PDA

View Full Version : Pie Crusts



Bruce Wrenn
11-30-2017, 9:48 PM
With the holidays upon us, more are baking pies. What kind of crust are you using? I use a pie crust made with shortening, and made in the food processor. When I put flour in canister from bag, I sift it. To make a double crust, I measure two and one quarter cups of flour into bowl of food processor, fitted with metal blade. Add about one tsp of salt, and pulse till mixed. Then I add 2/3 cups of shortening, and pulse till it resembles small peas. Next I add (all at one time) scant 1/3 cup of ice water, and process till it starts to form a ball. Stop food processor, and remove dough. Using hands form into a ball, and divide in half. Form each half into a disk, and place in a quart zip lock bag. Flatten disk with back side of pie plate till it almost touches side seams of bag. Place in fridge for at least four hours, remove from zip lock bag, then roll out on a floured surface. Fold into quarters, and transfer to pie plate and flute edges. Either bake blind, or brush with egg white / water wash and bake for 5 minutes, till egg white is set. The egg white keeps filling from soaking into crust. Add filling, bake and ENJOY! Tips: to make ice water, I use a grease/gravy separator to hold ice and water. Then I can pour ice water into a small measuring cup, without the ice cubes. Instead of floured surface, you can roll out crust between two sheets of wax paper.

Mike Trent
11-30-2017, 10:13 PM
I bet this makes for a tasty crust! If *I* had to make a pie, the crust would be store bought. Baked goods require too much exact measurement and temperature for my impatient mode of operation.

Wife and mother in law take care of the baked stuff, while I attend to the grills, smokers, woks, etc. Works well for us.

Perry Hilbert Jr
12-01-2017, 4:21 AM
My grandmother made it look so easy. She didn't measure anything. She probably did not have to because she made a dozen pies a week for the years she owned a small restaurant. Her crusts were so light and flakey. She said lard made the best crusts, but used shortening because some patrons objected to lard. She did use a wire pastry blender. When she rolled out the dough, it was on a floured piece of heavy canvas type cloth that was laid out on the table. After the dough was rolled out, she would pick up one side of the cloth to fold it in half and place it over the pie dish. her dough was too fragile to just pick up and the heavy cloth helped her transfer the dough to the dish. The edges were crimped by hand with her fingers and some times she let the grand kids help. Apple pie always got a top crust, cherry pie always a lattice top crust and blueberry always had a crumb topping. The little bits of left over dough were mashed together and rolled out flat, spread with butter cinnamon and sprinkled with brown sugar. Then rolled up and cut into inch wide pinwheels and baked on a cookie sheet. She had a Polish name for them, but she was as pure Pennsylvania Dutch as they come. When something didn't go right, she would mutter in Pa Dutch, thinking we grand kids couldn't understand, but one of the commonly used words was "Hinkle drecht" Which as a six year old, I found out from my other grandmother meant chicken sh!*.

She never bought noodles at the store either. She made her own egg noodles by starting with a pile of flour and making a little crater in it for the egg. It was all mixed right there on the table surface and then rolled out and she had a special wheeled device that she ran over the dough that cut uniform width noodles.

roger wiegand
12-01-2017, 8:09 AM
I use a half butter half crisco recipe, unless I feel like I can get away with a really wonderful pie for some occasion, in which case I use lard. I generally don't tell people what it is made with until after they comment on it being the best crust they've ever had.

I cut in with a pastry blender, or as my grandma taught me, with a pair of butter knives. I've tried a food processor, but it is way too easy to over-process. Otherwise my process is very similar.

Chris Damm
12-01-2017, 8:53 AM
Pet Ritz deep dish!

Matt Marsh
12-01-2017, 9:38 AM
Lard is the secret. 2/3 cup cold lard, 2 cups flour, a pinch of salt. Divide the mixture with a pastry blender until pea sized. Sprinkle in cold water until you can barely gather the dough into a ball. Divide in half and roll each half out as thin as you can. Use a long spatula to separate the crust from the rolling surface. Fold into 4ths. Unfold into the pie pan.

Jim Becker
12-01-2017, 9:47 AM
When I make from scratch, I use my mother's method...flour, shortening (Crisco), a pinch of salt and a small amount of VERY cold water. I mix by hand using a fork as she did, but a pastry tool is probably better for that. I've never tried using the food processor for this. And when I'm in a hurry...I just use the pre-rolled Pillsbury pie crust from the supermarket. While it may not be "quite" as good as scratch, it's not bad, either, since it's made with traditional materials, etc.

michael langman
12-01-2017, 11:36 AM
I favor an oil pie crust. Grapeseed oil makes a good light, thin crust. I have to roll it out on floured wax paper.
I like the idea of using the canvas cloth.

Yonak Hawkins
12-01-2017, 5:03 PM
I like the idea of using the canvas cloth.

michael, I fashioned a canvas for our pastry board but I have never used it as I don't know : Should the canvas be washed after each use ? (Can it be washed ?) ..warm water only ? ..in the washing machine after getting most of the flour out of it in the sink ? Is it used mostly or exclusively for pie crusts ?

Arthur Fleming
12-01-2017, 8:00 PM
Iím not really an experienced cook/chef, so Iím having a problem following the differences in the cooking tips. I think you should each send me one of your pies and by eating them I can learn about the differences LOLOLOL. Of course I would review each one. (Spoiler alert, easy A). Itís actually kinda sad, the only edible food I make, comes off the grill. This thread did make me hungry though.

roger wiegand
12-02-2017, 8:22 AM
michael, I fashioned a canvas for our pastry board but I have never used it as I don't know : Should the canvas be washed after each use ? (Can it be washed ?) ..warm water only ? ..in the washing machine after getting most of the flour out of it in the sink ? Is it used mostly or exclusively for pie crusts ?

I don't think my grandmother ever washed hers, I've never washed mine. That's about 100 years worth of no one getting poisoned, so I suspect its safe. Just shake it out and you're good to go. I also roll out crusts between sheets of wax paper or saran wrap, both of which also work fine.

I've recently experienced the first and only commercially made pie I thought was worth eating. If you drive up to Estes Park, CO from Boulder stop at the Colorado Cherry Company at about mile 14. I couldn't believe what a great cherry pie they made!

John K Jordan
12-02-2017, 1:18 PM
When I make from scratch, I use my mother's method...flour, shortening (Crisco), a pinch of salt and a small amount of VERY cold water. I mix by hand using a fork as she did, but a pastry tool is probably better for that. I've never tried using the food processor for this. ...

Well, that sounds like MY mother's recipe! The less the shortening is worked into the flower with the fork (up to a point!), the flakier the crust. She said mix until the "globs" are about the size of peas.

JKJ

Jim Becker
12-02-2017, 2:07 PM
Well, that sounds like MY mother's recipe! The less the shortening is worked into the flour with the fork (up to a point!), the flakier the crust. She said mix until the "globs" are about the size of peas.



I suspect it's a generational thing, John. Our parents, while probably a few years different in age because you and I are a few years difference in age, lived in a time when many homemakers learned how to cook in certain ways. There are geographic differences, of course, but in general, a lot of the techniques and recipes were shared. And for the record, my mother stated exactly the same thing about the "fork work". :)

Nick Decker
12-05-2017, 7:26 AM
Well, that sounds like MY mother's recipe! The less the shortening is worked into the flower with the fork (up to a point!), the flakier the crust. She said mix until the "globs" are about the size of peas.

JKJ

I'm told that the "science" here is that you want the fat globs to be encapsulated by the flour, rather than combined with it. This is what results in flakiness.

I've only ever used a food processor, as opposed to the Neanderfork. Also, I use unsalted butter rather than Crisco. The principles are the same, though: Keep everything cold during assembly, and don't overwork it.

As for the pastry cloth/canvas, I shake it out on the porch then store it in the fridge in a baggie.

It's amazing the number of people who have never even experienced proper pie crust. It's fun to watch their eyes get big when they do.

Roger Feeley
12-05-2017, 9:41 PM
I use my mothers recipe
2 cups ap flour
2/3 cup crisco
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder (rumford)

with a couple of refinements
i use ice water. Just enough so that it forms a single lump. Then I add 1/8cup of grain alcohol to make rolling easier. In a pinch, I use vodka.

i refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before rolling

by the time Iím done rolling, the alcohol has evaporated.

Mike Ontko
12-06-2017, 1:31 PM
I use butter for sweet pies and lard (or vegetable as a less-desireable substitute for meat pies (pot pies and the like). I haven't ever made more than four 9" crusts at a time, so I've never really needed to use a food processor for mixing. So it's been easy to stick with a pastry knife for cutting the fat into the flour. And I agree that keeping the butter/lard/shortening chilled until the final rolling and baking is the key a lighter, layered crust.

Now...who here uses a French style rolling pin (a plain dowel with tapered ends) instead of a baker's rolling pin (a straight roller with an axle and handles)?

Russ Filtz
12-12-2017, 8:08 PM
Due to watching UK cooking shows, I've discovered the wonders of a HOT WATER crust! Couldn't be easier. Melt butter, lard, salt, water, etc., mix hot into flour. Roll out, if you feel like it, otherwise just smash it into the pan. Very forgiving. Crust becomes very sturdy. May not be as flaky, but also doesn't get soggy.

Worked wonders this year with xgiving pumpkin pie, which usually is a soggy mess.

Yonak Hawkins
12-13-2017, 10:31 AM
"xgiving"

..Interesting derivative. I'd never seen that usage before. I understand the "X" in Christmas as it's the Greek Letter Chi but I wonder how it got into Xgiving. I'm always amazed and impressed at how vibrant and malleable the English language is.

Perry Hilbert Jr
12-13-2017, 12:40 PM
re the rolling pin. I have all three kinds. the French dowel style, the cheesy store brand with the axle, and a solid sugar maple rolling pin on which the handles are cut on the ends of the pin. A trick my grandmother taught me was to roll the dough with a glass bottle filled with ice water. Right after our house burned down, we had few kitchen gadgets, I used a full bottle of wine as a rolling pin. worked great. BTW: The wine went well with the meat pie I made. I knew a guy that used an unopened can of beer as a rolling pin. Whatever works.

roger wiegand
12-13-2017, 6:48 PM
I only tried a hot water crust once, recipe from an old Joy of Cooking as I recall, the resulting material would have made a suitable replacement for HardiBoard. Could you share your recipe?

Bruce Wrenn
12-13-2017, 8:49 PM
Due to watching UK cooking shows, I've discovered the wonders of a HOT WATER crust! May not be as flaky, but also doesn't get soggy.

Worked wonders this year with xgiving pumpkin pie, which usually is a soggy mess.To prevent filling from soaking into crust, paint crust with an egg white wash, and then bake for 5 minutes. The egg white wash is a mixture of one egg white and a teaspoon of warm water. Paint it on with a 1" brush from Dollar Tree.

Bruce Wrenn
12-13-2017, 8:52 PM
re the rolling pin. I have all three kinds. the French dowel style, the cheesy store brand with the axle, and a solid sugar maple rolling pin on which the handles are cut on the ends of the pin. A trick my grandmother taught me was to roll the dough with a glass bottle filled with ice water. Right after our house burned down, we had few kitchen gadgets, I used a full bottle of wine as a rolling pin. worked great. BTW: The wine went well with the meat pie I made. I knew a guy that used an unopened can of beer as a rolling pin. Whatever works.Bed Bath and Beyond is the cheapest on an AMERICAN MADE rolling pin (tradition style.) Twelve inch pin is about $15, less the always available 20% off coupon.

Perry Hilbert Jr
12-13-2017, 9:49 PM
Nope, not by a long shot. The one I made on my own lathe out of sugar maple, is the best cheapest US made rolling pin in these parts.

Stan Calow
12-14-2017, 10:26 AM
I've heard of using vodka instead of straight water for the crust. The alcohol lets the dough be workable, but does not activate the sticky gluten as water does. Same with making pasta.

Peter Kelly
12-15-2017, 1:43 PM
Agree on the vodka (Tito's). Makes for a much lighter crust.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TKzJZQc6fI

roger wiegand
12-16-2017, 10:22 AM
I've heard of using vodka instead of straight water for the crust. The alcohol lets the dough be workable, but does not activate the sticky gluten as water does. Same with making pasta.

I like the theory. We did a side-by-side test of pie crusts with a blind tasting. None of our tasters could tell the difference, both crusts were similarly light and flaky. Vodka is 60% water, perhaps a test with 95% ethanol might have been different. Or perhaps there is more of a difference if you're not already fanatic about your technique.

Bruce Wrenn
12-17-2017, 9:53 PM
Nope, not by a long shot. The one I made on my own lathe out of sugar maple, is the best cheapest US made rolling pin in these parts.When you include the cost of your lathe and tooling, your cost FAR EXCEEDS $15. How many can you turn out and deliver at fifteen bucks a pop?

Russ Filtz
12-26-2017, 10:27 AM
I only tried a hot water crust once, recipe from an old Joy of Cooking as I recall, the resulting material would have made a suitable replacement for HardiBoard. Could you share your recipe?

Yes, I guess they can be a bit more "stiff", but I actually like a crispy crust vs a "tender/flaky" crust. To me a standard cut-in crust, even when not soggy, still taste/mouthfeel like it.

I used a couple sites while planning, but this one is good. Use REAL lard, not crisco.

https://food52.com/blog/18266-hot-water-crust-is-the-sturdy-patchable-pie-crust-your-deep-dish-pies-deserve

Another one with milk vs just water.

http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/old-english-posh-picnic-raised-chicken-and-ham-pie-292563

roger wiegand
12-27-2017, 8:30 AM
Got it! Been wanting to try a serious meat pie after watching a recent Great British Baking Show rerun. Will give this a try.