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Old 09-13-2004, 04:22 PM   #11
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Oh yeah, and I do want that all-lard recipe. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2004, 05:33 PM   #12
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Well, I threw out another crust. I used about 45 ML of water, did my best to drizzle it as slowly as possible, and mix it as thoroughly as possible with the fork. I tried to smear it together as you suggested, but it just isn't coherent enough. It comes together into a single disc and looks fine, until you move it, and then it crumbles to pieces. No way in hell you could ever roll that. It would just break apart. I am almost ready to give up. This is just impossible. I have no idea how this is ever supposed to work :( Does anyone have any ideas? I am gonna put some more ingredients away and try again.
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Old 09-13-2004, 05:41 PM   #13
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Jason - what kind of flour are you using? How old is it? (Don't be offended - serious question, I promise) Do you live in a dry climate?
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Old 09-13-2004, 05:49 PM   #14
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It is Bob's Red Mill organic unbleached flour. (approx 11.7% gluten) purchased no more than two or three months ago. As for the climate, I am in Toronto, in a relatively warm, (and I suspect) humid apartment.
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Old 09-13-2004, 06:49 PM   #15
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Just for S&G's, why don't you try with another brand of flour? And could you post your exact recipe?
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Old 09-13-2004, 06:54 PM   #16
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First of all you must never use a mixer when making pie crust. Second, the weather plays a big part just as in candy. The water-and it must be ice-cold-is not an exact measurement, as flour tends to "grab" more water on a dry day as opposed to a humid day. It is a tricky proposition that's only made perfect by practice. When I first started my attempts with pastry I used what is called the hot water method. It was fool-proof and the results were wonderful. As I became more emboldened I attempted a regular pie crust recipe, and I found that I could do a good job. It has to "feel" right. and again that comes with practice. Just remember that you only need enough water to get the dough to form a ball-not too dry and not too moist.
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Old 09-13-2004, 07:08 PM   #17
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I made a new crust about half an hour ago. I am more optimistic about the results this time. I changed two things this time. Firstly, I used a pastry blender to mix in the fats, instead of cutting them in advance. Second, and most importantly, I poured my ice water in relatively quickly, one tablespoon at a time, rather than drizzling it slowly. This, for some reason, made the dough stick together with less water. I used only about 50 ML, which was only 10 ML more than the recipe called for. I was very careful; the dough is about as dry as it can be, while still being coherent. I will let you know how the crust turns out.

By the way, here is the recipe, taken from Bo Friberg's "The Professional Pastry Chef". I have, of course, cut the recipe to 1/4. Also, I have incorporated the suggestions from this thread. I keep my flour mixture in the freezer, I use my pastry blender instead of my hands, and I flatten the dough into a disc using two pieces of baking paper, rather than my hands. Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers; this is the third attempt today :(

1 Pound 9 Ounces (710g) bread flour
2 teaspoons (10g) salt
1 pound (455g) cold unsalted butter
5 ounces (140g) lard
2/3 cup (160ml) ice water

1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the firm butter and lard to the flour and pinch the fat to the size of hazelnuts with your fingertips.
2. Add the ice water and mix with your hands just until the dough comes together; the butter should still be lumpy. Gather the dough into a ball. Flatten the disc to help it it chill faster.
3. Cover the pie dough and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 to 2 hours before using.
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Old 09-13-2004, 07:26 PM   #18
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Jason, my pie crust recipe is virtually foolproof and as easy as...well, pie. I do agree though that the food processor is invaluable, and does a far superior job at working the lard and flour together. Having said that, I use my pastry blender at least as often and still acheive spectacular results. My lard is, I believe, a Canadian product and not available in the US, but I include the brand name just in case you want it.

For one double pie crust:

2/3 cup Tenderflake lard (or 1/3 pkg)
2 cups flour
4 or 5 tbsps cold water

Hope this works for you. Oh, and one more thing, I dust the crap out of my marble rolling pin and it is just fine. Let me know if you try it and like it.
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Old 09-13-2004, 07:40 PM   #19
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Yeah, we have tenderflake. Currently, I am using a home-made lard I got from a deli. It's pretty strong stuff, much moreso than the commercial brands that I get in the supermarket.
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Old 09-13-2004, 08:05 PM   #20
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Bloody hell. Rolling out the pie dough was impossible. It got ripped to shreds by the rolling pin, and I had to put together with my hands. The heat from my hands probably melted the fat. AAARGH! Pie dough is IMPOSSIBLE! How does anyone make decent pie crust?! I think unless I take a class or something, it will always remain beyond my ability. Obviously there is something very crucial that I am missing, that isn't mentioned in any cookbook. I appreciate all your advice, but nothing seems to help.
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