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Pie Crusts

You know how everyone has that ONE thing that simply frustrates them and they just can't seem to master? Mine is a decent pie crust. I can cook or bake just about anything except I have a terrible time with getting a decent pie crust. I've tried everything, making sure the butter was cold, water was ice cold and I either overwork it or my proportions just aren't right on. Does anyone have a fool proof recipe for pie crust estupidos like me? Let's call it "Pie Crusts for Dummies"

Many thanks

Trish
aka CoteGal

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  1. Trish.....perhaps your technique is what needs some working on, rather than the recipe??

    Here re two websites that may be of help....think they also give recipes.....

    http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/tricks/...

    http://www.cooking.com/advice/adtecha...

    1. What are the problems you have been experiencing with your crusts?

      1 Reply
      1. re: knecht

        My problem is that they come out tough so I'm thinking I'm overworking the dough so it might be technique as Lisbet suggested. I also have warm hands and live in the desert where the daytime temps often hit 115 degrees so why am I even baking anything anyway? Maybe I should consider investing in a marble board and putting that in the refrigerator before rolling the dough out.

        Thanks for all your suggestions.

        Trish

      2. Some people have such warm hands that when they work the pastry heat from their hands is transferred to it and melts the fat more, which is not good for a pie crust; maybe you are warm hands person?

        1. I make mine in the food processor pulsing it. 2 1/2cups flour, 10 tbl cold butter, 5 tbls cold crisco, 1/4tea salt and yes ice water. However, I always add a tble or so of orange juice. There is something about the acid that works. Process pulsing til you can squeeze it together. I then dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and cover creating a round. Refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling. Good luck

          1. Have you tried the "foolproof pie crust" from cook's illustrated? it is a butter and shortening crust that you make in the food processor... it also has vodka in it. anyway, I don't make crusts very often, and this one always turns out for me... it is tender, flaky & rolls out really easy too. I can paraphrase the recipe if you are interested.

            6 Replies
            1. re: withalonge

              With, if you could post the recipe, that would be very helpful. We are picking up 10 lbs. of sour pie cherries next weekend and will be making some pie crust. Of all the things I do really well, the crust is not a signature dish for me either. I never seem to be able to roll it out evenly and uniformly, thus crostatas are much more forgiving, but I am required to produce a couple of cherry pies from this batch. Ugh!

              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                I wholeheartedly second withalonge's reply about the CI pie crust. It's incredibly easy and certainly foolproof. It can be made either sweet (for pies) or savory (for pot pies, quiche). I've never had too much trouble with crusts, but as soon as I tried this one, I knew I'd never make any other recipe. I keep a bottle of vodka in my freezer for this recipe. I'm at work, sans recipe, but if witha doesn't post it later today, I can stick it up here tomorrow.

                1. re: bflocat

                  sorry, didn't log back on last night.. I can post the recipe tonight after I get home if bflocat doesn't beat me too it.

                  an yeah... that's why I keep a bottle of vodka in my freezer... pie crust... riiiiiggghhht.. yeah, that's it.
                  ;)

                2. re: Diane in Bexley

                  o.k. so CI, nov & dec 2007 issue

                  process 1 1/2 cu flour w/ 1tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar in food pro for a few secs (omit sugar for savory crust).
                  add 12 tbsp chilled butter & 1/2 cu chilled shortening (pulse 2-3 times), should be curd-like
                  add addtl cup flour & pulse 4-5 times
                  dump in to mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup cold water & 1/4 cup vodka
                  it will seem like it is way too wet, fold mixture until dough comes together, will still be sticky
                  divide dough, wrap each half in saran and chill in fridge... chill at least 1 hr

                  I roll out on well-floured sil-pat... it rolls out really easy.

                  good luck with your pie!

                  1. re: withalonge

                    Thanks so much With! I'll try this next week~~~

                    Oh GOSH darn it all...it only takes a 1/4 cup of vodka so I get to drink the rest? I see pomegranate martinis next week as I make the pie.

                    1. re: CoteGal

                      Why not make a pitcher of pomegranate martinis before you start and use 1/4 cup of martini in the pie crust dough? No one will ever figure out your secret. Oh, wait, martinis are GIN! You claim you can't make good pie crust and here you go inventing a new IMPROVED recipe!

              2. Here's a thread and slideshow I put together on how to make an apple pie. Since then I have made countless more pies. A friend even wanted one instead of birthday cake.

                There are a couple secrets here:

                1. By mixing the flour, shortening and salt and keeping it in the fridge your dough will be quite cold and you can make pie when you want it by adding the chilled water.

                2. Use plenty of flour rolling your dough and don't worry if some flour sticks on the crust.

                I use tapioca to thicken. And I don't precook my apples like my mother in law does. We both make good pies.

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/477353

                8 Replies
                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  Trish......wonderful Slide Shows, many thanks! My Dad earned his livelihood as a professional chef and he always used tapioca in his fruit pies.

                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                    Very cool slide show and thread. I'll keep it for reference. But...what a delicious looking pie! I'm so much a better cook when I have a visual, especially during the stages. I love it when people provide that. Thanks!

                    1. re: JackieChiles

                      What does it mean if your pie crust always cracks on the edges while rolling out?
                      Thanks!

                      1. re: jangita

                        It wouldn't bother me if the edges of the pie crust crack a little when rolling out because you can cut the excess after you place it in the pan or on top.

                        However if it overly cracks it is possible too dry and the dough needed more water.

                        I had to change Web sites for my step-by-step slideshow. Here it is again if anyone is interested.

                        http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/a...

                        1. re: jangita

                          Don't worry about it if it's just at the edges. It's normal. You'll crimp the cracks together anyway when you assemble the pie.

                          1. re: visciole

                            A friend and I have been experimenting with pie making lately. He is good at it and I am hopeless, until we found a trick that works. I had tried using a food processor, but it gave tough results. He prefers the old fashioned method of hand rubbing the flour and lard. When I do it that way, my fingers warm it up too much. Then the ligt went on, now I FREEZE the block of lard and use th efood processor to grate it into little pea sized pieces. Put the food processor bowl in the freezer for a while, then mix in the flour and other dry ingredients in a big bowl and add the grated lard. Makes really flaky crusts!

                            1. re: Danybear

                              Regarding the CI recipe, I see that it says above "chill at least one hour..." How long can it be chilled? Could it stay in the refrig overnight? This is my first time making a real (i.e. non-graham cracker) crust.

                              1. re: MaryDC

                                You can chill it for up to 2 days (or freeze it for longer periods). Check out this blog (not mine). She goes through this recipe step-by-step.
                                http://judyskitchen.blogspot.com/2008...