December 16, 2005

The Perfect Pie Dough

I'm convinced everyone can make a homemade pie crust. In April we had a Pie-Making Contest at my work and one of the rules was that the pie crust had to be homemade. I was surprised how many people were upset with this rule, because they didn't know how to make a homemade pie crust.

I'm 24 years old and I've learned everything about cooking from my mother and grandmother. I have gone through many pie crust recipes, trying to find the perfect one that is fool-proof. I've found it finally.

My mother-in-law passed this recipe along to me this Thanksgiving. It's from Julia Child (which I will say I do believe is the best cook ever). She taught Martha Stewart everything Martha knows about cooking and entertaining. Julia is the best chef are some of her pie crust tips that I live by.

Perfect Pie Crust
(makes 4 single crusts)

5 1/4 C. of flour
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1 3/4 C. Shortening, chilled (Crisco)
1 C. ice water

Place flour and salt in large deep bowl and stir. Cut cold butter up and then with your fingers or a pastry cutter crumble the butter and flour together. There should be no lumps in the mixture and it should resemble coarse crumbs. Next, cut up the cold shortening and cut it into the mixture as your did with the butter. The dough will come together and you'll be able to form a ball. Take the ice water and pour into the mixture. You will be worried that it's too much water, but keep mixing with a spoon or your hands, and eventually the water will absorb into the dough. Roll dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Keep in the frig for at least 2 hours.

Rolling The Dough Out
The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. When you are ready to roll out a pie, cut dough ball into four quarters. Take one quarter out at a time and place the rest back into to he frig. This dough needs to stay cold. Roll out dough on a well floured surface and when dough is the correct size for the pie plate, roll it up around your rolling pin (see link for images of this). The link I've included gives great images on how to roll out dough and putting it into your pie plate.

How to Give Your Crust the Perfect Final Touch
Ever wonder why some people's pie crust is perfectly golden and shiny? Well listen closely, I'm going to let out the secret: 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water or heavy cream. Whisk together and you have a perfect baste for a pie crust. Baste just the tops of the pie crust with the mixture before placing your filling into the pie and place in the oven. I guarantee you'll have a beautifully golden crust when it comes out.

Until next time....Keep you hands floured and you oven hot!

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