|Peach Lattice Top Pie|
Think of yourself in your Grandma's kitchen - no stress, no worries, you're just here to make a pie because you want some dessert! Its not a test and there will not be a grade. If your first pie isn't the prettiest one in the world, the next one just might be!
|Our 8 yr. old Grandaughter Erin and her fresh Strawberry Pie!|
I've recently heard from several people who have trouble making pie crust. They buy the pre-made graham cracker crust mixes, the pie crust mixes or the pre-made pie shells themselves, then try to make the pie filling adapt. Guys, honestly, you can do this! I'm going to teach you the same way my Grandma taught me.
Also, I flour the surface I am rolling on fairly generously. If the dough is made properly AND you have given it a rest period, it is not going to absorb excess flour when you roll it out. It is easier to roll the dough if there is sufficient flour beneath the dough. So I want to dispel those myths right from the start. It is true that dough that is frozen before it is rolled is even more tender and flaky. I don't think anybody knows why. But I rarely do that unless I'm making a lot of dough for holiday pies.
Once in a while a dough just won't turn out. It happens more often when you are learning. If that happens to you, do yourself a favor and throw the works out! Start over. The 2nd time it will work.
|Use a cup or so of flour, fanned out, for rolling!|
Three True Things about Pie Dough:
Use the best flour you can afford, i.e., from a small mill if possible. Most Organic flours are good. My favorite flours to bake with are King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour or Bob's. Many grocery stores carry both now, even in small 5# bags. Don't use pre-sifted flour. Don't use bread flour. Pastry flour is very nice, but harder to work with. Try that later, not now. Some of the cheaper flours available at the grocery store have quite a bit of cornstarch added for filler. That will toughen your pie and/or make the dough crumbly or easily torn. So, buy the best flour you can afford and save it for use only in pies if you have to. Cookie recipes aren't generally as touchy with respect to flour.
Measure correctly! That matters a lot in baking. When you measure your flour, don't dip the measuring cup into the flour to fill it and then shake off the excess. Hold your measuring cup above the flour bin. Using a scoop or a big spoon, drop the flour gently into the measuring cup until it is mounded above the top of the cup. Using a straight edge knife, drag the blade horizontally across the top of the cup and let any excess fall back into the bin. If you are used to using a scale (my most preferred method) weigh all the ingredients you will use. Find out how much each recipe ingredient weighs by pre-measuring them separately and correctly by volume, first. Write that down on the recipe card. Then weigh them. A lot of tough pies occur because there was too much flour added in proportion to the shortening. Your proportions of flour to shortening must be correct.
|Drop flour gently into measuring cup|
|Use a straight edge to remove excess|
|Add this correctly measured flour to your bowl|
It is almost more important how you mix the shortening into the flour and salt than the particular type of shortening you use. In other words, use my recipe or use one from a cookbook. You can make a very decent pie crust using all Crisco, all Lard, all Butter, part Butter and Crisco or Lard, or a mixture of Butter, Lard and Coconut oil, etc. A Crisco or Lard pie crust can be just as tender and flaky as that made with a blend of shortening, though adding Butter will definitely add a flavor boost. I don't use all Coconut Oil, ever, for pie crust. Even part Coconut oil will toughen the pastry slightly, but the trade off is it tastes great and has greater health benefits. Since I make pies fairly infrequently, I want them to be decadent in every way. They aren't health food by any stretch, no matter what you do. Today I am mixing the dough by hand, so you'll begin to recognize the stages of pie dough. Sometimes I use my Cuisinart Food Processor instead. It makes great pie dough, too.
|1/2 cup diced, cold salted butter|
|1/4 cup chilled Lard|
This recipe makes one 9" or 10" double crust pie or two single crust pies:
2 cups unbleached King Arthur AP flour
1 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 cup chilled shortening total
Ice Water ( about 12 TBS. for a 2 crust pie in a dry climate) sometimes more
Measure flour into a deep, rather than wide bowl. Stir in 1 tsp. sea salt. Cut in HALF of the total shortening using a pastry blender. (Do not even try making it with two knives as some older cookbooks suggest) It is an exercise in frustration that you don't need when you are learning to make pie dough. I know very few people who succeed at that method, including me :-P
|Some of the diced butter added to flour mixture|
|Cut half the total shortening into the flour until dough particles are the size of peas.|
|Add the remaining shortening and blend in until some pieces are the size of dried beans.|
|Notice there are some small and some larger pieces of dry dough b-4 water is added|
|Ice water - I don't measure it! I go by the feel of the dough|
|Sprinkle water over dough a little at a time, tossing dough pieces w/ fork as it is added.|
|Dough is almost ready. Notice how "shaggy" it looks?|
|NOW the dough is ready. It is shaggy AND it sort of holds together.|
When dough pieces hold together like they do in the above photo, stop adding water! The dough should be very moist but not sticky. Pick some up with your hand. It should easily drop out of your hand without leaving any residue behind. If you've added too much water, and the dough is sticky, that is still better than trying to roll it when it is too dry and crumbly. Just proceed, and know it may have a bit tougher texture than it should. Next time, check the moisture more often.
Gather the dough with both hands and compress it into a ball.
|Gather dough into a ball.|
|Slice into two pieces.|
|Lightly press dough into two flat discs. Put in zip lock bag. Let rest for 30-60 min. on counter.|
|Choose your rolling pin! Hardwood is the best way to go.|
|With your hand, coat your rolling pin lightly with flour.|
|To redistribute the flour under the dough, use the rolling pin to roll it toward you.|
|The dough is thinly rolled and about 12 inches across. It is ready to put in the pie pan.|
|Lay the far edge of the dough against the rolling pin and use the pin to roll it toward you.|
|Lift the dough and pin together over the pie dish, and allow to unroll over it.|
|Use scissors to trim off excess beyond an inch of overhang, all the way around.|
|For a single crust pie, lift and tuck under the 1 inch overhang.|