Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pie Crust Basics

Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of one of my very favorite holidays (and possibly the best excuse to bake ALL year) I wanted to do a post about making pie crust from scratch. Over the last couple of days I've talked to several people who are baking for the holiday. All of them have confessed to using store bought pie crust. This. Is. A. Travesty! First and foremost because crust is really not all that hard. All you need are the ingredients pictured above, and about 15 minutes. Cheaters never prosper, friends. ;)

Above is my super secret Pie Crust recipe that I swear by. I've tried lots of different ones, but this is by far the yummiest and most successful. It's adapted from a Paula Dean Recipe. I just added sugar and used salted butter. It only exists on this little torn piece of scrap paper in my Recipe Binder....and now in cyberland, too.

Mix together 2.5 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt in a large bowl until evenly distributed. Cut up your shortening and butter into tablespoon sized pieces, and then add them to the mix. It's very important that the butter is COLD. This will give your crust the right consistency...

Cut the butter and shortening into the flour. This is exactly what it sounds like. You can use two sharp knives and criss cross them over and over, targeting the larger chunks of butter. I bought a pasty blender a couple of years back to do this exact task, and it was the best 6$ I ever spent ;)

Work the butter/shortening into the flour until it resembles a crumb topping. The little balls of butter should be about the size of peas. The less you actually work/cut in the flour, the better. As you work with these kinds of doughs, the more you mix/mess with it, the more the gluten in the four develops. With pie crust, you want a light flaky texture, not a doughy one. Try to keep the contact to the absolute minimum.

Now, add cold water, a tablespoon at a time to the dough. Mix it with your hands, until all the dough is JUST moistened. You don't want to over-water your dough here. You really want to make it just wet enough that it will stick together...
This time around it took about 3 tablespoons of cold water. When you're all set, form the crust into two balls.
Pop them in the fridge, and you've got HOMEMADE pie crust for your apple, cherry, rhubarb, pecan whatever pie!!!!!

Give it a shot. It's a little tricky at first, but once you've got it figured out, you'll never buy crust from the grocery store again. I promise!
Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

  1. good job, and the ring looks good while cooking.....