Pie Crust: Basics III

If there’s a massive frozen turkey sitting in your freezer and you plan to cook it for Thanksgiving, you should probably go ahead and start thawing.  I also recommend brining it in a flavored, non-acidic salt solution. I don’t claim expertise in the meat department, of course, but I do know that a bloated turkey will cook up plump and juicy.

If you want your turkey to taste more like turkey and don’t mind a bit less moisture in your bird, then just a dry salt rub will work as well.  Fortunately, at Thanksgiving, I don’t have to worry about turkey.   I am a big fan of letting other people handle the poultry (“Ah! Is that a feather?!”).

I just make some pies and tarts and help out with what I can, maybe making some sauces or prepping vegetables while simultaneously holding a glass of wine and eating cheese.  I am a big fan of having Christmas dinner at our house, where I can get away with making anything other than poultry.  It’s a bit early to start thinking about all of that, though.

Thanksgiving first.

Let’s talk pie crust.

I prefer an all butter pie crust.  While some claim that lard or Crisco gives a more flaky texture, and say things like, “It doesn’t even taste like pig or Crisco,”  I find that statement inaccurate, from personal experience.

Any pie crust worth making from scratch, (and not just buying one of the refrigerator crusts),  is going to be made completely with real butter.

All you have to do is not overwork the dough and you’ll have a beautifully flaky delicious, buttery crust for your pie. I use my hands instead of a mixer or food processor to prevent overworking it.  You can use this basic pie crust recipe for both sweet and savory dishes.

Basic Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teapoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

 

1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl.

2.  Optional: Sprinkle sugar evenly over butter.

3.  Toss butter into flour mixture to coat.

4.  Using your fingers, rub all ingredients together until shaggy.

5.  Add ice water and mix with your hands, until dough comes together and forms a ball, adding more water if needed.  Note: Try not to overwork the dough during this process or the crust will not be flaky and tender.

6.  Divide dough in half, making one half slightly larger.  The larger crust is for the bottom pie crust.

7.  Shape each half into a one inch thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

8.  Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.

9.  Remove dough disks from refrigeration for rolling.  The larger dough disk gets rolled first. On a floured work surface, roll dough from center to edges, lightly flouring the surface of rolling pin as needed, and frequently rotating the dough while rolling, until it reaches thirteen to fourteen inches in diameter, about 1/8 of an inch thick. The second dough disk gets rolled in the same manner, to 12 inches in diameter, about 1/8  of an inch thick.  Fold larger dough in half and transfer to a nine to ten inch pie plate, gently easing the dough into the corners and up the sides.   Transfer the smaller dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate both doughs for fifteen minutes.

 

Pie Crust: Basics III

Recipe Type: Pastry, basic
Cuisine: American
Author: Adapted from Thomas Keller’s, “Basic Pie Crust”.
Basic Pie Crust
Ingredients
  • •2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • •1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • •1/2 teapoon sugar (optional)
  • •2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • •4 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
Instructions
  1. Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Optional: Sprinkle sugar evenly over butter.
  3. Toss butter into flour mixture to coat.
  4. Using your fingers, rub all ingredients together until shaggy.
  5. Add ice water and mix with your hands, until dough comes together and forms a ball, adding more water if needed. Note: Try not to overwork the dough during this process or the crust will not be flaky and tender.
  6. Divide dough in half, making one half slightly larger. The larger crust is for the bottom pie crust.
  7. Shape each half into a one inch thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
  8. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.
  9. Remove dough disk from refrigeration for rolling. The larger dough disk gets rolled first. On a floured work roll dough from center to edges, lightly flouring the surface of rolling pin as needed, and frequently rotating the dough until it reaches thirteen to fourteen inches in diameter, about 1/8 of an inch thick. The second dough disk gets rolled in the same manner, to 12 inches in diameter, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Fold larger dough in half and transfer to a nine to ten inch pie plate, gently easing the dough into the corners and up the sides. Transfer the smaller dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  10. Refrigerate both doughs for fifteen minutes.

 

Source: Pie Crust Adapted from :  Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc at Home (p. 338 “basic pie crust”).

 

Other sources of inspiration and information:

good eats, Sandro Micheli Pie, Serious Eats, all-recipes,

 

 

 

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9 Responses to Pie Crust: Basics III

  1. Pingback: Caramel Apple Butter Galette | Kate from Scratch

  2. Beck says:

    Amazing. Perfectly done.

  3. Ashley says:

    Love that this is all butter.. shortening grosses me out : )

  4. Yep, my 20 pounder is currently thawing in my fridge.
    I’m making my pie crusts tomorrow and will bake the pies on Wednesday. I love your photos of the process. There is something so beautiful about making pie crusts. Am I weird that I think that? Don’t answer that! :)

    • Josette says:

      No, not weird at all- I agree! Really enjoy making pie crusts, love the process. And I know that everyone is going to Love the home made pie:)

  5. Karen says:

    Love this recipe. Simple and perfect.

  6. Courtney says:

    I usually go on autopilot and just buy the refrigerated crusts, but this sounds wonderful, I think I’ll definitely be giving it a try. I never realized how different the ingredients could be in a simple thing like pie crust until I really looked at them. I bet this tastes so much better. Thanks, Kate!

  7. This recipe sounds like it gives a perfect crust my friend, looks delicious :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  8. Mackenzie21 says:

    I love an all butter crust. This recipe sounds just perfect!

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