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Oct 2, 2007 09:18 AM

unconventional pie crust recipe in new CI

Is anyone else curious about the unconventional pie crust recipe in the new CI mag? The recipe advocates that you fully incorporate the fat into a portion of the flour, and then add reserved flour to make flakes. (The idea is that the flakes come from flour that is not fat coated.) Also, half of the liquid is vodka, which is supposed to keep it tender.

So will you try? I've read about the partial flour incorporation process before, I believe in a LATimes food article. But I've never tried.

Curious what others think or if you have any experience w/ similar recipes. I'm pretty competent w/ pie, but who can't stand to improve, right?


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  1. What's the science behind the vodka? If you know ....

    3 Replies
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I was just investigating on their website. The vodka provides moisture but doesn't make the dough tough, and the alcohol bakes out so no worries about that. Gluten forms with water but not with ethanol.

      Can't wait to try it...

      1. re: laurendlewis

        This has been discussed a million times on this board, but I am always trying to spread the word...
        Alcohol does not 100% cook/bake off of anything. Please advise your guests there is alcohol in the pie if you make this crust. Someone in my family can't have ANY alcohol at all (not even the amount in vanilla) and people often think that it is okay if the dish is cooked.

      2. re: C. Hamster

        The idea is that in a normal pie crust, you want to minimize the amount of liquid you add, because adding liquid increases the formation of gluten, which can lead to a tough crust. The problem is, without liquid, the dough can be very hard to roll out. By using vodka instead of water, you're able to add 40% more liquid (in the form of alcohol) and not have to worry about gluten formation and leathery crusts (because gluten does not form in alcohol). Therefore, you can get a supple easy-to-roll dough which bakes up as tender as a much drier dough would.

        And yes, Honey Bee is right - not 100% of the alcohol will burn off, but with rare exception, the amount of alcohol left in the crust will not be detectable by anyone. I'd be willing to bet that your average loaf of yeasted bread contains more alcohol per serving than this finished pie crust does. Interesting question though. Maybe a test is in order to figure out exactly how much is left.

      3. I'm gonna make that tonight for my farmers market pot pie...will report back!

        C.Hamster, I don't remember the details exactly, but it was something about wanting to add liquid but not water (to avoid splitting edges, sticky dough, etc.). it's a good read.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MaineRed

          So -- overall, it's a great crust, but it'd be hard not to be with all that butter and 1/2 a cup of shortening...I did alter it b/c it was a savory pie: halved the sugar, upped the salt by 1/4 tsp and then used 1/2 wheat flour 1/2 AP white.

          You could smell the vodka while "kneading" and rolling out...but after baking no smell at all and the crust was delicious: crispy, flaky, buttery...I still had an uneven roll out and cracks and all, but i didn't expect it to be a miracle recipe that fixed my impatient baking habits :)

          the pot pie was delicious too: parsnips, carrots, potatoes, turnips, leeks and onions in a reduced veg stock, white wine, sage, thyme, cider, half and half know, no real measurements but loosely based on the vegetable pot pie recipe on epicurious.

          overall, great recipe. will try it this weekend for the cranberry/apple pie in that same issue of CI.

        2. I would try it but I only have Raspberry Stoli on hand. Raspberry-flavored pie crust doesn't sound so good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: HungryLetsEat

            It might be good for a berry pie...give it a try!

            1. Could somebody please post this recipe? I'm quite curious to try it and I just recently canceled my CI web subscription.

              2 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo

                At the moment, the CI link to the recipe is free:

                Foolproof Pie Dough For a Single-Crust Pie