Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pie Crust

This is a basic pie crust demonstration, to make a double crust pie or two single crust pies or tarts (8 - 10.") The recipe is adapted from Martha Stuart's classic Pies and Tarts. For this demonstration I'm making an herbed crust for savory tarts. For a dessert pie, leave out the herbs, and add 1 teaspoon sugar if you wish.

Before you begin, read through the recipe at least once. Then get out all of the ingredients and implements called for. One key to success in cooking is to have all of your ingredients on hand (by that I mean out and on the counter) before you begin a project. Nothing is more frustrating than starting a cooking project only to find out that the bottle of vanilla is empty, or the can of baking get the picture.
Here you go:

2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (two sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
2 lightly buttered pie or tart pans
Place the dry ingredients, including the butter, in the food processor and pulse or process til the mixture has the texture of coarse meal. You could also use a pastry blender to combine the ingredients to the coarse meal stage.

Add the ice water drop by drop through the feed tube with the machine running, till the mixture just holds together. (No more than 30 seconds.)

Squeeze a bit of dough in your hand: if it doesn't stick together, add a bit more water by the same method.

Turn dough out onto a piece of (unbleached) wax paper and divide into two parts. Clump each part into a ball like you are packing a snowball. Then flatten it into a disc shape, each on its own piece of wax paper

Wrap each disc in wax paper, and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

When dough is chilled, roll it out on a well floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch.

Fold dough in half to make it easier to place into the pie pan. Lift and move it with a metal spatula such as you would use to flip a burger.

(If you are making a two-crust pie and your two dough balls are not exactly the same size, use the larger one to line the pan, and the smaller one for the top.)

Unfold your dough and voila! a perfect pie crust! Tidy up the edges and crimp by hand to build up the sides in whatever pattern pleases you.

If you're not going to use the pie shell right away, wrap or bag and refrigerate for up to one day. For longer storage, wrap well and freeze.

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