Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beginner's Pie Crust--The Upcoming Pie Class This Week!--

Who doesn't adore a good pie? Pie may be the perfect food.

Tuesday at 9 AM I will be teaching a free cooking class at Preparing Wisely Store in Mesa, Arizona (144 S Mesa Drive, Mesa, AZ). We'll be making pie crust from scratch and baking it outside in a dutch oven! It should be amazingly fun! I, Chef Tess will provide you with the instruction needed to make your own homemade pies. Some from homemade mixes, and others from food storage items. This class is just in time for the holiday season! Come and learn while having a great time!

For the beginners, I am posting the directions for homemade pie crust here, along with my favorite pie crust recipe. There will, of course be a lot more recipes for pie in the next few days as we gear up for the actual class. I hope you're as excited as I am!
Did you ever see my chocolate chunk sweet potato pie with hazelnut toffee topping?

For the full story see Pie crust, but it is the one that started me down the road to being a chef and one I've held dear for that very reason. This makes two standard 9 inch pies.

For the crust you will need:

2 1/4 cup pastry flour (all purpose will work)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening (non trans fat try Spectrum brand) I use 1/2 shortening, 1/4 cup butter.
3 T cold water
3 T white distilled vinegar (trust me?)

Combine the flour and the salt in a large bowl.
I keep the fat pretty cold. Yes, if you look closely I do use some butter as well. It helps with the "mouth feel" of the crust. Buttery and not so greasy.

cut in shortening with a pastry blender. combine lightly until the mix resembles course meal or tiny peas: its texture will not be uniform, but will contain small crumbs and small bits and pieces. If you don't have a pastry blender, you can certainly use the wire whisk from your mixer.

Or, my personal favorite...the techno-chef fingers. Just make sure your hands are freezing cold. It's winter, I'm sure you can work that out.

Mmmm pea size.

I use vinegar in my crust. I have for years. It helps with the flaky texture and it actually does make an amazing crust. Gena was convinced after just one taste. Should you doubt me, please, just try it once. If you don't like it, never return to it. I doubt you'll feel that way though.

Make a well in the dry stuff and add 3 T cold water and 3 T vinegar. You may need more or less, so go with 2 T of vinegar at first...but I can't think if the last time I needed to change the recipe and add more water or vinegar than what it says.

Lightly combine, just until mixed. Over mixing the dough will always result in hard non-flake-like crust. You have been warned. I bring it together.

Kneading it only a few times and making into a ball.
Refrigerate about 30 minutes. It will be easier to work with, and it gives the gluten (protein in the wheat) time to rest so the dough will roll out easier.
Take half of the dough. With your hands form it into a patty. I put my dough between two pieces of wax paper. I've used this method since my granny W. Forever. It's never failed me. Lightly...and I do mean lightly...wipe the counter top with a lightly damp clean washcloth. Place a piece of wax paper down, about 1 foot by 1 foot. Put the dough down. Top with another piece of wax paper of same proportions. Wax paper helps contribute to a tender crust, using extra flour on the counter instead may lead to a dry crust if overdone. This keeps me good.
Totally not necessary to have a Candy-land rolling pin. Gena just has this old thing laying around so I had to use it. Totally cute isn't it?! Roll the dough out into a circle. This may take practice to get it just right. Take your time.

Once to the edges of the wax paper, remove the top piece of paper. Place crust, uncovered side down in the pan, with an inch or so of crust hanging over the edge of the pan.

Now remove the second piece of crust.
Trim the edge so it hangs over about 3/4 inch, then fold it under so it leaves a little rim on the pan. This one comes up about 1/2 inch.

I will now play the flute for your listening pleasure...pppflllkkkkiiispuutttt. Like so.
Don't expect your first pie to look this neat and tidy. I may have made several hundred pies in the course of my days. If, however, yours looks this nice, keep in mind you are a freaky genius and I don't even know what to say.

You will need a 400 degree pre-heated oven. I'm not kidding on that point either. It's really important to heat that bad boy up first. Your crust will be better. Now here's what I do. I have these magic beans see...and they go on this layer of aluminum foil, right on top of the crust. They hold the crust down when it bakes so it doesn't get air bubbles. Use the dry uncooked beans...not like a can of pork-n-beans. The dry know? Or, use the fancy pie weights...whatever.
Bake 15-20 minutes, just to make the crust nice and pre-cooked crust for pudding pies and other goodies. One of my favorites is the Hot Cocoa Cream pie but I also have a few other Pies
here on the blog. Have fun with it and remember if you need more personal instruction, I will be teaching Tuesday Morning 9AM at Preparing Wisely (144 S Mesa Drive, Mesa, AZ). Contact me, if you have any further questions about the class.
There you go! See you soon!!


mlebagley said...

I LOVE this tutorial! Great pictures that made my mouth SALIVATE. That's a sure sign of a job well done :)

Bergamot said...

Nice tutorial. I just made some tarts over the weekend. Not as great looking as yours though. I rolled it between sheets of cling film since it is so easy to handle the dough

Shellee said...

Didn't we just discuss this over brunch?

I just looked at the Hot Choco Pie and I'm now grateful that I was in the hospital over Thanksgiving and since we're having it tomorrow, I now have a pie to make that's not pumpkin: I love pumpkin, but want something different.