Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tips & Tricks for Perfect Pie Crust

I have a major sweet tooth. My favorite part of any meal is the dessert, and so my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is definitely the pie. I have been responsible for the pies in my family for a long time, and over the years I've been perfecting my crust. Here are  my favorite tips and tricks for a flaky and delicious homemade pie crust...

Double-Crust Recipe

3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
10-15 tablespoons ice water

1. Use a mixture of butter and shortening.

I've found that a combination of half and half is the best both in terms of flavor and texture.

2. Make your dough in a food processor.

Five years ago, I would have never done this!! I was all about doing it by hand, using a fork. But honestly, the food processor is so much easier; it takes less time & energy and because it mixes everything more quickly, it's easier to keep your dough cold. Which leads to...

3. Chill all your ingredients first.

I place the flour, shortening, and butter in the food processor and then chill in the fridge for about 30-60 minutes first. Then, pulse together for 30 second intervals until it resembles cornmeal.

4. Add the water in slowly.

Next, add your ice water 2 tablespoons at a time, pulsing the dough in between each addition. Keep adding until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You'll need about 10-15 tablespoons.

5. Adjust ingredients.

Turn out your dough onto a floured counter. If it seems too crumbly, add a bit more water; if it seems too wet, add more flour. You want a dough that holds its shape well.

6. Chill again.

Divide the dough into two, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour before rolling it out (you can make the dough ahead and freeze too).

7. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment.

One issue that I always seem to run into is that I will roll out my dough, and then it sticks to the counter, or falls apart when I'm putting it into the pie pan. So I started rolling the dough out between parchment and it works really well! I outlined my pie plate on the top piece, so I had a guideline for rolling out the crust. Then, you can just unpeel the dough from the parchment after you transfer it to the pan.

Add your filling {for apple pie, my filling is 6 cups peeled & sliced Granny Smith apples + 2/3 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons flour + 1 teaspoon cinnamon}, then roll the top crust out using the same method. I like the press the edges of the top and bottom crust together with a fork, then trim the edges with a knife.

8. Make it pretty!

Honestly, I think pie looks good with just the plain crimped edges, but for Thanksgiving, I did a little fancier touch by adding leaves around the edge. I just rolled out my extra dough, cut out leaf shapes with a butter knife, and layered them on the edge.
The final step is brushing the top with an egg wash (just beat together an egg and a few tablespoons of water), which gives the pie a beautiful golden brown color.

9. Bake.

Bake at 400 degrees, covered with foil, for 25 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 25-35 minutes, until golden brown with a bubbly filling.




That's all I've got! And my little helper made you a delicious "flour pie" to enjoy as well :)
Happy Thanksgiving!

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