I've heard people say that making pies intimidates them because of the crust. Listen, its not rocket science. I mean, I can do it; anyone can do it. I guess it just takes the right recipe. There are tons out there for every different taste and diet. My mom prefers my Grandma's recipe where the secret to its flakiness is lard (although she sometimes substitutes vegetable shortening). When Ira was a vegan, I relied on using his mother Janice's oil crust recipe, which is animal friendly and simple with three ingredients: flour, oil and water.
My favorite pie dough is a recipe I got out of Bon Appetit many years ago. It's a basic butter crust recipe, with an addition of a bit of sugar added to the dry ingredients and water spiked with just a splash of cider vinegar to give the dough a more tart flavor, which I think makes the crust so much more fun to eat. Of course, my Mom thinks I'm a cretin for abandoning the traditional family crust.
I know you want the complete recipes for the three pie crusts mentioned above.
Here are four useful tips I hope you will find helpful when working your dough.
- Use cold butter, either kept refrigerated until right before using, or placed in freezer for a short period before mixing into the dough.The hard cold butter will give a better texture to the dough, as you will have areas of chunky butter which, when baked, will make the crust more flaky.
- Use ice water to mix the dough. The cold helps bind the dough better and keeps the butter from melting when you are handling it.
- Use an old pillow case to knead your dough. This limits the handling, which will insure a more flaky crust as well as reduces the mess you have to clean up afterward. Don't over work the dough, a quick knead is all you kneed. Obviously you'll want to make sure the pillow case is clean and has all the lint picked out, because head grease and fuzzies aren't the best accents to your pie dough.
- Roll the dough on a piece of parchment paper. You can spin the parchment around to easily roll the dough from different angles. When moving the dough to the pie pan, I wrap the dough around the pin to give it support. By rolling on parchment paper, you easily lift the dough onto the rolling pin so you can avoid breaking or tearing.