Perfect Pie Crust
This technique will give you two 9-inch single pie crusts, or 1 9-inch top and bottom crust. Before I give you the recipe, you have to understand that pie crust is a function of the correct amounts of flour, fat, salt, and water. Please don't be disturbed by the lack of exact measurements as the technique will give you the correct amounts.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Lard or Shortening
Preheat the oven to 425' F.
Place the flour and salt into a large bowl and whisk together. Using a pastry cutter, cut in a couple heaping tbs. of fat. Look at the flour/fat mixture. It won't hold together and is very powdery. Add another couple tablespoons of fat and cut in. Continue this process until you develop a flour/fat mixture that resembles little pebbles after thoroughly cutting the flour/fat mixture together. This works because you won't develop the gluten until water is added to the mixture.
Now, add about a third cup of water and stir just enough to see if it all sticks together nicely. If not, add another couple tbs. of ice water, again mixing just until the water is absorbed. I can't stress enough that you need to mix as little as possible, only until the water is incorporated into the dough. Everything should be slightly sticky.
Liberally dust a work surface with flour. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Make a thick, round disk with one half of the flour and place on the floured surface. Dust the dough with flour and work it with a rolling pin from the center outward in all directions to form a thin circle that is about 2 to 3 inches larger than your pie plate when it is placed upside down onto the dough. Cut around the dough with a sharp knife to form a clean circle that is 2 inches larger than the pie plate. Use a thin cake turner to gently loosen the dough from the work surface. Fold the dough in half, and then in half again to form a triangle. place the dough into the pie plate with the pointy part of the triangle in the center. Unfold and press into the pie plate. Flute the edges if making a one crust pie, and put in the filling. Place in the hot oven for fifteen minutes, turn down the heat to 350, and bake for another 45 minutes. Test the filling with a toothpick to see if the filling is set.
If making a two crusted pie, then set the first pie crust, in the pie plate, aside and make the second crust the same way as the first was made. Place the filling into the bottom crust, and top with the folded top crust. Press the edges into the pie pan, between the bottm crust sides and the pie pan sides. Flute the edges. Cut small vent holes into the top crust and bake for 15 minutes in the hot oven, again turning the oven down after 15 minutes to 350. Bake for an additional 45 minutes.
To make your top crust prettier, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
This crust, because there is a little more water used in it, is not as flaky as some other crusts. But it is suprememly tender and light. I used this pie crust technique two nights ago with two "from scratch" pumpkin pies (and yes I made the filling from fresh pumpkins). Those pies were devoured by my wife and son. They both stated that the crust was the best they had eaten anywhere. And my son is a proffesional cook. I ate one small piece and had to agree that this was the best pie crust I have ever made, and I've made my share of pie crusts.
Perfect pie crust is not a recipe. It is a achieved by knowing the proper consistency of the raw dough. you can tell by looking at it, and feeling it when you have the right amount of fat. The same is true with the water. When you develop that feel, it opens a whole new chapter of cooking for you.
The advantage of this pie over the more flaky pies I've made in the past is that it is much easier to handle, and every bit, if not more tender and light. my past pie crusts were very flaky and tender as there was less water in them. But I had trouble with them breaking when I folded and unfolded them into the pie pan. This method elliminates the breakage. My crust is more uniform now.
I hope you can make sense of this as the crust really was good. I hope you can duplicate it.
Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
Oh, and for you proper writers out there, please forgive the sentences with multiple prepositional phrases. I know some of the sentences are wordy, and too long. Sorry 'bout that.
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