Sunday, December 1, 2013

Flakiest Pie Crust (and Pumpkin Pie filling)

I love this recipe for pie crust, I don't make it often, and really, I don't know why I don't.  It's a little on the messy side to make, but once it's done, just wrap really well and put it into the freezer to use at a later date.  
And in fact, that's just what I'm doing today.

I got this recipe out of the LA Times many years ago, and actually made this while we were living in our motorhome, and my counter space was an area about 16 inches wide by maybe 18 inches deep.   I did have to vacuum a lot right after, as well as sweep the floor and wipe it down after I was done, but the pie crust, OMG, well, flaky was just one of the descriptive words I could use. 

I got the recipe out of the LA Times, and got totally intrigued by the description or should I say methodology? of making it.    It's your basic pie crust recipe, fat, flour, salt, and a touch of water.   But what makes this recipe special, is the how you make it.   You can actually see the streaks of butter, and it makes for an incredibly tender, flaky crust.

To start with, take your butter out of the fridge, and dice it into little pieces.  I do mean dice.  Then put that diced butter back in the fridge.  You want to keep it as cold as possible.   If you have room in your fridge for some flour, go ahead and get that cold as well.   Of course I didn't follow my own hints here, as I had offered to throw together a pumpkin pie at the last minute for Thanksgiving.  However, if you decide to make this, here is how you should do it. 

I have an island in my kitchen with a stainless steel top, and I put a ziploc bag filled with ice right over where I wanted to make my pie crust.  If you have a couple of ice packs you want to use, go ahead.   The purpose of getting everything cold is to handle the dough as little as possible, keeping it as cold as possible.   (Mrs. Patterson would approve of this).

Pie Crust

2 cups flour
1/4 lb. unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt (only if using unsalted butter)
4 + tablespoons ice water    (I made a mistake when I posted this the first time, I said teaspoons instead of tablespoons, sigh)


First off, measure out the flour and place it on your baking mat.  I use this because it's easy clean up and I have learned my lesson on this.
If you are using unsalted butter, you can add the salt here, if using salted butter, don't worry about it.

Then put your diced, cold butter on top of the flour,

 toss it in the flour a little, then get out your rolling pin and start rolling the butter into the flour.
Yup, rolling it into the flour.  Just like this.
Keep rolling it out, moving the flour to the top, until all the butter is incorporated.   Then you add the magic ingredient,  water.
Make a little well in the flour butter mixture, (there is a fancy name for this, but it escaped me at the moment)
Dribbling in about 4 tablespoons of water, and tossing it together with your cold hands, until it resembles this. You can use more water, if needed, and I did that day, but only use enough water for the dough to come together.  Don't over work the dough!!  Did you notice I put that in bold type?  That is so important for this dough, and actually for most pie dough.   Overworking the dough results in a tough crust, and you don't want that. 
Then use your rolling pin again, and roll it out just a little, then cut in half and place half of it aside.
Continue to roll out the pie crust until it reaches the right size.  For me it was for a deep dish pie tin.
Then here's a trick, roll the dough over the rolling pin
and use that to transfer the pie crust to the tin.
Unrolling it over and then you can trim it however you want.  I did a kinda rustic look this time.
Fill it with your pie filling
And bake until it's done.
 Here's the filling I used the other day.
1 can pumpkin (15 oz.size)
1 can Sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

Whisk together and pour into pie shell.

 I like to pre-bake my crust about five minutes, and if you do that, you do need to use a fork to prick some holes in the bottom.   Bake the pie for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Now I did my famous, dang, forgot to take a picture of the finished pie, but, gee it was Thanksgiving and I wanted to get everything done and the kitchen cleaned up before I had to take my pie and bread and myself to dinner at a friends house.
However, this is all that was left when I took it home.


Which was a good thing, cause it meant I got to taste it.   And you know, I liked it.  There was just enough sweetness from the condensed milk.   I didn't add any sugar or anything else.   I think this recipe is my new go to recipe for Pumpkin Pie.  Simple, but good.





Sid Munkholm
Sid Munkholm

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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