Pie Crust

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, preparations have begun. If you read this blog often, you know I’m a sucker for sweets. So why not start off my Thanksgiving preparations with dessert?

Yesterday I started gathering recipes and making final decisions on what I’m making for Thanksgiving (more on that tomorrow) including two pies. I have a list of things that I need to go ahead and complete this week for the meal—several things can be made ahead of time and frozen including chicken stock, bread for stuffing and pie crusts.

I came across this pie crust recipe while watching Carla Hall on The Chew and it turned out perfectly. The key is to keep everything SUPER COLD. I doubled the recipe to make two crusts. Here’s a step-by-step:

Butter

Cut 4 sticks of butter into 1/2-inch dice (this is for two crusts). Bigger pieces will make your dough puffy. Dissolve 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in 2/3 cup of warm water.

Freeze Everything

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Measure out flour (4 1/2 cups for a double recipe). HERE IS THE KEY: place everything in the freezer and refrigerator. Put flour, butter in electric mixer bowl and mixer paddle in the freezer. Place your water/salt/sugar mixture in the refrigerator. Let everything cool for at least one hour.

Dough

After at least an hour, take flour and butter out of freezer. With your fingertips (not the palms of your hand as they are too warm), toss the butter in the flour until each cube is lightly coated. Squeeze butter between fingertips to create thin disks. Do not overwork—you want everything to stay really cold.

With the chilled paddle, beat the flour-butter mixture on low speed to just break up the butter, about 30 seconds.  Add the water mixture all at once and raise the speed to medium-low.  Beat just until the dough comes together in big chunks, then immediately turn off the mixer.

Kneeding Dough

Divide the chunks of dough in half and very gently pat each group into a round 1-inch-thick disk (this will make it easier to roll out).  Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, before rolling.  You can refrigerate the disks for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months.

FinalPieCrust

When ready to use the pie dough, let thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator if frozen. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Hit dough several times with rolling pin to slightly soften. Start rolling out dough, working from the center out and stop rolling before you reach the edge (being careful that everything is the same thickness). Roll until you reach 1/8 inch thickness.

Lightly grease the pie plate with non-stick spray before putting in the dough (this will make taking the slices out of the pan much easier later). Place dough in pie dish and trim and crimp edges of dough. Brush dough with egg whites, wrap in plastic and place back in freezer for another hour (this will help keep your crust from getting soggy from the filling).

FinalPieCrust2

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line pie dough with wax paper and fill with pie beads. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven and take out the pie weights and the wax paper liner. Lower the oven temperature to 375F. Return the pie to the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely before using.
Here’s the complete recipe or check it out on The Chew’s website:
Carla Hall’s Perfect Pie Crust
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Table Salt
1/3 cup Water
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold Unsalted Butter (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour (plus more for rolling)

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt in the water.  Refrigerate until very cold, about 30 minutes. During that time, refrigerate your butter, flour, mixer bowl, and paddle, too.

Make sure your butter is cut into 1/2-inch dice.  Bigger pieces will make your dough puffy.  In the chilled bowl, combine the cold butter and flour.  With your hands, toss the butter in the flour until each cube is lightly coated.

With the chilled paddle, beat the flour-butter mixture on low speed to just break up the butter, about 30 seconds.  Add the water mixture all at once and raise the speed to medium-low.  Beat just until the dough comes together in big chunks, then immediately turn off the mixer.

Divide the chunks of dough in half and very gently pat each group into a round 1-inch-thick disk.  Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, before rolling.  You can refrigerate the disks for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months.

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