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Published in: on December 9, 2007 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pie Crust

Ok, if you don’t have a decent pie crust recipe to use with your kick-ass pumpkin pie, or if you just like to play around with new stuff, here’s an easy one that I really like (even though my pie crusts almost never turn out). My brother is a baker by trade and he likes this one so much he started using it at work instead of the one they were using. I found it in my local newspaper and it’s a modification of a tart shell recipe by Thomas Keller from his book “Bouchon”. My brother has the book, but I’m too lazy to go and look up the original recipe to see how this one differs.

Obviously you really can’t make this “to taste” (or can you?) so I’m going to just copy and paste the recipe and add some thoughts afterwards.

Tart Dough/Pie Crust

2 Cups flour, divided, plus more for rolling
1 T sugar
1 t kosher salt
1C (2 sticks) butter chilled, unsalted, cut into pieces

To make dough: place 1 c flour, sugar and salt in food processor. pulse a few times. Add cubed butter. Pulse to combine thoroughly. Add remaining cup of flour. Pulse to combine ad 1/4 c ice water, a little at a time, pulsing between additions, just until dough starts to gather together and pull away from the bowl. (Note- dough should feel smooth, not sticky)

To chill dough: Remove from processor. Make sure there are no visible pieces of butter remaining. pat dough into 7-8 in. disk, wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

To bake shell: place rack in middle of oven. Heat to 375. Line shell w/ parchment paper or foil. fill shell with pie weights or beans, filling completely. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, but bottom is still light in color.

To finish baking shell: Remove paper and weights. Return shell to oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bottom is right golden brown. Remove and cool completely before filling.

If you have a little experience in pie-making, I’d just go ahead and make it the way you normally do. Some people never pre-bake their crusts, others always do. I’m still finding my way. Most of the time, my crusts are kind of soggy no matter what I do, so I’m planning on doing lots of experimenting. Also, I’m thinking the food processor might just be unnecessary. My brother made one easily enough using nothing more than his bare hands to cut the butter into the flour, and it turned out fine- and no food processor to clean up after.

As far as “making to taste”, I almost always add cinnamon, and use brown sugar instead of white. I’ve even been known to add a little shaved, unsweetened chocolate to my crust. Mmmm, tasty!

I don’t know how many pie shells you’ll get out of this recipe – maybe 3, I think – but my brother weighs out the dough to about 6-1/2 oz. per pie and it makes just about the perfect amount for a standard size pie. Just something to try.

***

Addendum to the Pumpkin Pie post-

For whatever reason, fresh pumpkins are just not in season for very long at all. More than once I’ve waited too long and then wasn’t able to get any. I also used to swear off other types of squash. But thanks to a really good butternut squash soup I made at work recently, I decided to give it a go. And it turned out great! So if you can’t get any fresh pumpkin for whatever reason, other types of squash really work well. I used butternut and acorn mixed, and if I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought it was pumpkin. I’m looking forward to next fall’s Farmer’s Market when I can try a bigger variety.

Whatever you go with, I’ve recently found that a little vanilla (real, of course) added to the mix adds a really nice touch to the finished pie. Also, I’ve been cutting back on the dry ingredients a lot- especially the sugar and cinnamon. And the results have been really nice! It kind of brings out more of the pumpkin flavor, the way adding just a little salt or pepper to foods will really bring out the flavor more than none at all. Oh yeah, and if you normally use nutmeg, give mace a try. I really like it. Just remember to go light- it can be pretty strong. If you do use a recipe, I’d start with a little less than whatever it calls for for nutmeg; I think maybe half a teaspoon is standard for one pie.

Published in: on December 4, 2007 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment