I now enter Phase II of Learn to Bake.

When I set my “learn to bake” resolution, I wanted to be able to bake a cake, a pie crust, and a not-cake-or-pie dessert. I’m pretty comfortable with cakes now, having made a two-layer birthday cake as well as vegan cupcakes recently, and I think I’m about ready to learn the intricacies of pie crust .

And, I’ll be honest, I find pastry (making it, not eating it) deeply intimidating. Unlike cake baking, I’ve never even seen anyone make a pie crust. The closest I’ve ever come was hearing my mom mention how her grandmother used to make really great pie crusts — and even if there is a pie crust gene, it’s probably a recessive one.

And so, I’m calling on you, gentle reader, to act as my own personal Wikipedia. I’ll call you… Gezellipedia.

So, give it to me straight, Gezellipedia: how do I make a pie crust?

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20 thoughts on “I now enter Phase II of Learn to Bake.

  1. I don’t like lard except in homemade tortillas. The key to really flaky, yummy pate brisee is to use ice cold water and work quickly.

    Double pie crust:
    2.5 c unbleached flour
    1 cup (2 sticks) really cold unslated butter, cut into smallish chunks
    1 teaspoon each sugar and salt
    1/2 cup ice cold water

    Whisk the dry ingredients together, add the butter, and quickly smoosh them together to form a dry mass of chunks. Add the water slowly and stir until it forms into a ballish-shape of dough. Divide it into two chunks, wrap them in plastic wrap, push it down to form flat disks, and freeze them for an half an hour to an hour. Let them thaw a bit and use a shit-load of flour when you’re rolling it out. Eyeballing the rolled-out dough to make sure it fits the pie dish becomes easier with practice (I’ve seen people use a measuring stick). Curiously, Ireally love making pie but I don’t like to eat it. Well, except for chicken pot pie. Oh, ans vanilla cream pie.

    Good luck!

  2. I can’t help with a recipe since I am still struggling to make a perfect crust myself since we had to go gluten free. I can say that if you don’t have a rolling pin, use an unopened and chilled bottle of wine to roll out your dough. Added bonus: once the pie is in the oven, you have a bottle of wine begging to be opened for those “is it too early to start drinking days.”

    Good luck and happy baking!

  3. Basic Pie Crust Dough – From the November 1993 issue of Bon Appetit (Which I totally need to xerox for you — parts of it are HILARIOUS)

    2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
    2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
    1 1/4 teaspoon salt
    5 tablesspoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening
    9 tables (about) ice water

    Sift first 2 ingredients into medium bowl. Add butter and shortening and rub with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

    Stir in enough water by tablespoons until dough begins to come together. Gather dough into a ball; divide in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.

    (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled)

    And it’s funny that Jim mentioned you, “Use a glass bottle.” because that’s exactly what I used the first time I made the crust.

    Let me know if you want the recipe of Classic Apple Pie that calls for this crust. It’s tasty and only uses 5 ingredients.

  4. OK, I may get some flack for this…but I’m a big fan of making pie dough in the Cuisinart. I use an all-butter crust, and I use Martha Stewart’s pate brisee recipe, which I’ll link later. I actually set the timer so that I don’t overwork the dough in my machine. Yes, I set the timer for 10 seconds. Actually, I set it for 12 so I have 2 second’s worth of wiggle room.And yes, I know I’m a dork.

    It so much less work and stress than making the dough by hand, and it turns out great every time.

  5. I use the Best Recipe pie dough recipe and it is very reliable and makes a remarkable workable dough. It uses a food processor for cutting in the fat, which makes things very easy. It also calls for a long series of refrigeration and freezing, most of which I ignore. Some chilling of the dough helps, though.

    Don’t worry about cracks when you put your dough down into the pie plate. They can be patched with extra dough trimmed off of the edges. Use a little bit of water to help glue the pieces together.

    If you are pre-baking a shell (as for a custard pie) and don’t have pie weights, you can put a layer of aluminum foil down and put almost anything oven safe on the foil to keep the dough weighted down. My mom used dried beans.

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