"Flavored" pie crust?
Do you "flavor" your pie crusts with things like spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)? What about something like rhubarb water? Or chocolate or espresso powder?
Someone was telling me the virtues of doing this, saying essentially it adds a whole new dimension to fruit pies and the like. Blah blah blah ...
Color me skeptical.
While I would not deny that it offers a whole new dimension to pie crust, it's clear that mixing dill pickle juice into my coffee would offer a whole new dimension - but it's not something I would do.
IMO, pie crust supports the primary subject of the pie. (e.g. we call a pie made with apples, apple pie) I want a tender flaky crust that unobtrusively contrasts with the luxuriousness of the filling. I don't want a flavored foundation. But, that's simply my personal view on the subject.
Color me VERY skeptical....
I mostly do this with the crust for savory tarts (herb crusts with fresh rosemary, etc) or lots of black pepper (or chili spices) in the crust for certain chicken tarts, etc. However- I made a BlackBerry pie this summer with an almond flavored crust and it was stunning. I certainly am game to try flavored sweet pie crusts again.
I slosh some ganache around the bottom and sides of the baked crust for a banana cream pie. Originally I did it to keep the crust from going soggy but it was such a hit I now do it because it would be missed if it weren't there.
But that's a different thing than flavoring the pastry.
I do. A little lemon zest mixed into the flour before cutting in the butter adds a lovely element to a blueberry or apple pie. I'll sometimes do cinnamon or nutmeg, too. Not only does each bite of pie benefit, but the last few bites, of just the crust, taste much more interesting.
The best cheesecake crust I've ever tasted was made from ginger snap crumbs in place of graham crackers. As a rule, I make nut crusts or none at all these days, but depending on what kind of pie it is, I might add cinnamon or lemone zest.