Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday is PIE DAY!

I have not yet talked about pie crust in any of my pie postings.  As my own crust recipe is one of my two super top secret recipes, I will not be posting that one here-sorry!  I will however, post any interesting or out of the ordinary crust recipes that I come across or try in my own kitchen.  Today, I will simply offer some general tips and techniques for pie crust.

Every pie baker has their own secrets and specific techniqes for making and rolling their dough.  What works for one person won't work for everyone, so if you've never made your own pie crust, start with these basics, then experiment a bit to find your own groove.

mixing dough:
-start with all of the dry ingredients mixed well together
-add your fat of choice (lard, butter, shortening or a mix)
-mix quickly with pastry cutter or two forks until it forms into pea size clumps

This mixing creates, in essence, pockets of fat in the dough.  When you bake the crust, these pockets turn into little fissures, creating the desired flakiness.  Therefore, do not overmix or you will end up with a tough, not very flaky, crust.

-add the water to the crust slowly
This is a crucial step in the dough process, as too much water will make a tough crust and too little will make it crumbly and hard to handle.
-mix until all ingredients are combined and dough starts to form into ball-again, do not over-handle!

rolling dough
-flour your surface to keep dough from sticking (you can also use a floured pastry cloth or floured piece of wax paper under your dough, depending on your counter surface)
-i "cut" a criss cross impression in the dough with the side of my hand (see above) - this helps the dough roll out into a nicer, neater circle
-many new rollers tend to press hard on the end of the stroke, creating edges that are too thin-use even pressure along the entire stroke, and add flour lightly as needed to prevent sticking
-when rolled to correct diameter, carefully fold crust in half and lift into pie pan, then unfold to fit
-press gently to fill pan, don't stretch or press too hard or you may end up with tears or holes
-if baking a single crust pie, you're ready to fill and bake
-if baking a double crust pie, fill pie, then repeat rolling process, gently unfolding crust on top of filling

Many people tell me that they are intimidated by the thought of making pie crust, but with a few basic ingredients and a little patience, anyone can mix and roll a delicious homemade pie crust. 


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  2. Guess what I made on Friday? Pumpkin pie and green tomato pie! The pumpkin pie was a lovely pale yellow, just like you predicted. (I also thought of carrots for future Lumina pumpkin pie if I really want orange.) And tonight a polenta-crust pizza pie out of the old school Moosewood cookbook.