Saturday, August 10, 2013

Righteous Kitchen's All Butter Pie Crust

I'll admit it. I'm a pie crust snob. I can't stand it when I see an under baked pie crust. This goes back to my childhood. My Grandmother was a fabulous cook, but she really didn't understand how to bake a pie crust. For all the peach and lemon meringue pies she made, the crusts were always bland and under done. My Grandmother is not the only one lacking in the baking department. I have tasted many a bland pie crust, and I've witnessed many crusts being tossed aside only to be regulated to the trash can. It was my quest to come up with the perfect flaky pie crust. A pie crust that could stand its own against the filling.

I started experimenting with an all butter crust, because I like the flavor of butter. Then I changed it up and cut back a little on the butter, and added Crisco, to make up the balance. In adding the Crisco I thought I would have a flakier crust. That was not the case. The Crisco did not make the crust flakier. Actually, it hindered the flaking process, and seemed to take longer for the crust to bake. Crisco also changed the texture of the dough, making it greasy, and harder to chill and roll out. I went back to my all butter recipe. I like the taste and the flakiness of the crust. The crust stands on its own, like a snacking cracker, where you find you just can't eat one.

The pie crust should be flaky through and through. From the edges, down the sides and clear through to the bottom. This crust is a perfect match for any filling!

Start by mixing dry ingredients in a food processor.
Alternatively, this recipe can be made by hand.
Pulse in frozen butter.
Until the dough looks like wet sand.
Pulse in, ice cold water, a tablespoonful at a time.
Until dough holds together when pressed between fingers.

Divide the dough, then cover, in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. This tip helps to ensure your crust will make it to the pie pan without tearing. Also, there is less, of a mess, to clean.
Transfer the rolled dough to a pie pan. Smooth the dough to remove any air bubbles. Trim excess dough from the edge of pan. Crimp the edge with a fork, or just press the dough onto the rim of the pie pan with your finger. Use the fork to dock the bottom and sides of the shell.  
To prevent the crust from shrinking, cover with foil, then fill with beans.

At the half way point an egg wash gets brushed onto the crust. This will act as a barrier, to prevent the filling from soaking into the crust.

You'll want to protect the rim, of the crust, from over browning.

This is a prepared pie crust, with the egg wash. It is great for ALL types of pies: cream, quiche, custard or fruit. This is also my secret to double crust fruit pies. I always bake the bottom crust before filling and placing the top crust.

This is a crust without the egg wash.
SINGLE CRUST:                                                          
2 Cups flour                                                     
1/2 Teaspoon salt                                              
1 Tablespoon sugar                                          
1 Tablespoon butter flakes                              
3/4 Cup butter chopped, frozen                       
up to 7 Tablespoons ice water                         
1 Egg, scrambled, for wash                              
3 Cups flour
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon butter flakes
1 Cup butter, chopped, frozen
up to 11 Tablespoons ice water
1 Egg, scrambled, for wash
In a large mixing bowl, or food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar and butter flakes. Cut in frozen butter, until it is incorporated into the flour and becomes the consistency of wet sand. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, to just moisten the flour. To test, press flour between fingers. If it starts to hold then there is enough water. Divide dough, if making a double crust. Press dough into a large disc; then wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for half an hour. Roll dough between two sheets of plastic wrap. Place into a pie pan, pressing to remove air bubbles. Trim excess dough and crimp dough onto the rim of the pie pan. Dock the dough, using a fork. Place a sheet of foil over dough, covering completely. Weigh, the dough, with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes, until dough is puffy. Remove foil and beans. Dock again. Brush with an egg wash, if desired. Continue baking, up to another 30 minutes; until crust is light brown. Prebaked crust can be used for any type pie: cream, custard, quiche and is ideal for double crusted fruit pies.

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