Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pie Crust 101

I know a lot of people who swear they can't make pie crust. I am convinced everyone can make it, and make it crazy flakey, so here's a pie crust primer.

Pie Crust
1 3/4 c all purpose flour
2/3 c shortening
1 tsp salt
1/3 +/- cold water

(I usually double this because I have big pie plates.)

Put the flour in a bowl, and add shortening.

Using two knives, cut the shortening in. This means you cross the knives against each other in a cutting motion.

When it looks like this, quit.

Add about 2/3 of your cold water, and use a fork to gently mix it in. If there is flour not damp, add more water. Depending on the weather, it might take a little more than the recipe calls for. That's ok! NONE of the flour should look particularly wet... mix it JUST until all the flour is exposed to water.

Like this. Don't overwork it at this stage - that's the most common problem. THIS IS PERFECT!

Using your hands, gently gather it all into a ball. Cover it with a dishcloth and put it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

When it's cold, remove half (if you're making a pie with a crust top). Carefully roll it into a ball. Don't worry about cracks, or even small pieces falling off. Put it on a very floured surface.

Roll it out with a floured rolling pin (you will need to keep adding flour along the roller to keep it from sticking). When it's the right size, roll it up onto the rolling pin. Use a metal spatula to help get it unstuck if necessary - gently!

Fill with yummy goodness! This is apples. Repeat for the top crust.

Make sure to cut some vent lines (or a nice design). Trim off the overhanging crust. Bake it per your recipe - for apple I bake it at 425 for about 45 min. Cover the top with a loose piece of foil if it gets brown before the apples (or fruit) are soft.

Now for the best part! CINNAMON CRISPIES!

Cut the dough edges that you removed from the pie into 3-4" sections and place on a baking sheet. DON'T reroll them or do anything to them. Just cut the scraps up and put it on the sheet. Brush with a little melted butter, then top with cinnamon sugar.

Remove from the oven when they're golden brown and eat hot (you can see some are gone from this cookie sheet, and they just came out of the oven!).

See all those layers? That's because we didn't overwork the dough. The pie crust is just like that... YUMMY DELICIOUSNESS!

You can do it! I believe in you!
Let me know how it goes...!

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