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Old 12-05-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
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The Chief's Pie Crust Technique

Contrary to popular belief, pie crusts aren't finicky, or difficult, if you keep a few things in mind.
1. Wheat flour contains gluten, which is developed when water is added, and the dough is worked.
2. Flakiness is a function of little balls of flour and fat, squished into little platelets.
3. Just enough water is used to cause the starch in the flour to enable the platelets to adhere to one another.
4. Solid fat is required to form the individual platelets, or flour balls.
5. If the room temperature rises much above 75' F., the fat starts to melt, and the balls will start to homogenize together.

Ok, here's the recipe and technique. For a single, two crust pie, or two single crust pies, add 3 cups of flour to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and mix together. Add just under 1 lb. of lard, or shortening to the bowl and cut it into the flour to make a granular substance that looks much like pea-gravel. If there is too little fat, there will be loos flour that won't form into little gravely bits. To much fat and you will have clumps of fatty dough. Adjust accordingly.

When you have the correct texture, sprinkle 1/3 cup of ice water over the dough. Fold it gently together just until it forms into a sticky ball. Divide the ball in half.

Generously sprinkle four onto your working surface. Form one of the dough halves into a loose ball and slightly flatten between your hands. Place it onto the floured surface. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough-disc. Roll from the center outward in all directions to make a circle that is three inches larger than the rim of your pie pan. Invert and place yoru pie pan onto the rolled out dough. Trim the sides to make a smooth and uniform circle 2 1/2 inches larger than the pan rim. A smooth edge on the circle will prevent the dough from tearing when you fold and lift it into the pie pan.

Gently slide a thin spatula under the crust, all around, to make sure it isn't sticking to the work surface. Fold the crust in half, then in half again to form a triangle. Lift the crust and place the triangle point into the center of the pan. Unfold it so that it fills the pan evenly. Press it to the bottom and sides of the pan. Fold the edges down to slide between the crust and pie pan, leaving enough for fluting above the pan rim (about a half inch). Flute and set aside. Roll out the 2nd just as you did the first crust. Put the filling into the bottom crust. Fold and lift the top crust on top of the pie. Push the crust edges between teh bottom crust and the pan sides. Flute the edges. Cut in vent holes. Brush with milk or egg wash. Bake at 360' for 45 minutes.

Enjoy.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North

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Old 12-05-2013, 11:42 AM   #2
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That's close to what I do. I have to work on developing more gluten in my pie crusts. They tend to break (not from the edges) when I put them in/on the pan. I use wholewheat pastry flour. I asked lots of people their method to find a way to make not-tough pie crusts. Now my crusts are tender and tasty, but too tender.

I think it's time to switch to a flour with more gluten. I'm going to do some experimenting.
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
That's close to what I do. I have to work on developing more gluten in my pie crusts. They tend to break (not from the edges) when I put them in/on the pan. I use wholewheat pastry flour. I asked lots of people their method to find a way to make not-tough pie crusts. Now my crusts are tender and tasty, but too tender.

I think it's time to switch to a flour with more gluten. I'm going to do some experimenting.
Try adding a bit of cornstarch to your flour mix, as it is the starch that works with the water to bind the granules together.

And, I made a typo in my technique description. Unfortunately, it's too late to edit it. Where it says, "Generously sprinkle with four..." I should have said - Generously sprinkle with flour.

Sorry 'bout that.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
Try adding a bit of cornstarch to your flour mix, as it is the starch that works with the water to bind the granules together.

And, I made a typo in my technique description. Unfortunately, it's too late to edit it. Where it says, "Generously sprinkle with four..." I should have said - Generously sprinkle with flour.

Sorry 'bout that.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
You know the rule. Typos don't count. We knew what you meant. Thanks.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting your method Chief. That's pretty close to how I do it too. When I have time and my fingers decide to cooperate I do what my Nana (great-aunt) would do: once you cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter or two forks (her method) you then use your fingers, sifting the flour and shortening through until it is as fine as beach sand. That is also the hint that a member of our Mothers of Twins club shared with us one night. It was the way her family bakery had done it - she was 3rd generation working there.

My only real difference from your method (since I rarely take the time to mix the flour and shortening till it's like sand) is that I add the ice water in 1-2 Tbsp doses, tossing lightly with a fork each time. I generally use 1-2 Tbsp less than a recipe calls for. Seems like less water=more tender and flaky.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=... Seems like less water=more tender and flaky.[/QUOTE]

Absorutrey, shaggy. The water is only required to make the granules stick lightly together, no more. Too litle, and you can't transfer the crust to the pie pan, too much and you have tough crust, or at best, a tender, non-flaky crust like that of a store-bought pot pie.

In any case, there is no store-bought crust that can match a hand-made crust.

Tip: For meat pies, I often flavor the crust with meat broth as the liquid used in the crust. For sweet pies, I have been known to add a little sugar and cinnamon, depending on the filling. The crust was every bit as tender and flaky, but tailored to the filling.

I have to say, that though I'm not crazy about the skimpy fillings in Pop-Tart brand pastries, or the texture of the pastry, I do like the flavor. I'd like to figure out how to duplicate the pastry flavor. It probably comes from some kind of preservative that I wouldn't put in my own pastries.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:26 PM   #7
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Smitten Kitchen has a posting for homemade pop tarts that has interested me, but most days I'm more lazy than interested.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:53 PM   #8
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Great instructions on dough assembly!

Instead of folding up the rolled out crust in quarters to move to the pie plate, try just rolling it up over your rolling pin and then rolling it back out across the pie plate - dirt easy and no chance of stretching it.

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crust, fat, flour, pie, recipe, salt, technique

The Chief's Pie Crust Technique Contrary to popular belief, pie crusts aren't finicky, or difficult, if you keep a few things in mind. 1. Wheat flour contains gluten, which is developed when water is added, and the dough is worked. 2. Flakiness is a function of little balls of flour and fat, squished into little platelets. 3. Just enough water is used to cause the starch in the flour to enable the platelets to adhere to one another. 4. Solid fat is required to form the individual platelets, or flour balls. 5. If the room temperature rises much above 75' F., the fat starts to melt, and the balls will start to homogenize together. Ok, here's the recipe and technique. For a single, two crust pie, or two single crust pies, add 3 cups of flour to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and mix together. Add just under 1 lb. of lard, or shortening to the bowl and cut it into the flour to make a granular substance that looks much like pea-gravel. If there is too little fat, there will be loos flour that won't form into little gravely bits. To much fat and you will have clumps of fatty dough. Adjust accordingly. When you have the correct texture, sprinkle 1/3 cup of ice water over the dough. Fold it gently together just until it forms into a sticky ball. Divide the ball in half. Generously sprinkle four onto your working surface. Form one of the dough halves into a loose ball and slightly flatten between your hands. Place it onto the floured surface. Sprinkle flour on top of the dough-disc. Roll from the center outward in all directions to make a circle that is three inches larger than the rim of your pie pan. Invert and place yoru pie pan onto the rolled out dough. Trim the sides to make a smooth and uniform circle 2 1/2 inches larger than the pan rim. A smooth edge on the circle will prevent the dough from tearing when you fold and lift it into the pie pan. Gently slide a thin spatula under the crust, all around, to make sure it isn't sticking to the work surface. Fold the crust in half, then in half again to form a triangle. Lift the crust and place the triangle point into the center of the pan. Unfold it so that it fills the pan evenly. Press it to the bottom and sides of the pan. Fold the edges down to slide between the crust and pie pan, leaving enough for fluting above the pan rim (about a half inch). Flute and set aside. Roll out the 2nd just as you did the first crust. Put the filling into the bottom crust. Fold and lift the top crust on top of the pie. Push the crust edges between teh bottom crust and the pan sides. Flute the edges. Cut in vent holes. Brush with milk or egg wash. Bake at 360' for 45 minutes. Enjoy. Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North 3 stars 1 reviews
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