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Mar 11, 2009 09:51 AM

Pie Crust Problem

Did I mention that this is my first crust ever? Using the Tartine cookbook all-butter flaky pie crust has left me confused and worried. The dough came out of the food processor very sticky and seemingly over worked. I see no butter bits in the dough and it's very hard in the fridge right now after being left overnight.

Should I start over?
Did I over blend and really need to go easy on that pulse button?

Please help Chowhound, you are my only hope!

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  1. Sounds like you have your ratios off, with too much fat and liquid (though I don't know that recipe). It should have been basically moist crumbs that will just stick together.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dmd_kc

      1 cup + 5tbsp butter
      2/3 C water
      3 C flour

      But I'll start over once I buy more flour. Thanks for the tip ...

      1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

        It sounds as though you processed the dough until it balled up on the blades. This is what used to be the directions for food-processor pie dough, but it does overwork the ingredients and most newer recipes call for briefly pulsing until some tiny bits of butter are still visible, then dumping into a bowl and blending in the water with a fork.

        However, you don't need to toss what you have. It's probably too wet to roll, but you can flour your hands and pat it into pie pans to make one-crust pies. Divide it up, form into flattened rounds, wrap well and freeze until needed. It isn't going to be flaky, but perfectly fine for quiche, pumpkin pie, pies with pre-baked crusts...

    2. I guess if you were planning to use the crust on a pie with other ingredients that might by a bit costly, I would think about starting over. But not with the same recipe, as it sounds broken to me. Here a very simple crust that works every time

      1 cup flour, 1TBS sugar 1/2 tsp salt in the FP.
      Pulse in 2 TBS cold shortening (6 pulses)
      Pulse in 6 TBS cold unsalted butter (6 pulses or so)
      Put in a medium bowl. add 2 TBS cold water and press in with a rubber spatula. If too dry to hold together, add 1 or 2 more TBS (by the way, you can use 1/2 water and 1/2 vodka and have less danger of forming glutens).
      Once the dough holds together (don't get it too wet), form into a 6" disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

      This is for a single crust. For a double crust pie, just double the recipe.

      1. I would suggest, if you want a flaky (as opposed to "short" (i.e. tender and crumbly)) dough that you start out with cold butter, only process until small bits of butter are still visible, then put in a bowl, add the liquid, and mix by hand.

        If your dough doesn't seem elastic, you are probably okay. Since you let it rest for so long, just roll it out and if it doesn't seem to shrink up go ahead and use it. Otherwise I'd start over, mix minimally by hand, and still let the dough rest before using it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: knecht

          Has anyone tried chilling the food processor blade as well as the ingredients?

          There's actually a thread someone started a couple of weeks ago with pie crust tips and tricks.

        2. I would go ahead and use the crust you made. When it's been refrigerated, it is always hard. Take out to warm up a bit to roll out.
          You may have used too much liquid. I would use up to 5 T.
          First blend in butter and flour (I like a pinch of salt and also sugar to help browning). Use the pulse for this and stop when it looks like course bread crumbs. Then add in water, I start w/ 3 T distributed around work bowl; pulse, see if it congeals, then if not add more water until it comes together.
          Pie crust takes confidence and practice. Don't me intimidated! And if it's not its flakiest first time around, so be it!

          1. If you are going to remake it, try using vodka in place of water. Vodka reduces the promotion of gluten which is what can make a dough/crust tough.

            I first saw this on an episode of America's Test Kitchen where it was explained and demonstrated back in Jan.

            To get to these links, you'll probably have to create a membership. It's free - just be certain to decline the offer for the CI magazine subscription - IF it's even still offered.

            Here is the recipe for their Test Kitchen "Foolproof Pie Dough"

            Science desk: "Why it works"

            1 Reply
            1. re: CocoaNut

              the vodka trick really does work, doesn't it. i imagine that roughly speaking it'd work with any crust recipe that includes ice water. just sub in an equal amount of vodka for half the water. has anybody tried it with no water and all vodka?