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Making the perfect pie crust...

Posted 11/20/2014 12:33pm by R Heritage Farm.

pie crust

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving and it’s without a doubt my favorite holiday. It's the perfect day to relax, and visit with our family whom we rarely see during the farmers market season. Our home always feels so warm and inviting; it's lit up with candles, autumn decorations, and heavenly smells. Every year I go all out and I always make EVERYTHING from scratch from the homemade bread in the stuffing, cranberry sauce, egg nog, desserts, pie crusts, etc.

Not everyone likes to cook everything from scratch, but if there's one thing you're gonna make - make a homemade pie. I thought I’d share my favorite pie crust recipe which in the 15 years I’ve been using it has never failed me. It always produces a delicious flaky crust, and it only takes a few minutes to make. Making a homemade pie crust is easier than you think and it starts with a basic recipe and some great tips and tricks...

Butter Pie Crust

(makes 2 crusts)

2 cups flour (it helps to chill the flour but it's not necessary)

¼ tsp salt

2/3 cup VERY COLD butter (the colder the better)

4-6 Tbsp ICE COLD water

*See below for tips  

Mix flour and salt and cut in small amounts of the butter using a fork, pastry blender or old fashioned potato masher (I use the latter) until it’s mixed into coarse crumbs. Gradually stir in 4 Tbsp water and mix just until the flour is moistened. (Add 1-2 Tbsp more water if needed.) Don’t pour the water in all at once and use the smallest amount possible. It’s also important you don’t over work the dough or you’ll develop the gluten which will make it tough. You can use the pinch test to see if your dough has the right amount of liquid. Pick up a small clump of dough and gently squeeze between your fingers. When the dough just sticks together with small dry cracks, your dough is perfect.  

I lightly dust my hands with flour and then roll the mixture into a big ball and then cut it in half. (If your dough is too soft refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes.) Roll each half into a ball and roll it out with your rolling pin, rolling from the center outwards to produce a uniform thickness. Don’t forget to dust your counter top and rolling pin when you roll it out so it doesn’t stick. Once it's rolled out I fold the dough in half and place in the pie dish and unfold it, or you can roll it over the rolling pin and sort of "roll" it out over the pie pan. That's it and now you're ready to fill it!

Tips:  

~ I recommend using a glass pie pan instead of the cheap aluminum ones as they produce a flakier crust and cook more evenly. 

~ Beat an egg and brush a little onto the bottom of your pie crust before adding your filling. It’ll help prevent the bottom of your crust from becoming mushy.  

~ To produce a beautifully shiny golden brown crust try an egg wash. There are many variations you can use but for a slightly glossy nicely browned look beat one whole egg with one Tbsp water. (If you use milk instead of water it will increase the browning). Lightly brush on the egg wash just before placing your pie into the oven.  

~ To prevent excess browning of the edges during baking, cover the pie edge with a 2- to 3-inch wide strip of aluminum foil, and mold lightly around the edge of the pie. Bake as directed, removing the aluminum foil 15 minutes before the end of the baking time.  

~ Cool your pie on a wire rack which allows the air to circulate underneath. This helps prevent the bottom from becoming soggy and cools your pie uniformly.    

~ For a prebaked crust, place the pie plate in the oven, and bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes; for a partially baked crust, bake it 7 to 10 minutes. If the bottom begins to bubble up, prick it with a fork. You can also prevent the crust from bubbling up by spreading dried beans, rice, or pie weights on it before putting it in the oven. Let it cool completely before you add any filling.  

~ You can store pie crust dough in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before using it bring it to room temperature before rolling it out.

Tags: food, recipes
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