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Old 11-14-2008, 06:08 PM   #1
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Pie Crust Challenge

I have read many, many times that all ingredients need to be chilled, even placed in the freezer to insure a perfect pie crust. I used to do that with every crust. I have found through experimentation that it just isn't necessary. The only cold item I use is ice water. Everything else is room temperature. The only way I have ruined my crusts is to overwork them after the water was added, thereby developing the gluten in the dough. Then, you get a tough crust.

My challenge is this; Make two identical crusts, one with all ingredients chilled, and one with only the water chilled. Use the same technique and recipe with both. See if it makes a noticeable difference.

What is my reason for this challenge? I believe in finding out what works and what is just something perpetuated by tradition. If I get valuable, and accurate ideas from someone handing it down to me, then by all means, hang on to it. But, if it creates extra, and often times, unnecessary work, then change it to something better.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

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Old 11-14-2008, 06:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North View Post
If I get valuable, and accurate ideas from someone handing it down to me, then by all means, hang on to it. But, if it creates extra, and often times, unnecessary work, then change it to something better.
If I have time to play around I will do the chill thing, but otherwise I work with cold butter and cold water and do it expeditiously As you said, the real key is to not overwork the dough, so I use a pastry cutter to blend. I really can't tell the difference because both of them come out flaky, and they are gone so fast it doesn't matter.

If I were putting one of my pies in a competition, by all means I would go the full chill route to maximize my chances of a flakier crust. But if you're baking for family...
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:56 AM   #3
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Even though some say not good for you, I think lard is a good fat for crusts.
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:46 AM   #4
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I use equal parts lard and butter.

Butter is chilled in the fridge, the lard is cubed and put in the freezer. the water is put in the freezer just till it starts forming ice.
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:53 AM   #5
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Even though some say not good for you, I think lard is a good fat for crusts.
I think lard makes a better crust than shortening.

Far as 'good for you', I think the official health aspects of foods changes with the direction of the wind.

I've just adopted the general belief that the closer a food is to natural the less unhealthy it is.
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Even though some say not good for you, I think lard is a good fat for crusts.
I use lard.
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:37 AM   #7
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I think lard is better for someone than shortening.
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:58 PM   #8
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I have already done this. I made pie in Florida. When it is warm, the pie dough tends to break when it is lifted and sticks more to the rolling surface. That occurred even with chilled butter and water. The cooler the ingredients, the firmer the dough and the easier it is to roll it without sticking and lift it to place in the pan. Also when it is so warn, if the fat melts before the baking, you will not get a flaky crust.
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Old 11-16-2008, 12:24 AM   #9
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Being extremely lazy I do my crusts in the food processor and since that generates heat it's a "good thing" to have my ingredients very very cold.

But I did a crust for a chicken pot pie recently that called for unsalted butter browned just a bit and it was absolutely without compare! Gonna do that again even though it requires several extra steps - browning the butter, then cooling and scraping it out of the (I used an 8 X 8) pan. The flavor justified the extra steps.
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Old 11-16-2008, 02:10 PM   #10
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I've been thinking, I usually go on pie jags with fruit(s) in season meaning I make most of my pies in summer/ early fall when it's warm. Been thinking of a granite 'board' for roll out, haven't found one I like, guess I'll have to go to a counter top place and have them cut me out a piece.

Since lard melts on touch it only makes sense to have it Cold. Deep chilled Armor Lard cuts about like Crisco.

OTOH butter seems to cut in better if it's a touch warmer than refrigerator temps, but that may have something to do with my using 'non-designer' (read inexpensive) butters.
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