go on about SCIENCE. Get over it.

I have a favorite pie crust that I keep stacks of in the freezer for everything...and, no, it's NOT a pillsbury pre-made crust (NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!!!!). But I like this crust because it's good for pies, chicken pot pies, savory tarts and turnovers. Easy to make up, easy to freeze for later--come on, you can do this....

GET OUT YOUR KITCHEN SCALE. (and stop groaning-this is a good formula-let's do it right)

Measure out the following:

11.25 oz of AP flour (okaaaaay-that's 2 1/4 cups)
1/2 tsp of salt
9+ tablespoons of ice water
5.75 oz of COLD SHORTENING (*GRUMBLING-14 tablespoons)

*Here's where I go off on elocution safari....
Butter is great for baking. LOVE IT. But for *some things* I don't prefer for my pie crusts. It probably has something to do with growing up near a pig farm, from which my mom could get real lard. (OH LARD! how I love thee....) And my mom makes the best pies in the world (shut up, she does too!) So much so that I really find myself hesitating on posting about pies because hers are just better--every time. So, I didn't grow up (and out) on butter crust pies. When the pig farm shut down, mom made her crusts with shortening, butter crisco and the like. Good stuff. And now, I make mine with regular ol' shortening ....(*whsipering*--not vegetable shortening either...shhhhhh! Paula Deen's gonna get me for this already-shut up!)

...and this can be done by hand, in a food processor, or in a mixer bowl....
Add the flour and salt together, then add the shortening. Blend together until the mixture looks like cornmeal--you know, had a coarse look but the chunkies are as small as peas or smaller. To this, slowly add the cold water. Don't add it all once-you may need less or you may need more. So add a bit and go from there.

Gather up the dough into a ball, then divide it in half-one for the top crust and one for the bottom. Flatten each ball into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. You may decide to freeze your dough at this point or-if you are about to bake, chill it for about a half hour, while you get your other stuff together. If you are making a single-crust pie, well, now you can make two hahaha

Next post--fruit pie...and more!


Anonymous said...

As much as you hated it and I could tell that you wrote it with clenched teeth, thanks for the translation of ounces to cups and tablespoon. Makes me love you more.

betty crocker said...

It's true. I'd rather have people bake badly than not at all....