A while ago, I drafted a pie crust tutorial. I have since changed my methods a bit. You see, I always make my crusts from scratch. Completely. No machinery. But recently, I tried using a food processor for combining the butter and flour mixture. I was surprised to find the dough springier, for lack of a better word. And the marbling that I prize was still present, so the crust came out flaky.
Anyway, homemade is definitely the way to go, and it’s not difficult or particularly time-consuming. It really does make a world of difference. Store bought crusts usually have shortening and I can stand that stuff. It just tastes awful to me. I have read many times that the perfect crust is made of a mixture of lard and butter, but since I don’t usually have lard lying around, I make do with all-butter crusts.
Pie Crust Tutorial
Crust 1 1/4 C of all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp of salt
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup to 1/2 Cup of ice-cold water
It is very important that both the water and butter are super cold. If the butter is all melty, your crust won’t be as flaky in the end.
Step 1: Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. So far, so good, right?
Step 2: Cut the butter into chunks and plop them into the flour mixture. At this point you can use a food processor to mix these ingredients until you get a cornmeal-like texture. I usually do this by hand. One could say that this makes it taste better (because of love, or whatever). Actually, the real reason is that, by hand, I am more likely to leave larger chunks of butter. Towards the end, when you are rolling the dough, this butter will “marble” with the rest of the dough, making the result MORE FLAKY.
Step 3: Add water, in increments, and form a ball. The ball should be a little sticky, just a little. Refrigerate this for about half an hour.
Just a tad sticky
Flour the surface to prevent sticking
Step 4: Remove from the fridge and roll out with a rolling-pin, or any long, cylindrical object (I have used a wine bottle in the past).Make sure to flour the rolling-pin, dough, and counter surface liberally, or else you’ll have a heck of a time getting that dough off the counter. And, not to insult your intelligence, but make sure to roll out the dough so it covers the pie dish, with some hanging over.
Roll out slowly, turning dough as needed
Check out the marbling
Step 5: Place the dough on the dish. Tuck in the edges for a neat look and style them for effect. My favorite technique is to crimp the edges using a pinching method with the pointer and thumb of my left hand, and the thumb of my right hand. Braids are also very nice, but time-consuming. Maybe I’ll do a post on that later.
Some will be leftover
Step 6: Poke the bottom of dish with a fork several times and put in the freezer for AT LEAST a half hour, preferably an hour. Crusts will keep for a few weeks if you want to make them ahead of time.
The traditional rim
Step 7: Ta da! Now fill the inside!
Meringue makes for a pretty picture