Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrate Independence with the Best Pie Crust Ever! Quick!

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Perfect for Caramel Apple Pie




It's the 4th of July.

And I’m not going to let you spend another minute trolling the internet for pie crust recipes.  Stop this instant; I command you.   There's not much time left.


Strawberry Rhubarb

So step away from your Google search engine, that’s right.  Sloooooowly.   Don’t you dare type in another query:  “best pie recipe” “flaky pie dough” “why does my pie crust taste like year old play dough?” Consider your search over.

Even great with savory toppings.

Now get your ass to the only joint that's open at the moment, your local convenience store, and buy lots of unsalted butter and some nice all-purpose flour.

And free form galettes!

You probably already have salt and  if your plumbing is up to snuff, you’ve got water.  That’s all you need.  

Or double crusted...

with cutouts.

Quick Puff:  
The only pie dough you'll ever need
(For another and more detailed quick puff tutorial, click here and scroll down the post.)

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds of all-purpose flour (approximately 7 1/2 cups)
2 pounds cold unsalted butter (8 sticks) cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt

PROCEDURE

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and butter.  Massage the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are a bit smaller.  Add the water and smoosh around, coating the flour/butter with water.  Kneading until the whole mess looks like is's holding together just a little.  Dump the dough out and form into a loose square.  This is what it'll look like.  It's not pretty.  But just be patient.  It gets so much better.


Let this rest for 10 minutes and then roll out gently, sprinkling flour on your work surface and your rolling pin to keep everything from sticking and roll the dough into a rectangle.  Make 4 single turns.  That means fold the dough over into a "letter" fold.  This is a holy mess until you get to the last turn. 

Don't worry.  Bits are going to plop off willy nilly.  Just be patient.  Shove the errant dough chunks back into the whole and persevere!  This is the start of a letter fold:

Fold one end towards the middle and then fold the second end over the first.  The package will look like this after the first complete turn:



And this is what your dough is going to look like after the last and fourth turn:


Roll out your dough as you would for any pie.  Personally, I like my pies double crusted or latticed.  Which means I blind bake the bottom crust first.  I roll it out, dock the dough (prick it all around with a fork), line the top of the dough with parchment and then let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes and then again rested in the freezer for 20 minutes.  

Place pie weights or dry beans on top of the parchment to weigh it down, you don't want the dough to puff up while baking.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or just until the dough loses it's raw appearance but don't let it brown.  Fill with fruity goodness, top with lattice or another round of pie dough and bake until the fruit filling starts to bubble and your top crust is golden brown.  Enjoy your Independence Day having found freedom from your endless search for the best pie crust.  You just found it.  

You're welcome.