Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pie Crust-Making 101

Back in the fall, my English-trained-pastry-chef-friend Terry, taught another friend and me how to make scones.  This time she came back to the farm on Valentine's Day to gave us a lesson in pastry - short pastry or pie dough.

Terry used an English recipe which involves weighing out the ingredients.  (Though she also provided an American version for pie crust which I've included below as well.) 

Our chef demonstrated the technique by first making pie dough for a broccoli and cheese quiche for our lunch.  She explained that if we need more pie dough for a bigger pie plate, we could remember the proportions:  1/2 fat to total amount of flour (so if we're using 8 oz. of flour, we would need 4 oz. of fat); 1 tsp. water per ounce of flour; 1 tsp. salt per 16 oz. flour.

The recipe she used for a regular double-crust pie:

English Short Pastry (Pie Dough) (2 crusts)
8 oz. flour
2 oz. butter, cold and cut into small pieces (1/2 stick)
2 oz. shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
8 tsp. cold water (not ice water but from frig is a good temp)

Weigh out and place flour, butter, shortening and salt into a large bowl.  With your fingertips, rub in the butter and shortening by lifting the flour mixture to aerate and rubbing the fat chunks into the mixture.  Once the fat is worked in and the mixture is consistent, sprinkle 1 tsp. of water at a time onto the mixture.  Stir gently with a spoon and then gather dough with hands together until it forms a ball.  Don't overhandle - simply gather and flip, gather and flip until dough sticks together.  Place dough on a floured board and put a bit of flour on top of ball of dough.  Press ball down lightly with hands and then begin to roll (LIGHTLY and GENTLY) with rolling pin, again not overworking.  Turn dough with hands and pat into circular shape.  Continue to roll and pat, roll and pat.  Making sure that dough stays lightly floured on top and bottom and rolling pin stays free of dough pieces and floured.  Continue working dough until size fits pie plate.  Roll dough onto pin and place in plate.  Trim off excess dough, flute edges and fill if for one-crust pie.  For two-crust pie, trim off excess, fill and roll out another crust.  Place on top of filling, tuck and seal dough underneath edges.  Cut steam vents (in a pattern, if desired). 

American Pie Crust (1 crust)
1 C. flour
1/3 C. shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 tabl. cold water

After demonstrating the technique, Terry had Candy and I make our own crusts for fruit pies.  Candy made a cherry one with canned pie filling.  I chose to make Apple Pie and used Terry's recipe:

Apple Pie
6 C. of peeled and sliced Macintosh Apples (approx. 6 large apples)
1 C. sugar (I would cut to 1/2 C. next time.)
3 tabl. flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt

Prepare apples and mix ingredients into them.  Spoon into unbaked pie crust.  Place second pie crust on top.  Bake at 425 for approx. 40-50 minutes or until browned and juices are bubbling.

In addition to our quiche and the delicious crusty rolls that Terry provided, I had made up Pear Parfaits earlier in the morning to round out lunch after our work:

Pear Parfaits

1 1/2 C. vanilla yogurt
1/4 C. powdered sugar
2 cans (15 1/4 oz. each) sliced pears, well drained
1 1/4 C. cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (approx. 7 whole crackers)

Combine yogurt and sugar.  Place three to flour pear slices in each of four parfait glasses; top each with 2 tabl. of cracker crumbs and 2 tabl. yogurt mixture.  Repeat layers.  Garnish the top of each with a pear slice.  Refrigerate until serving.

Next lesson?  Sweet pastry for fruit tarts.  Can't wait!

No comments: