Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pie Crust

Pie Crust: it's not everyone's favorite thing to make. Pies require a lot of effort and the crust can be the most frustrating part of making a pie. I personally feel that if my crust doesn't turn out good, the whole pie is a waste.

Well, that may be a bit drastic, but you understand my point.

When it comes to making a pie, I need a no-fail method. This is my tried and true crust recipe. It's simple and has always turned out perfect.

The first essential step is chilling ALL of your ingredients. I start by measuring the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, and then putting that bowl into the refrigerator. Yes, I even chill the bowl. Chill the shortening (and butter if you choose to use) as well. I also use ice water (or water that you've chilled in the fridge or freezer). Once everything is nice and cold, you are ready to begin.

Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour and salt. The mixture should be crumbly like so:

Pea sized pieces and smaller

Slowly add water and mix. I'm sorry, but the best way to do it is to get your hands in it!

Clean hands of course...

Do not over mix! Over mixing causes the dough to be tough. Only mix till the dough comes together and is no longer crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and lightly knead and pat together like so:

Tightly wrap the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. To save time, make the crust a day ahead. It will be chilled and ready to go!

Pie Crust:

Single-Crust Pie:

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I recommend Crisco)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons ice water

Double-Crust Pie:

1 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
6-8 tablespoons ice water

Mix flour and salt together. Using a pastry blender, cut shortening into flour until crumbly. Slowly add cold water and mix until dough comes together. Turn dough onto a floured cutting board and lightly knead until dough comes together. Tightly wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Refrigerate for one hour before assembling pie. The crust keeps indefinitely in the fridge or freezer.

Note: For a rich, buttery crust, substitute half of the shortening with unsalted butter.

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