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Vodka in Pie Crust

Has anyone every tried this trick of using half water and half vodka in pie crust? I read about it in Cook's Illustrated, but don't know anyone who has ever tried it. I'm very curious to know how it works out.

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  1. i've never tried that ( or heard of it), i do use vinegar- 1 tblsp for 2 crust pie--which works very well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: qianning

      I traditionally use vinegar in my pie crust but last week I used rum when I made a mixed berry tart. It works quite well.

      The reasoning is that the alcohol wets the flour but gluten wont form in alcohol like it does in water. The acid in vinegar also inhibits the formation of gluten that toughen the crust.

      1. re: Kelli2006

        For some reason, I've found that my pie crusts with vodka or vinegar (or even lemon zest) turn out LESS flaky than those with just water.

        It's definitely easier to form pie dough that's made with vodka or vinegar, however.

        1. re: Kelli2006

          How much of a flavor is imparted to the crust?

          1. re: The Old Gal

            The alcohol itself imparts no flavor but there was a very slight flavor from the spiced rum.

      2. What is the benefit to using half vodka?

        1. This is giving me ideas for new martini flavors

          1. The CI crust-with-vodka recipe has been my standard since it came out, and I love it. It's so easy to roll out, and I've never had any trouble with it being tough or too crumbly. If it's hot or humid, make sure you add a little extra flour - no problem when using the vodka, it'll still be easy to roll out and it won't get tough.

            The science behind using vodka (according to CI) is that it adds liquid (making it easier to work with) in the form of alcohol, which evaporates out, as opposed to water (which would form more gluten, making it tough). So you can add the liquid you need without forming too much gluten.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bflocat

              can you post the recipie? sounds interesting as I am pretty pie crust challenged... thanks

              1. re: geminigirl

                Here's a link to the recipe:

                http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                It really is as easy as it sounds.

                1. re: bflocat

                  Thanks for the reference. That the recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated explains a lot. They are more interested in tender pie crust than flaky pie crust. (Not a bad thing, just one of the two schools of crusts) The alcohol acts to make it more tender... like the Marie Callendar or others you can buy premade. Flaky pie crusts come from "smearing" the butter between layers of the dough which gives you a croissant-like effect. It is a hand-action result, not a formula result