Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Basics of Baking - Pie Crust

You will need: 
1.  A rolling pin and a rolling surface (I prefer marble for both of these items - however a wooden rolling pin works just as well and a clean counter is fine for rolling)
2.  A "Pie Cutter or Pastry Cutter" (seen in the above picture right side) (you may use a sturdy fork instead of a pastry cutter)
3.  Pie plate or tart pan (who says pie has to be round - I like a rectangular pie)

The pie dough will look like this before using your hands to form it into a ball

Pie Crust from Scratch

When you make pie crust from scratch you will never go back to the already made pie crust.  To be perfectly honest with you I don't know how anyone can eat and enjoy the "already made" pie crust found in grocery stores - YUK!

Single Pie Crust                                                                               Printable Recipe
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup butter (I use unsalted)
1/4 cup lard (see note below)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water (preferably filtered water)
Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  "Cut" the butter and lard into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly looking.  Now add the vanilla and 3 tablespoons of water and mix together (still use the pie cutter or fork to mix in the liquid).  Only add the 4th tablespoon of water if the dough still seems dry.  The dough should look like the picture above.  Now form the dough into a ball with your hands (see picture below).

NOTE:  If you only want to use butter then you may omit the lard and use 1/2 cup butter instead (or 2/3 cup butter if you are doing a double recipe - see bottom of post).

Now you are ready to roll out the dough but first you must dust the rolling surface with flour and you might even need to dust more flour onto the dough half way through rolling.  Keep rolling until the dough is a little less than 1/4 inch thick (see picture below).  As you can see I rolled the dough into a rectangular shape because I am using my rectangular tart pan - if you are using a traditional round pie plate then roll the dough into a circle.

To "flute" the edges use your thumb and forefinger on one side and then your other forefinger on the other side of the dough - as demonstrated in the picture below.

If you are making a "baked pie crust" for pies such as coconut cream pie, banana cream pie or lemon meringue pie then you would bake the crust before filling the pie. (You would bake it in a preheated 475 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes).  For other pies such as apple pie, pear pie or pumpkin pie you would fill the pie crust before baking.

Double Pie Crust                                                                           Printable Recipe
2 cups flour
1/3 cup butter (I use unsalted)
1/3 cup lard (see note below)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water (preferably filtered water)

Follow the same instructions for the Single Pie Crust recipe except when you roll out the dough simply cut it in 2 equal parts.

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