Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pie Crusts

Several weeks ago I attended a class on "Holiday Pies and Candies".  With Thanksgiving just 2 days away, and my sister and I making all of the pies, I thought I would share some things I learned, as well as some GREAT crust recipes!  We started out with a taste test of 6 different crusts, rating them according to taste, flakiest, etc.  The #1 winner in my book was very similar to the recipe I use at home (go figure!).  I still prefer my crust, so I will give you mine, and the two top winners from the class.  Enjoy!

Pie Crust (my favorite)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups Crisco
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 TB vinegar
4-6 TB ice water

Mix together flour, Crisco, salt, sugar, and cream of tartar with a pastry blender or with hands (I use my food processor).  Mix egg, vinegar, and water and add to dry ingredients.  Knead lightly, being careful to not overmix.  3-4 single crusts.

Pie Crust II
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 TB vinegar
About 7 TB ice water
Combine dry ingredients and cut shortening in with a pastry blender or two knives.  In electric blender:  mix egg, vinegar, and water.  Add to other ingredients, stirring with a fork until pastry forms a ball.  DO NOT OVERMIX!  Divide dough for crusts and form into balls.  Allow to rest in refrigerator, if desired, but warm to room temperature before rolling.  Roll 1/8" thick, starting from center using light strokes. Roll pastry over rolling pin; unroll over pie plate, fitting loosely onto bottom and sides.  Trim and crimp edges as desired.  Makes 3-4 single crusts.

Pie Crust III (Trans-Fat free)
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk
Gently mix all ingredients together being careful not to over mix.  Form into two balls and flatten each abll slightly.  Roll dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper. Peel off top sheet and fit dough, paper side up, into pie plate.  Remove paper.

For single crust pie, trim 1/2 inch beyond edge of pan, fold under, and flute edge.  Prick bottom and sides well with fork.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or till golden.

For double crust pie, trim lower crust even with rim of pie plate.  Tuck top crust under edge of lower crust.  Flute edge of pastry as desifed.  Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.  Bake according to individual recipe.

Soggy Crust: 
  • Do not let the pie sit too long before baking.
  • Keep the amount of water in the crust to a minimum.
  • Preheat the filling.
  • Spread the surface of the lower crust with melted butter.
  • Chill the dough for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before adding the filling.
  • Set pie pan on a metal baking sheet during baking.
Flour and butter mixture becomes pasty (butter starting to melt):
  • Proceed as quickly as possible to moisten the dough and force the dough to accept at least 3/4 of the liquid called for by gently stirring the liquid in with a fork.  The dough may be excessively soft.  Flour the outside of the dough generously.  Wrap and chill.
Large lumps of butter left int dough after moistening:
  • Flour work surface and turn out dough.
  • Press dough into a rectangle about 3/8" thick. This will help flatten the lumps of butter.
  • Fold dough over on itself; gently mold it into a ball, wrap and chill.
Dough is still dry after moistening:
  • Return the dry dough to the bowl; gently tear into pieces using two forks.
  • Scatter drops of water on it and toss with a fork till the dough adheres better.
  • Wrap and chill.

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