Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Technique Tuesday: Pie Crust is N-O-T scary!

Pie crust is one of my more recent endeavors...I've always been somewhat phobic about following any kind of recipe, so pie crust seemed really intimidating! One I played around with a few recipes and employed some tricks garnered from tv watching and complaining to my family and friends, I figured out what worked best for me. Now that I've got a solid recipe and the technique down, pie crust has become one of my go-to recipes for quiches and desserts. Pie crust is no longer scary!

The ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

a generous sprinkle of salt (about 1/8 tsp.)
7 tablespoons cold butter
2-3 tablespoons cold water
1/8 tsp. sugar (only add this ingredient when making sweet dishes...don't add for quiches!)


Add all ingredients except water to a large food processor (if you don't have one, you can mix by hand with a cutter). Pulse and SLOWLY stream in water until dough just comes together. Be careful not to add too much water or your dough will be gummy! Form dough into a ball and wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

A note about rolling pins: I HIGHLY recommend buying a silicone rolling pin. It sounds silly, but it makes all the difference in the world when baking. I was lucky enough to receive this cute blue one from my good friend, Jenny, and I have been baking up a storm with it ever since!

Make sure your surface is floured (I usually put 3-4 tbsp. of flour down and pat it onto the dough before rolling). When you roll out your dough, rotate the dough clockwise between rolls so that you end up with a nice circle. When you rotate the dough, gently lift it from the surface to make sure it isn't sticking. Add some additional flour if you find your dough is stuck.

The idea of getting your perfect circle of dough neatly into a pie pan can inspire some serious panic. Try rolling the dough around your rolling pin so you are lifting a more compact bundle into your pan. Unroll the dough from top to bottom into the pie pan, and you are almost there!

My aesthetic skills leave something to be desired when it comes to crimping! I always just say that I am shooting for rustic... Crimp the edges between your fingers (use the index finger of one hand and the index and middle finger of the other hand to crimp).

You can double this dough recipe for pies that require a top layer of dough. I make a caramel apple pie in the fall after our annual trip to our favorite orchard and always add a top layer, crimping the edges together and experimenting with different cut-outs on top. Brush a mixture of egg whites and a dash of heavy cream over the top of your pie and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for that delicious glistening-golden look.

Stay tuned for my favorite quiche recipe....I have one downstairs cooling on the stove as I type...YUM!

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