Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Easy as Pie
Birthday time is here once again. In the span of six weeks, we'll celebrate four birthdays. You can imagine that birthday cake gets rather tiresome, if not downright stale, so instead, we sometimes eat birthday pie. YUMMY!!! I make all my desserts from scratch, because I enjoy it, and because I make better pie than any restaurant. No, I'm not bragging; I'm just not into false modesty. You know how you go to a restaurant and order pie and then leave some of the crust behind? Not this crust, baby. It's everything a pie crust should be: flakey and buttery and tender. So what's the secret?
KEEP EVERYTHING COLD.
That's right, don't let that butter sit out and soften and melt into the rest of the pastry. Tiny blobs of butter within the crust are what create the flakey texture. So don't over mix! The following recipe makes two pie crusts, one for now, and one for the freezer.
Two Flakey Pie Crusts:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 Ice water
1. Put the flour and salt in your food processor. Pulse for a few seconds. Add the butter, processing for no more than 10 seconds. The mixture will be coarse, because the butter should not be fully incorporated. If you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry blender.
2. Add the ice water, drop by drop through the feed tube with the machine running until the dough holds together; do not process for more than 30 seconds. (It's okay if you still see small blobs of butter--that's the idea!)
3. Divide the dough into two pieces for two crusts. You can wrap one crust and place it in the freezer for another day. The other crust should be placed in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling it. Butter the pie pan before placing the rolled out pie crust in it. This ensures that the pie will ease out of the pan when you cut it, and it imparts a delicious, buttery taste.
I'm making lemon curd pie, so I need a completely baked pie shell. Here's how: First, I roll out the dough and place it in the buttered dish.
Next, I flute the edges:
Then, I poke holes in the crust with a fork to prevent the crust from rising while it bakes:
Finally, I fill the crust with weights (you can buy them at a cooking store) or pinto beans in foil to further prevent that sneaky crust from rising:
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove the foil and weights until the crust turns golden, probably another 5-7 minutes.
TOMORROW: THE FILLING!!!