Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Have Succeeded at Pie Crust

I have the most exciting news: I have cracked the code of pie crust.

Wait-you don't think this is exciting?

Let me elaborate. My Kevin, love of my life, best friend, partner in crime-he doesn't really care for baked goods. He likes chocolate chip cookies and he likes pie. That's about it. You can imagine my pain, as baking is my number one hobby, even before sewing and knitting.

Now, I can make chocolate chip cookies in my sleep. I have the recipe memorized to the point that I don't even think about it-I just grab the measuring cup and dump everything into a bowl with no thought. This bores me.

And pie? Oh, pie. Our relationship has been tumultuous. See, I have worked for years to figure out pie crust. Every time I attempt pie, I end up swearing, crying and stomping my feet. It is not pretty. And it is rarely worth it to the lovely people who have to live with me. Plus, I don't even really like pie. There, I said it. I love the idea of pie. I love making the filling. I love picking various fruits, I love the smell, and I love how a cooling pie looks on the counter. But I detest making crust.

Every time I would attempt crust, it would fall into a billion pieces when I tried to pick it up to put it in the pie plate. I know pie crust is supposed to be flaky, but really? Aren't you supposed to bake it first and enjoy the flakiness second?

Anyhow, today I cracked the code.

My mother in law picked some rhubarb for me out of her garden, and I wanted to make Kevin his beloved raspberry rhubarb pie. So I got out Bev's crust recipe and my ingredients and went to work.

The pie crust code is actually a two-part secret.

Part one: use a pastry blender to blend the flour, salt and shortening together. When it looks like crumbs, sprinkle in the ice water and continue to blend it with the pastry blender. Don't get all fancy and try to use your KitchenAide stand mixer and dough hook. Don't get all fancy and try to use your food processor with the dough blade. Just DON'T. It is not worth the emotional pain. I know it seems easier, but it is actually a recipe for disaster.

Part two: Roll it out on your ceramic stovetop. For real. My brother in law always rolls dough out on his ceramic stovetop and I have always raised an eyebrow at it. Today, I thought I should give it a try. I mean, it works well for him, so why not? Lo and behold, I rolled out the bottom crust for the raspbery rhubarb pie, folded it into quarters, picked it up, and placed it into the pie plate in one piece. With not a single problem. Ditto for the top crust. Folks, I was so excited about this that I set to work making an apple pie for Nora with the exact same results.

It was painless. It was, I dare say, enjoyable. And now my house smells amazing and my husband and my firstborn each have their most favorite treats.

Bev's Crust Recipe

3/4 cup shortening
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 tablespoons ICE WATER

Mix salt and flour in a large bowl. Add shortening and, like I said, mix with a pastry blender until crumbly.

Sprinkle on ice water. I add 4 tablespoons, mix with pastry blender, and add more, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it is the right consistency.

Divide in half. Roll half out on top of floured surface (ceramic stovetop, yeah?). Put in pie plate. Fill. Repeat with top crust. Bake as directed.

1 comment:

  1. Those look scrumptious! I too, have had hit and miss success with pie crust. Thanks for the recipe.