Pie Crust Tutorial

 

Putting together a good pie crust is equally about using the right recipe and employ­ing the cor­rect tech­niques while mix­ing it together. The recipe below is my favorite so far. It’s been tweaked to suit my taste, and will prob­a­bly be tweaked a lit­tle by you depend­ing on what ingre­di­ents you use and where you live. The amount of liq­uid you use will likely change with dif­fer­ent brands of flour, as they each have vary­ing per­cent­ages of pro­tein. It’s not as dif­fi­cult as it sounds, and every­one ben­e­fits from practice!

Keep­ing your tools cold is impor­tant. More impor­tant even than try­ing not to over­work the crust while mix­ing. It’s all about not melt­ing the fat you use with the heat of your work sur­face or hands. It’s okay to touch the crust, just not to man-handle it. You want to keep the fat intact rather than spread­ing it through­out the flour so that you get the nice, flaky texture.

Using dif­fer­ent fats will give you dif­fer­ent tex­tures, and it can be argued that short­en­ing and lard make the flaki­est crust. But you just can’t beat the taste of butter!

 

 

Pie Crust

Ingre­di­ents

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup all pur­pose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 T cream
  • 2 T water
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 1/2 cubes unsalted but­ter (3/4 cup)

Instruc­tions

  1. For detailed instruc­tions, fol­low along with the photo/instruction tutorial.
http://secretlifeofachefswife.com/essentials/pie-crust-tutorial

 

 

Cut the cold but­ter into 1/2 inch cubes and set onto a plate.

Place the plate in the freezer while you mea­sure out the rest of the ingredients.

(shouldn’t be in freezer for more than 15 minutes)

Set a bowl of ice water on work sur­face. This is where you will mea­sure from.

pie crust tutorial

 

Whisk together the two flours and the salt.

Pile the flour mix­ture onto a flat sur­face, either a table, a pas­try board, or a mar­ble slab.

                  I pre­fer to use my slab as I can chill it and it helps keep the crust as cold as pos­si­ble through­out all the steps.

Keep­ing the crust chilled is one of the most impor­tant ele­ments in mak­ing great pie crust.

This is why using cold tools and min­i­miz­ing the use of your hands is so important.

Toss the but­ter cubes into the flour, lightly coat­ing each cube.

pie crust tutorial

 

 

 Using a bench scraper or pas­try blender, cut the but­ter into the flour mixture.

This involves chop­ping the but­ter into smaller pieces with the sharp edge of the bench scraper,

while at the same time, toss­ing the cut bits back into the flour to become coated with flour.

The but­ter should be about the size of a small pea at the small end, and about the size of a chick­pea at the largest.

 

pie crust tutorial

 

 When the mix­ture looks about like the pic­ture above,

gather it up into a mound, and form a well in the center.

 

pie crust tutorial

 

 Mea­sure out the cream along with  2 Tbsp. of ice water from your bowl.

pie crust tutorial

 

 Pour the liq­uid into the well.

pie crust tutorial

 

       Using a fork, start to slowly whisk the flour into the liq­uid at the cen­ter of the well. Try to keep from break­ing through the sides of the well.

pie crust tutorial

 

 

When it seems like the liq­uid is some­what incor­po­rated, you can then take a bench scraper and start to more fully incor­po­rate the liq­uid into the flour. A bench scraper works best for this as you can lift and toss the flour back into the mound with­out hav­ing to touch it too much with your hands, and also not con­tin­u­ing to chop the but­ter into smaller bits.

You want to keep the bits of but­ter as they are. When you roll out your crust, you will be able to see the beau­ti­ful bits of but­ter flat­tened out ready to add all sorts of flakiness!

    Do this until it seems like all the pow­dery flour from the bot­tom is pretty well stick­ing to the rest of the crust mix­ture. If  loose flour is not pretty eas­ily mix­ing in, sprin­kle a table­spoon or two more of the ice water over the crust mixture.

pie crust tutorial

 

  The trick is really to incor­po­rate the ingre­di­ents together just enough to be able to roll it out cor­rectly, adding just the right amount of liq­uid, while at the same time, not over-mixing the flour with the but­ter bits. You want to main­tain the integrity of the but­ter, as this is what gives a flaky, lay­ered tex­ture to crust.

To test whether you have enough liq­uid to con­tinue on, take a small amount and squeeze it together in your hand. If it crum­bles apart when poked or set down, your mix­ture needs a bit more water. This is prob­a­bly a trial and error step with most cooks. It takes a lit­tle expe­ri­ence, but isn’t difficult.

Also, the type/brand of flour you use, and amount of humid­ity where you live can affect the amount of water you will need. Just experiment–it will come in time!

pie crust tutorial

 

 When your crust has the cor­rect amount of liq­uid, gather it together into a disc shape, and wrap it in a piece of plas­tic wrap.  After it’s wrapped, smooth out the sur­face under the plas­tic and put it into the refrig­er­a­tor to chill until needed. A few days in the fridge won’t hurt it at all.

The crust can be frozen, but I like it best used from the fridge within a cou­ple of days.

I think it behaves bet­ter when I roll it out.

pie crust tutorial

 

 When ready to use, remove the disc of dough from the fridge and let rest for 10–15 min­utes before rolling out. I find that I get less crack­ing and crum­bling while rolling, which means less frus­tra­tion for me!

                    Roll it out using a bit of flour under the crust and on your rolling pin. I use a bakers-style rolling pin coated in sil­i­cone. You can roll out on a large piece of parch­ment to make mov­ing the crust around eas­ier. You still need to flour under though, or it will stick to the parchment.

Roll from the cen­ter out, rotat­ing the crust every cou­ple of rolls. You will get a more evenly round crust to work with, and this will also ensure that your crust isn’t stick­ing to your rolling surface.

Roll out to a scant 1/8th inch depth. Make sure the diam­e­ter of the rolled out crust is at least 1 1/2 inches big­ger all around  than your pie pan. This recipe will give you a healthy, 9″ deep-dish size crust.

Save the trim­mings for another pur­pose, or to dec­o­rate the top of your pie.

pie crust tutorial

 

 Care­fully lift the crust into your pie pan. I like to gen­tly fold it in half to make it eas­ier to cen­ter in the pan. Drape the crust down into the pan, try­ing not to stretch it out, as this will encour­age shrink­ing of the crust while baked.

After the crust is cen­tered in your pan, trim the edge of the crust 1 inch larger than the edge of your pan. I use kitchen shears–super easy! Give the edge what­ever dec­o­ra­tive treat­ment you pre­fer and con­tinue on with what­ever pie recipe you are using, either fill­ing or blind baking.

If blind bak­ing, poke a fork into the bot­tom of the crust. Weigh down the crust with pie weights or beans, and bake in a 425 F. degree oven for 15–20 min­utes. Take the pie weights out  and con­tinue bak­ing for another 5–10 min­utes, or until the crust is an even, light golden brown. I also use a pie shield to pro­tect the edges from over-browning. I remove it for the last 5–10 minutes.

To avoid pie crust shrink­age dur­ing bak­ing, let the crust rest for 10 min­utes before you fit it into the pie pan. Then set pan with crust into the refrig­er­a­tor for 20 min­utes. This gives the gluten a chance to relax. Then place the pan into the freezer for 5–10 min­utes, and bake as directed above.

Let crust cool com­pletely before filling.

pie crust tutorial

 

Enjoy your beau­ti­ful, no so hard after all pie crust!

pie crust tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Great tips, lovely pho­tos. A per­fect pie crust is such a treat, yet frus­trat­ingly enig­matic at times.

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