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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Basic Pie Crust (Sweet or Savory)


This my go-to pie crust recipe because it can be used for a sweet or savory pie, when prepared in my beautiful red Kitchen Aid it is actually quite easy and rather fun to make! I like to use half butter half shortening so that I get both the rich taste of butter and the flaky texture of shortening and a splash of vinegar for flakiness as well. The biggest hint for making a flaky pie crust is too not over handle.
This recipe will make 2 pie crusts, you can freeze them in between parchment sheets, already rolled out, and wrapped in plastic wrap or in  flat ball/disks in plastic wrap.
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar (reverse salt and sugar amounts for a savory pie)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 tablespoons shortening cut in small chunks and chilled in fridge

splash white vinegar (optional)
5-8 tablespoons ice cold water

1. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in Kitchen Aid or mixer. Add butter and shortening and beat with paddle on 2 until mixture resembles coarse meal, about a minute or so. For hand method, place dry ingredients in large bowl add butter and shortening and blend with pastry cutter or fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Add ice water and the vinegar in a slow steady stream  until the dough starts holds together, check by turning off mixer and grabbing some dough between your fingers, if it holds it is ready if it is too crumbly turn back on and add more water by small spoonfuls. By hand simple stir in liquid with a wooden spoon and check with your fingers here and there.

3. Turn dough onto 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Press each into flat circles, or rectangles depending on what shape you intend to roll out pastry to. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. It can also be frozen, double wrapped in plastic, for up to a few months.

PASTRY DOUGH ROLLING HINT: I always roll my dough out between 2 pieces of parchment only using a dusting of flour. This prevents tears and breaking and you use less flour which makes for a lighter crust! Also, try and roll out the dough in one direction, not back and forth, turning the parchment after each roll or two.

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