Perhaps the only thing uglier than my handwriting, is my pie crust. So, don’t expect a lot of pictures in this one…
I watch a good number of cooking programs and am always in awe of the ease with which Ina or Giada or Melissa D’Arabian rolls out a perfect pie crust. ‘How Easy Is That?’ Ina always says as she places the perfect crust into the pie pan. Each of them assured me that making my own pie crust would be a much better option than buying a store bought one in my grocer’s freezer.
Challenge really is that I don’t like pie. I’m not a baker. I’m not a sweets eater or much of a fruit eater. I do, however, enjoy a good pie crust – it’s like bread, my favorite food group. During the holidays, I’m the person who picks around the apples in the apple pie and dips pieces of crust into the gooey filling. I’m the person who sneaks into the kitchen and pulls a piece of the crust off of a cooling pie.
But, I’m up for the challenge. And, so I spent some time researching the perfect pie crust recipes.
This is a combination of a few recipes that I found online. And, it really wasn’t hard…until I had to roll it out and carefully place it into my makeshift pie pan – this is where I had to Pie Pie again.
Perfect Pie Crust (makes 2 crusts – theoretically for the top and bottom of a pie…or, in my case, one for the bottom of an open-faced pie, one for ‘practice’)
2 1/2 Cups Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 TSP salt
- 2 TBSP Sugar
- 12 TBSPs Cold Butter – cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1/2 Cup Cold Vegetable Shortening – cut into 4-6 pieces
- 1/4 Cup Cold Vodka (Yay! Vodka! I don’t drink it anymore – that’s another story – and it evaporates – so this is AOK for all)
- 1/2 Cup cold water
1. Take the butter and cut it into 1/4 inch slices. Cover and put into the freezer for :10mins or into the fridge for :30 mins
2. Measure out the food shortening (I used Crisco…is there another kind?). And place into the freezer for :10mins or the fridge for :30 mins
3. In the bowl of a food processor, Pulse 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt and all of the sugar until combined – about two quick pulses
4. Add the butter and shortening and process until a dough begins to form and cottage cheese looking curds appear
5. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining flour – pulse just until the mass of dough has been broken up
6. Empty the mixture into a bowl
7. Sprinkle the water and the vodka – I used Grey Goose, cuz that’s what someone recently brought over
8. Use a spatula to carefully fold the water and vodka into the dough until both are completely absorbed. Don’t over mix!
9. It’ll be super tacky…Divide the drunken dough in two, make two balls of dough, flatten each and wrap each in plastic
10. Put the flattened balls of drunken dough into the fridge for at least an hour and up to 2 days
Baking the Pie Crust for an open faced savory pie:
Here’s where my creative abilities were truly challenged…and, I lost.
OK, I don’t like sweet pie, so decided to make an open-faced veggie filled pie for my vegetarian friends who came to dinner last night. Luckily, that meant I only needed one of the pie balls. Good news, because I failed the first time I tried the following:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees (that part I did perfectly!)
1. Remove one of the drunken pie balls (sounds dirty, isn’t) from the fridge and allow to warm up for a few minutes – not too long, just until the dough can be safely rolled out
2. Place one ball on a large piece of Saran wrap dusted generously with flour
3. Place a large piece of parchment paper on top of the pie dough
4. Roll the pie dough through the parchment paper into a circle large enough to line the pie pan. I don’t have a pie pan…and really don’t need one…so I improvised with my round glass baking dish.
5. Try to carefully place the rolled dough into the makeshift pie pan. FAIL horribly. Mold that dough back into a ball, cover in Saran Wrap and put back in the fridge
6. Pie Pie again….Remove ball #2 from the fridge and repeat steps 1 – 4: This time, carefully roll the rolled out dough onto a heavily floured rolling pin and unfurl the dough from the rolling pin gently into the makeshift baking dish – much better
7. Cover the baking dish (or pie pan) with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour
Shop online, clean the apartment…whatever
8. Remove from the fridge, cover the dough completely with parchment paper
9. Place pie weights into the base of the pie dough and ‘blind bake’ for :20 minutes. You can apparently also use dried beans as pie weights…but, I don’t have a giant bag of dried beans (small apartment, remember?)
9. After :20 minutes in the oven, remove the pie weights and parchment paper, pierce the bottom of the pie crust with a fork – like a whole bunch of times to keep the pie crust from puffing – and bake for another :05 – :10 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown
10. In the second baking, I foil wrapped the edges of the pie crust to keep them from burning
And….your drunken crust is prepared for filling!
I gotta say, the pie crust was delicious – light, flaky, no vodka taste. It provided the perfect vessel for an open-faced veggie pie. (recipe tomorrow)
Of course it wasn’t as easy as Ina had assured me. But, thank goodness for a do-over…Cuz, in this case, after a first fail, I had to Pie Pie again…