Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pie Crust Tips and My Favorite Crust Recipe

Trust me. It really is "Easy as pie" with this recipe. This is a great no fail method that has unavoidable consequences. You will be in charge of pies for every holiday. So use at your own risk.

First some tips that will make it no fail:

Pie Crust Tip No. 1:
When Measuring your shortening use water displacement. What's that? Let me show you. I have a 4 cup measuring cup and I only need 1 2/3 Cup of Shortening. 4 - 1 2/3 = 2 1/3, so I fill my measuring cup up with water to the 2 1/3 mark and then add shortening until it fills the water up to the whole 4 cups. (You do need to push the shortening down under the water for an
accurate measure) Easy and you won't have to battle air pockets and the shortening sticking to your measuring cup. Eh.... Good tip huh.


Pie Crust Tip No. 2:
Don't use a pastry knife! Use your hands. Just grab the ingredients in your hands and sort of rub it gently between your palms and fingers of your two hands. Do this until you no longer see any dry/white flour. Should be crumbly. Use this method especially if you feel your crust has been tough in the past. This really keeps the crust flaky.

Pie Crust Tip No. 3:
For the love of Pete, DO NOT OVER MIX YOUR CRUST!  I have watched several people (who claim to know pie crust) mix their crust into submission.  We are talking Kitchen Aides people...  Or kneading it like a loaf of bread.  Pie crust should be light and flaky. Treat it accordingly.

Pie Crust Tip No. 4:
Rolls your crust between plastic wrap. I like to place two pieces side by side overlapping by about two inches to make it wider. Make two of these then roll the crust between your two wider sheets. This makes table top to pie pan transfer a lot easier. Simply remove the top sheet and flip it onto your pie pan. Then smooth it out and remove the other plastic sheet. There! Done.


Pie Crust Tip No. 5: 
After your crust is rolled out and in the pan, let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.  This will minimize shrinking in the oven.  This is particularly important with any pie that requires a baked crust before the filling is added.

Alright. Down to the baking!

My favorite pie crust recipe and it's a mix. 
Say what?! It doesn't get better than that (this recipe makes 4-5 crusts):
5 C. Fluffy White or Wheat Flour (Don't pack it in)
1 1/4 tsp. Salt
1 2/3 Cup Shortening

Measure flour, shortening and salt into a large bowl. (Sort of sprinkle the salt around to ensure even distribution and don't forget to use the tips outlined above!) Mix these ingredients together.

Now, at this point you can store it in the fridge for about three weeks or the freezer for way longer. Great if you want to get some of the mess out of the way before a big holiday.

Now that you have your crust mix, for one crust:
1 1/2 C. Mix
Cold Water

Put your mix into an appropriately sized bowl and begin adding water and mixing it in. I like to just add one tablespoon of cold water at a time and gently mix it in with a fork. Continue doing this until the dry crumbly mixture is gone and you have big globs of pie crust ready to roll out.  It shouldn't be wet/soggy feeling when you are done.  If you get too much water, just add a little more dry mixture and incorporate it in gently.  In my opinion, a little wetter is better than too dry.
Form into a ball and squish it flat so that there is minimal tearing around the edges.  Begin rolling it out with a rolling pin using tip 4.  I like to kind of rotate it around and flip it over a couple of times to keep it round.  Then transfer to and press it into your pie dish.  Trim edges and decorate your rim how you like.  Often I'll just trim it off and call it good, depending on the occasion. Let your crust rest in the fridge.  Finish pie according to filling instructions.


*Don't forget to poke holes in your crust with a fork IF you are baking the crust without filling.  It allows steam to escape and prevents big bubbles.


If you have any questions about pie making, please just ask.  I am happy to help out how I can!

7 comments:

the cheese thief said...

Great tips, I'm a little confused on the water displacement. Do you then strain your shortening? How do you get all of the liquid off?

Cindy said...

Oil repels water so the majority of it runs off when you pull it out of the water and anything leftover won't hurt anything. This method is more of a suggestion. I just like it because you don't have to worry about air pockets and scraping out a measuring cup.

Scarlet said...

Substituting up to half of your water with vodka makes for a really flaky crust that is easy to handle (because you can add a little more liquid). Water activates the gluten in the flour but alcohol doesn't.

Cindy said...

Scarlet, Great tip! I tried it and wow! What a difference! I wonder if vinegar would achieve the same thing??

Redonkulious Niece said...

Wow! Great recipe I use this every year! Thanks! Btw your an awesome aunt!

Sharon said...

Can't wait to try this! I'm 51 yrs old and have NEVER EVER been able to make a decent pie crust! Everyone's "oh you can't go wrong, easiest ever" recipes elude me. Yours looks so much simpler. The water tip is something that I prefer to use as well. I may try the vodka too. Love your blog and all your tips! :)

Anonymous said...

Use wax paper two sheets rolling dough in between! The waxed paper releases the dough more easily! I've done this for years! Works great gently stretch the waxed paper taunt as you hold it close to the rolled dough to release it in the pie pan or as top crust! Perfect every time.
Carol