Flaky, No-Fail, Pie Crust: Do you have pie crust anxiety? Yup you are not alone. But don’t give into that urge to buy a all-ready made refrigerated or frozen pie crust and slip your favorite pie recipe into it. Let Doctor Jo treat your crust anxiety with this recipe! I have two SIS (simple is smart) techniques that won’t let your flaky mojo fail you. This recipe is perfect for my Fresh Blueberry Pie and my Strawberry- Rhubarb-Peach Pie.
This pie crust is somewhere between flaky and crumbly depending on the flour you use. Pastry flour gives an ultra flaky crust but is more fragile and harder to work with. The higher gluten content in all purpose flour gives a crumbly slightly tougher crust that is easiest to work with. I use a mixture of equals parts all purpose and pastry flours in this recipe.
Can’t find pastry flour? Make your own using 3 cups all purpose flour and 1 cup cake flour. If you are a total newbie to pie crust making, go ahead and use all purpose flour this time and try the pastry flour next time.
Measure your flour by either weighing it or by fluffing it up in the sack or canister and then do the sprinkle and sweep method.
Excess flour imparts a dry texture to your baked goods. It is such a bummer to expect a delicious moist goody and bite into the Sahara desert.
If you have a scale, weigh the flour in your recipes. King Arthur Flour has an excellent chart for weights of different ingredients used in baking. A cup of flour should weigh 4.25 ounces. If you don’t have a scale, fluff up the flour, then sprinkle it into a measuring cup and sweep off the excess. Give your fluff, sprinkle and sweep technique an accuracy check-up first. Fluff and sprinkle a cup of flour, sweep off the excess and then weigh it. Does it weigh 4.25 ounces? Yes, give yourself a star for accuracy and enjoy your moist and yummy baked goodies.
SIS technique #1: Place two pieces of plastic wrap on the work surface. Form the dough into 2 seperate rough ball, and place each on a piece of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to work the half ball into a flattened disk. The plastic wrap lets you work the dough without adding extra flour and keeps it from sticking to the work surface.
Wrap the disc with the plastic wrap and chill for at 30 minutes or overnight. The pie dough disc can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight the night before baking. How nice is it to have pie crust dough ready to us
My SIS technique #2 for rolling out the pastry disk.
I roll the chilled pie crust disk between 2 sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap. Roll out the pie crust, keeping it between the plastic wrap. It is easy to flip the crust over and rotate it as needed by grasping the plastic wrap and using it to move the dough. If the crust starts to stick a bit to the plastic wrap, gently lift the plastic wrap and add a little flour. Flip the crust over to flour the other side as needed. Continue rolling between the plastic wrap until the desired size. You will need a 12 inch circle for a 9 inch pie plate.
Spray the pie pan with a little non-stick spray to make it easy to take your slices of baked pie out of the pan. When the crust is the desired size, remove the top plastic wrap, slide your hand under the bottom plastic wrap, using the bottom plastic wrap to lift the dough and help position it in the pie plate. The plastic wrap will also help you reposition the pie crust once it is in the plate. When the crust is properly positioned in the pie plate, remove the plastic wrap. You now have a perfectly positioned piece of pie crust dough ready to fill, chill, or bake.
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- This recipe makes 2 crusts - enough for 1 double pie or 2 single pies
- Make sure butter stays very cold. Cut cold butter into small squares about 1/2 inch size and put in the fridge.
- Weigh or measure dry ingredients and mix together.
- Add the shortening to the flour and cut it in with a pastry blender until just combined.
- Add the butter squares to the mixture and work it roughly with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Don’t overwork, the dough should be rough with smaller and larger chunks of butter in the mixture. Working the butter in entirely will result in a tough, chewy crust. When the crust is baked, the moisture in the chunks of butter converts to steam forming little air pockets throughout the crust, giving it that ultra flakiness we all love.
- Drizzle the ice water over the flour mixture, (see notes) toss gently with a fork to combine. Add up to an additional tbsp. to make a cohesive mixture. The mixture may appear somewhat dry. The flour will continue to hydrate during the rest period in the fridge.
- Split the mixture in half. Each half should weigh about 12 ounces for 2 single-crust pies or for a double-crust pie the dough for the bottom crust should weigh 12.5 ounces and the top crust 11.5 ounces. Shape the dough into 2 disks using my 1st. secret technique!
- Refrigerate each disk for a minimum of 60 minutes or up to 3 days before using it. If not using right away make sure the disk is well wrapped so it doesn't dry out.
- Once the dough has rested and chilled roll it out between sheets of plastic wrap. Add a very small amount of flour if needed. Use the pie crust dough in your favorite pie recipes.
- To bake a pie crust for an unbaked pie. i.e. cream pie or fresh fruit pie. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the pie crust and position in your pie pan. Use a fork to make holes in the bottom and sides of the crust. Line the pie crust with some parchment or aluminum foil. Weight the crust down with pie weights or dried legumes (beans). This keeps the crust from shrinking during baking. Bake for 10 minutes and carefully remove the legumes or weights and liner. Shield the edges with a pie shield or strips of aluminum foil. Return the pie crust to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until it is golden brown. Let the crust cool completely before filling.
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