Monday, November 21, 2011

Can’t Be Crusted: First Attempt at Homemade Pie Dough.

You may remember the post on pumpkin pies. One of those posts required a prepared pie crust, so I made my own with the readily available ingredients of flour, butter, sugar, and water. I wanted to take on the question of whether things really were “easy as pie.”  If you have a KitchenAid Mixer, it definitely makes things easier!

I once again turned to Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio for the methodology to pie dough. It’s pretty simple really, as easy as 3-2-1. Three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part ice water.

Before we get started, this will result in two nine inch crusts, so adjust as necessary. The math’s pretty simple.

Two sticks of butter is 8 ounces, making the rest of the calculation easy; you will need to use 12 oz. of flour and about 4 ounces of ice water to complete things (Note: since butter has some water in it already, you want to be very careful with the addition of it at that step). A pinch of salt and some sugar evens out this pie dough for use with desserts.

But you don’t just need a ratio, you need some technique as well. The butter is better if it is cold. I cut up the butter into three lengths, then those into three, and then finally into little cubes before placing them together loosely and into the freezer while I prepared everything else.

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To twelve oz. of flour, two tablespoons of sugar are sifted in.

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Now the hard part. Mixing everything in together gently yet thoroughly, starting with the flour and chilled butter. A very gentle stirring through with the Kitchenaid paddle attachment is how I went about it.

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Once it started to come together, I gently added two ounces of the water, before adding a little bit more as necessary. This is about as far as you want to mix things in, and the appearance seemed about right to my eyes. I may have overworked it already. At any rate, proceed carefully.

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Gently work it together into two balls. I did this by making one ball and cutting it in half.

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Flatten into disks, wrap well and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

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When you’re ready, roll it out into a 9 inch crust, if that’s what you’re using it for!

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Let me know what you think, did I totally botch it, or does it look ok?

The next post will showcase another use of pie dough. Botched or not, a careful treatment of the dough and the use of a baking stone will result in a fantastic treat in the form of a fruit tart!

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