If At First You Don’t Succeed: Pie Pie Again

grey goose pie crust

Vodka Infused Pie Crust

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’)

Ingredients:

  • Grey Goose Vodka infused pie crust

    Yay! Vodka!

    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
vodka infused pie crust

Butter Makes it Better

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

vodka infused pie crust

I heart my Cuisinart

4. Add the butter and shortening and process until a dough begins to form and cottage cheese looking curds appear

vodka infused pie crust

Food Shortening Kinda Grosses Me Out

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

vodka infused pie crust

Pie Crust Gets Drunk

8. Use a spatula to carefully fold the water and vodka into the dough until both are completely absorbed. Don’t over mix!

vodka infused pie crust

Carefully fold in the booze and water

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

grey goose infused pie crust

Still Hopeful At this Point

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

Ceramic pie weights

I bought pie weights!

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

reynold's wrap drunken pie crust

Not Pretty, But Delicious!

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…

When You’re Only 24-Cookies Sad…And Have To Say Bye Bye Bye

Some people starve their way through heartbreak…Others eat their way through.

I’ve been eating my way through the pain of knowing that Justin Timberlake will never be mine.

I have loved Justin Timberlake ever since he graduated from Disney and burst onto the boy-band-teen-idol-music scene with his frosted tipped curly hair. Fresh faced with instant allure and breathtaking adorability he was the 14-year old baby front boy in N’Sync. You couldn’t really put your finger on it, but you just knew he was going to be a big deal.

Justin Timberlake N'Sync

JT Dirty Popped Onto the Scene

I was among a select group of the world’s oldest N’Sync fans. It was a small club (or a secret society maybe) composed of gay men and pop music loving 30-something women. My college roommate was a member as well and we had several conversations debating which was the cuter band member – She liked JC…I always liked Justin.

I was a quasi grown up with a pretty demanding job at the time. She was a new mother. We had no business spending our time talking boy bands.

But we didn’t care.

Justin Timberlake Secret Wedding

I Should Be His Girlfriend

I boldly braved the ridicule of friends and professional colleagues when I announced proudly that I was going to see N’Sync’s ‘No Strings Attached’ show.

I even bought the DVD afterwards so that I could watch the show over and over and over again in the comfort of my own home.

When the ‘band’ broke up – I avoided separation anxiety because JT immediately released his solo album crying himself a river after his split from Britney.

What he really cried was a river of solo success.

  • He brought sexy back…in a big way.
  • He crafted one of the most watched SNL skits of all time.
  • He became an actor and garnered kudos from Hollywood’s toughest critics for his role in The Social Network
  • Oh, and he’s a scratch golfer.

His talent knows no end.

With each addition to his resume, my infatuation intensified. (In the OK way).

I did meet Justin once…Some of my colleagues might say that I accosted him. Whatever, we met.

I spotted him leaving the Governors’ Ball after the 2011 Academy Awards. I looked at one of my friends and said, ‘you know I have to..’ She nodded knowingly, with a little bit of ‘you’re pathetic’ in her eyes.

But he was getting away…I had to hurry. I jogged after him in my 5 inch heels, stopped right in front of him and introduced myself. He was gracious. We shook hands.

I        touched          Justin Timberlake

At that moment I understood how Marcia Brady felt when after receiving her first kiss from Desi Arnaz Jr, as she declared ‘I’ll never wash this cheek again.’ Obviously, I would have to wash…but right then I considered my options.

Justin Timberlake Weds in Italy

It’s Tearin’ Up My Heart

So, News of Justin and Jessica Biels’ nuptials are tearin’ up my heart.

And no matter what I do I feel the pain.

So, I bake.

And, I’ve been baking ever since I heard.

Friday I made Nestle Toll House Chocolate Cookies. I won’t bore you with the details – because I pretty much follow the directions on the package…

Semi-Sweet chocolate Chips Nestle

Semi-Sweet for a Bitter-Sweet Day

Except…

  • I cut the recipe in half  – Let’s be honest: I wasn’t 48 cookie sad, I was more like 24 cookie sad.
  • Half of the directed flour would have been 1 1/8 cups…but, I used just shy of 1 cup. That way the cookies are crispier and less cakey. You also really get the buttery flavor by cutting the flour down a bit.
  • I gave the majority of the cookies away – Sometimes just the baking is therapeutic enough…And, let’s face it: Fat and sad is no way to go through life.
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie

No Coincidence that the Chips are Tear Shaped

I know that my adoration of Justin isn’t really normal. And, down deep I have always accepted that becoming Mrs. Timberlake just wasn’t in the cards.

Still, that doesn’t make it any easier to say ‘bye bye bye’.