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Old 11-06-2004, 06:12 AM   #1
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Making Pie Crust

I'm not a very good baker, but keep trying. My husband loves pies and I would like to get the hang of it once and for all.

I just bought a food processor and am wondering if I can use that to mix the pie crust dough for any recipe. Most of them say to "cut in whatever fat with a pastry blender or two knives".

I'd appreciate any help.

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Old 11-06-2004, 07:44 AM   #2
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Hi, lyndalou! Here's my crust that comes out perfectly each time. Its origin is from Martha Stewart and I have used this successfully for years now.


PERFECT, FLAKY PIE CRUST
Makes two 8- to 10-inch crusts


1 cup unsalted butter (about 2 sticks), plus more for pie plate
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

First and foremost, EVERYTHING must be COLD! The bowls, the butter, the flour, the utensils! I gather up everything beforehand and set them in the fridge for at least an hour…

You can use a food processor: place the flour, salt and sugar into the processor and pulse a few times to combine, then pulse in the butter, a few pieces at a time, for 8 to 10 seconds. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water through the feed tube with the machine running, but just tiny amounts of water at a time.

I really prefer to make mine by hand so that I still have small lumps of butter in the crust. It just seems to work better for me.

That method is:

Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces, and refrigerate until needed. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and mix to combine.

Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture; the mixture should resemble coarse meal with small pieces of butter, the size of small peas, remaining visible.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water over the flour-butter mixture, and blend. Repeat with an additional 2 tablespoons water. At this point, you may have to add more water: When a handful of dough squeezed together just holds its shape, you’ve added enough; if the dough crumbles, continue incorporating water, 1 tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency after each additional tablespoon.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Divide into two equal pieces, and place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two disks. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Place the chilled dough in the center of the work surface, and dust the dough as well as the rolling pin with flour. Position the rolling pin on the center of the disk, and begin rolling the dough away from you. Give the disk a quarter turn, and roll again. Continue turning and rolling until you have an even 1/8-inch thickness. Turning the dough as you roll will prevent it from sticking to the work surface. A dry pastry brush is handy to remove any excess flour during and after the rolling process.

Lightly butter the pie plate. To minimize stretching when moving the dough, roll it around the pin, lift up, and unroll over the buttered pie plate. Using your fingers, gently pat the dough into place. Trim any excess dough with a paring knife or kitchen shears, leaving a 1-inch overhang; then fold dough under to reinforce the edge.
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Old 11-06-2004, 08:09 AM   #3
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Hi Lyndaloo. I've no answer to your question but I'd be quite concerned about overworking the pastry dough with a food processor. Here I'm posting some great tips on perfect pie crusts. Hope it helps!

Perfect Piecrust Primer

by Sarah Phillips, author of The Healthy Oven Baking Book

If you have problems with sticky or cracked dough, it may in part be because of a few things happening while mixing the ingredients and during rolling. Here are few tips that will give you perfect piecrusts every time.

Think Cold: Keep everything connected with pie dough well chilled. Dough becomes sticky when it is too warm. The tendency is to throw more flour on the countertop or to add more flour to the dough, which always results in a tough crust and problems with rolling it out.

The Ingredients: Shortening (called butter here), a key ingredient, acts as a spacer between the gluten strands in the flour and will produce a flaky crust only if it has not melted before you put it in a hot oven.

1. For very flaky pastry, chill the fat 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer before mixing. Make sure the water you use is ice-cold; some people even freeze the flour for 15 to 20 minutes as well. Cut your well-chilled butter into small pieces and quickly distribute it through the flour and dry ingredients. Use a fork to toss the flour mixture while adding the MINIMUM of cold water. Work quickly or the shortening will become soft and sticky, which will result in a flavorless tough crust.

2. After mixing and before forming into a disk shape, the perfect piecrust dough pieces should look crumbly and dry -- you may not have added all of the water; it's okay. A good test to see whether your dough is ready to be formed into a disk is to pinch a few pieces together and see if they stick together without dry cracks.

If your dough is too sticky, because the fat has warmed too much, place it back in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, and then resume. If it is still sticky, add more flour a little bit at a time and work it quickly into the dough pieces. Do the pinch test. Form a disc shape as a last step.

If your dough is too dry, the pieces will not stick together and it will crack during rolling. Sprinkle drops of cold ice water on the dry, shaggy crust ingredients and mix quickly again. Redo the test. Then form a disc (not a ball). Wrap the dough in waxed paper; plastic wrap makes the outside of the dough sticky.

Remember, a perfect piecrust dough looks crumbly, and the pieces stick together when pressed between your fingertips. If the dough is too dry and formed into a ball or disk too early, it will crack during rolling. If you have added too much water or it has not chilled sufficiently, it will be sticky when you are trying to roll it out.

3. When preparing the dough before rolling, make sure it has properly chilled in the coldest part of the refrigerator (the center of a shelf) for 1 to 24 hours, or else the dough will become sticky when you roll it out. Remove the dough for 10-20 minutes before rolling; do not let it get too warm. When the dough is too cold, it will crack and break up during rolling. Let it rest a few minutes to warm up, patch it and resume rolling.

Rolling: Flatten the well-chilled disk by beating it with a rolling pin on a lightly floured board. Always roll from the center out away from you to the opposite edge. Stop the rolling pin as it nears the edges. Roll again towards the center. Move the dough away from you, and sparingly dust the spot with flour. Turn the dough about 30 degrees and roll again. Repeat until you get the right size and thickness. Or roll the flattened disk between two pieces of waxed paper.
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Old 11-06-2004, 01:11 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you. I am going to try this week. Cross your fingers; I'll let you know how I do. :D
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Old 11-06-2004, 03:37 PM   #5
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A food processor is the best tool on the planet for making pie crusts. Not only are you cutting the fat into the flour, you're cutting the water in as well, resulting in the barest minimum of gluten formation (the enemy of tender crusts).

It can be a little tricky to do it right, though, as the processor can easily overprocess your butter into too small chunks and compromise flakiness.

I have six tips:

1. Practice using the 'pulse' feature on your processor. The better you can pulse the ingredients (tossing them in air with just a pass or two of the blade), the more uniform your final pieces of butter will be.

2. Get your hands on the cookbook that comes with a cuisinart (check the website). That will give you an excellent base recipe for an all butter crust.

3. Freeze your butter. A processor has a much harder time pulverizing chunks of frozen butter. Use frozen butter cut into chunks (with a sharp knife, cut tablespoon and a half size pieces and then cut those in half). Cutting the butter into pieces beforehand helps to get nice pea size chunks with just a few pulses of the food processor.

4. Cut your butter into your flour in stages. I recommend two stages, but three might also work. The goal when cutting fat into flour is twofold.

a. coating all the particles of flour with some fat
b. leaving small pea size chunks of fat to create flakiness

With this in mind, you will want to add half the butter first and process it until there are no visible chunks. Then add the second half and pulse that one, maybe two times.

Add the water while the last stage of pieces are still very large. During the time it takes for the water to incorporate, the large butter pieces will break down futher. Dribble just enough ice water for the dough to come together and no more.

5. As previously mentioned, add a little sugar to your crusts, unless you're making something savory like chicken pot pie. The sugar helps to prevent gluten formation.

6. Use pastry flour. It's hard to track down, but unbleached (not whole wheat) pastry flour will give you the tenderest crust imaginable. When used with proper food processor technique, the crust is almost too tender/fragile.
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Old 11-07-2004, 05:35 AM   #6
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Thank you , Scott. I hope I can find the flour. I have a day to myself (Happy Happy) this week, and will try both methods.
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