Author Topic: Share your pie crust techniques  (Read 801 times)

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mime

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Share your pie crust techniques
« on: April 14, 2014, 07:52:24 PM »
I noticed on a few boards in the last year that several people make good pies. I also pride myself on my pies, mostly because of the crust (my fillings are very simple fruit with no sugar-- I like not-too sweet).

I was chatting with two guys at work who also believe they make the. best. pies. We all passionately disagreed on the approach, though.

One guy insists on a particular brand of lard. The other guy swears by his food processor. I say they're both wrong.   ;)

I'd love to hear your techniques and ingredients for great pies, ESPECIALLY the crust. Here's mine:

I use salted butter, and *barely* combine the ingredients by hand. The butter and my hands are both as cold as I can stand. I cut the butter into cubes (I get about 32 cubes per stick) and toss the cubes in flour. Then I pick up each cube and "pinch" or "smear" it into 2 pieces, re-coat with flour, then pinch each of those pieces into another 2 pieces. The process of pinching them makes them kind of like little leaves of butter that are coated with flour. I then pick up the pile of leaves and press them into the pie plate for the bottom-crust or onto parchment paper for the top-crust (using maybe a spritz of water if I need it to make things stick). I always pre-bake the bottom crust since my fruit fillings get so wet.

As for the fillings: I'm still figuring that part out. I like to use Granny Smith apples, no sugar, mounded as high as I possibly can.

I want to try: King Arthur's flour. I've heard it is great for pie crust (I think I read something about it having a higher protein content than most US flours, making it good for baking, maybe?)

Will you share your techniques?

POF

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 08:30:21 PM »
I guess that opening the Pillsbury pie crust box and plopping it into a pie plate is not exactly what you mean  >:D  Cause that's my technique

CakeBeret

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 08:55:24 PM »
I use salted butter (force of habit, it's what I always use), cut it into cubes and put in the refrigerator. I measure flour into my food processor and put in the freezer. Once they are both fully chilled, I process briefly until the butter is roughly the right size or a little larger, and put back in the freezer. Once the butter is frozen, I stir in sour cream and water until I hit the right consistency, wrap in plastic wrap, and back into the freezer. Once chilled, I pull out and cut in half. I roll out one half while the other half stays in the freezer. Once it's all rolled, it goes into pie plates and back in the freezer until I'm ready to bake it.
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Library Dragon

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2014, 09:04:45 PM »
I use half lard and half butter. 

Letting the crust rest is as important as the ingredients.

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Bobbie

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2014, 09:20:53 PM »
My husband's recipe has buttermilk in it.

NyaChan

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 12:45:52 AM »
Obviously have to warn people, but I grind up almonds and add that into the crust sometimes.  Adds a nice flavor to it.

LovesWater

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014, 01:01:39 AM »
I use salted butter and a particular type of utensil - a pastry creamer - not the wire kind.  When it's ready (hard to describe) I add water and continue mixing with my hands.  Then I roll out.

I use half lard and half butter. 

Letting the crust rest is as important as the ingredients.

How long does it need to rest? At what stage? In the refrigerator or out? TIA.

Library Dragon

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2014, 01:46:55 AM »
After mixing I place the dough in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest 30-60 minutes in the fridge. My house tends to be warm so the refrigerator is the only place cool enough.

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veryfluffy

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 04:31:21 AM »
All butter. I use unsalted, but put in a dash of salt.
I use the food processor to make the dough. I am not obsessessive about the icy-coldness of either the butter or the water. Butter straight from the fridge, cube it and drop it in. Cold water from the tap.
Then I divide the dough into two ovals, wrap each in clingfilm and refrigerate for anywhere between an hour and a day before rolling it out.
   

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2014, 09:04:19 AM »
I use Tenderflake lard and only Tenderflake lard.

2 cups flour
1 cup lard
1/2 cup ice water
1 t(b)sp baking powder (I forget which)
pinch of salt

My mother always made hers in the food processor.  I never made it with her when she was alive.  The first time I tried, I couldn't get the pastry to stay together.  So I switched to using the Kitchenaid mixer and it was better.

Now, I blend the lard and the dry ingredients in the KA bowl with a pastry blender.  I use the paddle attachment and add just enough water for it to glom together on the paddle.  Usually, it is no more than a tbsp or two or water.  The pastry is then frozen in balls.  When I'm ready to roll it, I take it out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter.  It usually rolls great at that point.

I always get compliments on my pastry so it must not be all bad.

I sometimes get it too tender, as my Mom would call it, but I never get it too tough.  Mom took the same recipe and helped a friend make pastry.  But when friend tried it on her own?  Tough.
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Ontario

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 10:24:49 AM »
I use half lard and half butter. 

Letting the crust rest is as important as the ingredients.

I do several different pie crusts depending on the type of pie.
-Flaky is lard, butter, water
-Shortbread is butter and an egg, sometimes adding nuts
-A sweet no roll crust that uses oil

But I agree that in all cases adding the least amount of water is the most important and then letting it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the dry ingredients really absorb the liquid is key to any good pie crust.

Lynnv

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2014, 10:46:45 AM »
I do NOT claim the best pie crusts ever.  I have made some of the worst, though.  I use the America's Test Kitchen vodka recipe except I make it with all butter.  I can finally make a decent pie crust.  I use the food processor for mine and rest it in the fridge between the steps.

I am happy that I can now make an edible pie crust.  I will try lard sometime to see if I like it better than butter.
Lynn

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sweetonsno

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2014, 02:52:52 PM »
Shortening: Crisco
Method for combining fat and dry ingredients: Pastry cutter, until it looks like oatmeal
Method for mixing in ice water (or cold cream, depending on my mood): Fork first, then hands; minimal handling
Method for resting: In a flattened ball, wrapped in waxed paper, in the fridge, for about thirty minutes.

My favorite recipe is from Sweety Pies by Patty Pinner.

XRogue

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2014, 10:10:49 PM »
I use the Mennonite Never-Fail recipe, with egg and vinegar, and I freeze it before using (the recipe makes 4 single, 2 double so very suited to make ahead), then thaw it in the fridge.

daen

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Re: Share your pie crust techniques
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2014, 08:55:28 AM »
I use the Mennonite Never-Fail recipe, with egg and vinegar, and I freeze it before using (the recipe makes 4 single, 2 double so very suited to make ahead), then thaw it in the fridge.

On that note: do not try to speed things up by thawing in the microwave (although thawing on the counter, in not-too-warm conditions, seems to be okay, both crust-wise and health-wise). I killed so much pie dough with the microwave...

I think I might use that same recipe. I got it from my mother, and I have no idea of the attribution, but the egg and vinegar rings a bell. Does it use a full pound of lard/shortening?