Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My new favorite pie crust


I like making pies and pie crust.  My mom taught me how to make a good crust when I was pretty young, so I'm not scared of it or anything, but I don't think I've ever mastered it quite as well as she has.  In my attempts to improve, I've tried lots of recipes with various "secret ingredients" (7-up! Vinegar!), but I always come back to Mom's recipe because it tastes so great.  Occasionally, though, I have problems with it shrinking a little in the oven---or folding down on one edge---which never seems to happen with my mom's crusts.  Maybe my technique is not quite the same as hers?

Anyway, I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman, so I tried it out.  And it worked SO well!  Here are the things I like about it:
  • It has shortening in it (I like a pie crust with shortening instead of butter; somehow they work better for me)
  • It doesn't require a food processor (I don't have one---and anyway I like using the pastry blender)
  • It makes 3 crusts, and they are meant to be frozen, so I can easily keep a spare crust in the freezer---which is great because I make dinner pies quite often and that will save me time
  • It makes a supple crust---easy to roll out and mold, but doesn't shrink! (With my other recipe, if the crust feels too supple, I know it's going to bend or shrink in the oven---but if it's drier, it's harder to roll out in the first place!)
  • It is THE FLAKIEST crust I've ever made.  Cast your eyes upon it in the top picture.  Delicious!!
So, I recommend this recipe with my wholehearted approval.  Again, you can go here for her pictures and step-by-step instructions, but here are my notes.

Pie Crust 
  
1-½ cup Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 whole Egg
5 Tablespoons Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Salt

Preparation Instructions

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour for about 3 or 4 minutes until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

Separate the dough into thirds. Form 3 evenly sized balls of dough and place each dough into a large Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, slightly flatten each ball of dough (about ½ inch thick) to make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until you need them. (If you will be using it immediately it’s still a good idea to put in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes to chill.)

When you are ready to use the dough to make a crust, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 15 minutes.  (After 15 min., mine was still cold, so I put it in the microwave on medium power for 20 sec. or so---perfect.)  Then, I always roll my crusts out in waxed paper---it works so much better than the counter for me!  Just set your disc of dough between two large pieces of waxed paper.  You can wipe the counter with a sponge first to get the waxed paper to stick in place, or I just pull the end of the paper slightly over the edge of the counter and pin a corner of it there with my stomach while I roll out the crust.  Sounds super nerdy, I know!  But it keeps it still.  When your crust is large enough, you take off the top waxed paper and flip the crust, crust-side down, into your pie pan.  Then you carefully peel off the other piece of waxed paper.  Voila!  It's in the pan with no mess. 

Go around the pie pan pinching and tucking the dough to make a clean edge.



I made this
turkey pot pie recipe with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey (we had some from both our dinners), and we loved it so much that I made it a couple more times until the turkey ran out.  (It only uses one crust, for the top, so if you make it you'll still have 2 crusts to save in the freezer!)  The only trouble is that I so rarely have meat around to cook with, I don't think I'll have many other chances to make it.  But I was thinking I'd try it next with potatoes and maybe cauliflower in it, without the meat (still using chicken broth for flavor, maybe?) and I bet that would be just as good. 


2 comments:

  1. I'll try this the next time I need a crust. I have a recipe, but it's not amazing. I made chicken pot pie the other night and it was so delicious, but so much work. Yum!

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  2. This looks really, really good. When I was your age, we were concerned about eating too much fat and I found this pie crust that was made without any fat - it was really cool. You could roll it and fold it as much as you liked, and it turned kind of phyllo, crusty as heck. Now it's carbs I avoid (for the last, like, ten years) because I respect that science and it seems to work for me. So all the crusts are out. But I really liked making dinner pies, too. Very Brit of you.

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