Pie Crust Part I

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We’re almost halfway through November and it is officially pie season.

An oft feared and neglected element of pie is the crust, the shell that encapsulates a creamy custard, juicy fruits, or a dense yet fluffy puree.  Pie crust is to a pie what bread is to a sandwich, quite critical.  A proper pie crust elevates your pie filling, it complements it with a unique textural component but never takes over.  It is tender and flaky and golden, without being tough or crumbly.  Pie crust is a beautiful thing, and today I want to share with you what I have found to be the best way to make a homemade pie crust.  So enjoy the photos and the recipe, and be sure to check back soon for part II!

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First, dump your frozen butter into the sifted dry ingredients.

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Next, dump all of your ingredients out onto your work surface.

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With a rolling pin, start rolling the butter into the flour.  I’ve used a pastry cutter and the food processor before, but I honestly find this to be the best way.  It does require a bit of upper body strength, but it produces long and thin layers of butter in your crust.  Using a spatula, occasionally scrape up the butter and fold into the center.  Repeat until the butter is thoroughly mixed in.

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After your flour and butter has chilled, make a well in the center.  Dump in all of your soured soymilk and slowly begin incorporating your dry ingredients until all of the flour has been moistenend.

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Dump it all out onto your worksurface again.  The dough will look very shaggy, but that’s okay.  Press the dough into two flat discs.

Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour before rolling out.

PIE CRUST

Adapted slightly from Joy the Baker (http://joythebaker.com/2010/06/how-to-make-pie-crust-do-it/)

  • 190 grams / 16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 350 grams / 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 118 mL / 1/2 cup soured soymilk* (or buttermilk)

Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.  While the butter is chilling, measure out the soymilk and stick in the fridge to stay cold.  Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large metal bowl.

When the butter has finished chilling, toss it into the flour mixture.  Dump the entire mixture onto the countertop.  With a rolling pin, roll the mixture flat, using a spatula to scrape up the butter from the countertop as necessary.  Roll the butter until it forms flat thin sheets (the making of flaky goodness!).  When the butter has been rolled out enough, scrape the butter mixutre back into the bowl and chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

When the butter has been chilled, remove the dough from the fridge.  Form a well in the center of the dough and dump in all of the soured soymilk.  Using one hand, incorporate the soymilk into the dry mixture until all of the flour has been moistened (you might need to add some additional soymilk).

Turn the dough back out onto your countertop.  The dough will look incredibly shaggy, but that’s okay!  Divide the dough into two sections and press each section together.  Place each clump of dough in wax paper and press into rounds.  Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.  At this point, you can keep the dough refrigerated for 3 days, of frozen for 3 weeks.  Just be sure to thaw properly before rolling.

Stay tuned for part 2–rolling!

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