(Oooh, look how flaky!)
I successfully made pie crust on my first attempt.
Okay, maybe it was about 95% successful. The other 5% was burnt to a char. But I guess that’s what happens when you decide to go out for a run while you have a pie in the oven. Lesson learned.
There were other things I messed up too. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t roll out the dough to an even thickness. And I didn’t even roll it out the dough big enough for the pie dish, thus leaving my bottom crust a patchwork of dough pieces smushed together. Oh, and also, I didn’t get the pie edges look even remotely nice despite my efforts. So given all those eff ups the fact that my pie crust was 95% successful on the first try amazes me. Truly. I may be cut out to be a pie baker after all.
The pie crust ended up being unbelievably flaky. Not just the top crust, but also the bottom crust as well.
Really, that’s the only thing that matters when it comes to pie crust, isn’t it? Is it flaky? Yes? Perfect. Done.
Matt asked me why people don’t make cool desserts like pie anymore. I’m sure my homely little pie was thinking, “Cool? Me? Really?” because pie is definitely not a cool dessert.
Whoopie Pies are cool.
Brownies are cool.
Desserts made with candied bacon are cool.
Pie? Pie is about as cool as your great grandmother’s knit cardigan.
But I guess geriatric knitwear is experiencing a revival among the hipster subculture so maybe the same is in the cards for the lowly pie. Maybe Matt is really onto something here.
How to Make a Perfect Pie Crust
makes enough for one 9” double crust pie
you can half the recipe for a single crust
Recipe from Melissa Clark (and probably a million other cooks, because it’s pie crust and all pie crust recipes are basically the same)
2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1-1/4 c. cold salted butter cut into 1/2” pieces
8 – 10 Tbsp. ice water
Pulse the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor 4 or 5 times until you get large quarter-sized crumbles. (Forget the pea-sized business. You want big chunks here)
Add the water tablespoon at a time, pulsing once between additions until the dough just starts to come together. It will still be pretty crumbly but you should be able to form it into a ball with your hands.
Divide the mixture in half and form each half into a ball. Wrap them in plastic wrap individually and, once wrapped, flatten them into a disc. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before using.
You can bake according to your standard pie recipe or you can use these tricks for a crispy bottomed crust.
The Trick to a Crispy Bottom Crust
1. Bake the Bottom Crust First
Once you’ve rolled our your chilled dough, transferred it to the pie dish, and crimped the edges (or in my case, patchworked the dough together to make a crust that looks somewhat suitable for human consumption) then you can prebake the bottom crust.
Line the crust with aluminum foil and top with pie weights or a heavy casserole dish that fits inside the pie plate.
Bake the crust at 375F for 25 minutes then remove the weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes.
Don’t worry about prebaking the bottom crust, the top crust will stick to the bottom crust just fine.
2. Line the Bottom Crust with Tea Cookies
I stole this technique from my Nonna who makes some killer apple pies. Take neutral tasting cookies like arrowroot cookies, tia maria cookies, vanilla wafers, or social tea cookies (I like arrowroot cookies myself).
Line the baked bottom crust of the pie with the cookies so that it is covered in one layer of cookies.
Pour the pie filling on top of the cookie layer and arrange another layer of pie dough on top of the filling in the usual way.
The cookie layer absorbs the juices from the pie filling preventing your crust from getting soggy! (My favourite part of this technique is that you end up with a thin layer of pie-filling-soaked cookie just above the bottom crust which tastes soooo good.
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