Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Anatomy of Pie... Piece 1

   Pie is my husband's second love (I'd like to think our boys and I place first)!  He has 2 favorites, Hot and Cold... in other words, if it's a crust with ANYTHING in it, he is happy.  Now, although Geoff isn't too picky, he does know a good pie when he tastes one. 
There are 2 key components to Pie Perfection... first is the crust and the second, the filling.  In this first installment, we will dive into creating an amazing crust.
Let's start with the recipe:      

Double Crust
2 1/2 Cups         Flour
1 tsp                 Salt
1 tsp                 Sugar
1 Cup                COLD butter, cut in small pieces 
1/4 Cup             COLD shortening
6 - 8 Tbl            ICE COLD water

1- Cut your fat into small pieces and add to your measured flour and salt and sugar.  Combine the fat quickly by pulsing in a food processor or blender. Your mixture should resemble coarse meal.
2- Slowly add the water and continue pulsing. It should still look dry. Grab some with your hand and squeeze. It should hold together, if it didn't, add a little more water and mix quickly. Test again.
3- Divide the dough in half. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Push the dough into a flat disk.
4- Refrigerate for at least an hour.  
When you are ready to roll...
5- Lightly flour your board. Begin by rolling from the middle of the disk up. Turn the dough one quarter and repeat. Always roll in one direction and turn the dough often making it just large enough to fit your pan.
6- Carefully fold the dough in half over your rolling pin, pick it up and lie the dough on the pie plate (if it tears, just pinch it together again, or use scraps to repair any holes).
7- Roll out the second disk of dough.
8- Prick the pastry with a fork.  Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze the crusts until ready to fill.
Now that you know the basics, here are some tips to make sure your crust is top notch.
- When rolling out your dough, make the top crust slightly thinner than the bottom crust.
- To keep an empty pie from collapsing, gently place a slightly smaller straight-sided cake pan down on top of the crust.  Bake for about ten minutes, and remove the cake pan. Use a fork to prick any places that puff up, and bake until the crust is a light golden color.
- To avoid a soggy crust, fill the crust and get it into the oven or freezer, quickly.
- If you freeze your pie, do not thaw before baking, bake in the frozen state, adjusting baking time accordingly.

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