Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Single-Crust Pie Dough

This photo may be a bit deceiving, but I promise the pie crust is under all that quichey delicious goodness.  The quiche recipe will run tomorrow, until then you need to know how to make a pie crust.  Pie crusts can be intimidating, but it really not all that hard.  Remember that most of the work is going to be hidden by the filling so don't panic if the crust is not perfect. For me the most important part of getting a pie crust right is chilling the shortening and butter.  I chill mine in the fridge for at least a half and hour before use and I only take it out as I use it.  For the water, I but about 1/2 of water into a measuring cup and put that into the freezer.  This allows me to spoon out what I need and the water stays nice and cold. 

This crust can be used for any topless pie, or for a quiche .Some pie or quiche recipes will call for a warm or pre-baked pie crust. I will tell you how to do this in this recipe, however only do this step if you pie recipe call for a pre-baked crust or if the recipe uses the term: blind baking.

This recipe also calls for the use of pie weights.  You can purchase pie weighs at any kitchen gadget store, or you can use dried beans or rice.  I use a combination of dried beans and instant rice.  I cover them with another layer of foil to keep them from burning. You cannot use the beans or rice of cooking after they have been used as pie weights.  I keep mine in a ziploc bag marked pie weights, so that I can keep them separate from other dried beans. 

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus for for rolling out the dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces and chilled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces and chilled
4 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
  1. Process the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined.  Scatter the shortening over the top and continue to process until mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds.  Scatter the butter pieces over the top, and pulse about 10 times until well combined.  Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons of the ice cold water over the flour/butter/shortening mixture.  Using the back of a spoon or a very stiff spatula press the dough against the side of the bowl until it all comes together and begins to resemble a dough.  If the dough does not come together, add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Form the dough into a 4 inch disk, wrap it in saren wrap and chill it for at least 1 hour. 
  3. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it out in a 12-inch circle and fitting it into a pie plate.  Trim, fold and crimp the edges and freeze the unbaked pie crust until firm, about 30 minutes, before filling it or baking it.  Your pie recipe will specify if the crust needs to be prebaked, but the recipe may also use the term blind baking. 
  4. If you are pre-baking your pie crust, adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Double line the chilled crust with heavy duty aluminum foil making sure of cover the sides of the crust with foil and fill with pie weights.  Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color, about 25 to 30 minutes.  For a partially baked pie crust, remove the crust to a baking rack, remove the pie weights and foil and continue with your pie recipe.  For a fully baked crust, remove the pie weights and foil and continue baking for an additional 12 minutes. 
  5. The crust may be cooled or used immediately. 

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