I would like to know if anyone has any advice on how to make a pie
crust that is flaky and easy to prepare. I've just starting to do
more baking and I am not familiar with many tips on pie crust recipes.
There are two qualities that people look for in pie pastry. It should be
flaky and tender. Flakiness comes from bits of fat in the dough.
Tenderness comes from low gluten development. Both of these qualities are
enhanced from keeping mixing to a minimum. I prefer to make pie pastry in
the food processor, although you can make it in a bowl using a pastry cutter
or two knives to cut the fat into the flour. I like to use 6 oz ( 14
tablespoons) of butter and 4 tablespoons of shortening for the fat. It is
important to keep the fat (especially the butter) very cold. I use 1 1/2
cups of all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cake flour. The cake flour is low in
proteins that produce gluten.
For the food processor method:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks butter) very cold (preferably frozen) cut into
4 tablespoons shortening, very cold
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk - optional
2 tablespoons of sugar if making a sweet pastry
1/4 cup water, and more if need
Put the flour, salt, and sugar if using, into the FP bowl and pulse a few
times. Add the cold butter and pulse about 6 times. Add the shortening and
egg yolk. With the FP running, slowly add the water until the dough forms
lumps about the size of walnuts. Stop the FP and dump the mixture onto the
counter. Bring the dough together. Divide into two pieces and flatten each
into a disk. Wrap with plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to
2 days. May be frozen at this point.
If making by hand, mix the flour and salt. Using a pasty blender (pasty
cutter) or two knives, cut the butter and shortening into the flour. It
should resemble coarse meal. Slowly add the water while mixing with a fork.
When it is uniformly moist, bring it together and proceed as above.
Making pie pastry takes some practice so don't be discouraged if it isn't
perfect at first.
-------------- * Easy Recipe Deluxe Export Format 1.3 * --------------
Title: My Never Fail Pastry
Category: Pastry; Peagram; Family
Yield: 4 Servings
Preparation Time: 0:00
Cooking Time: 0:00
[Amount] [Measure] [Ingredient (or Header)] -- [Preparation]
---------- ------------ ----------------------------------------------
*********************** MMMMMMM BY H. PEAGRAM ***********************
1 lb Shortening
5 cup Flour
2 tsp Salt
1 medium Egg
1 tbsp Vinegar
Beat egg in measuring cup. Add cold water to measure 1 cup. Add 1
tbsp vinegar. Put 1/2 dry ingredients in processor. Add liquid,
about 1/2 cup while processing til mixture forms a lump. Repeat.
Combine 2 lots and let rest for 30 minutes or more. Make pie crusts
as usual. I prefer using a heavy pastry cloth.
- - - - - - - - - - -
My family has loved my pie crust for years. I use a 50/50 mix of cake
and AP flour.....and I use only LARD. I just don't tell them! The
secret is Frozen cut lard pieces going into the food processor, and Ice
Water. I divide into 2, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at
least a full hour before working.
If making a fruit pie, like apple, cherry, etc; before putting the
fruit into the crust, lay down a thin layer or peach or apricot
preserves. This will keep the fruit juice from going down into your
crust, making it soggy, before it bakes.
I tired lard and it did go well. The only lard I could find was some in a
box like butter comes in. Maybe if the lard was frozen it would have worked
better, but the stuff was at room temperature and melted virtually upon
touching it. I know that I had elderly family members who make lard crusts
and I doubt that they froze the lard first. Did I buy the wrong type of
lard or were the problems due to my technique? I make a pretty good crust
"Vox Humana" wrote in
Vox, you always offer such wonderful and detailed advice. I recall you
having posting this before and, although I've always made great pie
crust, began following your method. Now my crusts are even better!
"Vox Humana" wrote in
You're correct that our elders would not have frozen the lard. However,
they were probably using a somewhat different type of lard called "leaf
lard". It has a much firmer texture and, aside from that, simply make a
better crust. Unfortunately, leaf lard is rather difficult to find. You
might check with you butcher and ask if they can get it for you.
My grandmother taught me to cut your fat in twice: first time like cornmeal
(for tenderness) and the second time to pea-size (for flakiness).
Everything (even flour if possible) should be cold, cold, cold.
I like to use 1/3 butter, 1/3 shortening and 1/3 lard. Lard makes the
flakiest crust, so I add it in for the second cut.
BTW, remember if using margarine to use the stick kind, not the whipped.
Thanks. I can't take much credit for this as it is basically Julia Child's
recipe from "The Way to Cook." I have tried a lot of different recipes and
techniques and this one seems to have the best combination of flavor,
flakiness, tenderness, and ease of handling.
I would add that not all stick margarine is equal. Some is only 65% fat
while butter is about 80% fat. That said, I can't see any reason to use
margarine. I would just use shortening (regular or butter flavored) since
margarine is basically shortening with water, color, flavoring, and other
assorted things added depending on the brand.
On Wed, 15 Oct 2003 05:43:24 GMT
Manteca is 'stabalized' lard. In summary, it's hydrogenated so it's
more solid at room temperature, and somehow treated so that it doesn't
require refrigeration either. It's common in mexican food. Or at least
it used to be. I know a lot of people who argue that flour tortillas
just aren't the same without it.
90% of the problem is skill and practice. Making a crust flaky isn't
difficult once you've done it enough, but without some practice and skill,
risks failure even though the directions are simple. The basic idea:
Cut (solid) fat into flour using a pastry cutter or 2 knives. This means
use literally a cutting motion through the fat, which you've dumped into
the flour, not a stirring motion. You can lift the flour over the fat, but
not stir it.
Don't proceed too far with cutting. The mixture should still be very uneven
and not fully blended when you stop. I aim for a mix resembling coarse
breadcrumbs mixed with peas.
Do everything gently. This means don't apply much force at any point, in
Use lard for flakiness. The best is leaf lard you've rendered yourself.
Next best is leaf lard that you've bought. Supermarket brick lard will work
OK but is not an ideal choice.
Not all the fat need be lard. In fact, it's best if it isn't. Half lard,
half butter works better because the flavour is almost infinitely better.
Once you get skilled, you can use all butter, but this will require working
quickly and being very careful.
Don't skimp on fat ratios. I've used a ratio of 2:5 fat : flour for some
time, and in fact 1:2 is less risky if you've not got plenty of practice.
After you've cut in the fat, add water. Add only just enough that it will
barely hold together when you press it gently. Adding too much water is
your ticket to an iron crust. You'll probably think you haven't added
enough the first time you make a crust. It's best to add a tablespoonful at
a time, staying on the low side initially.
Roll gently as well. It should roll with *no* pressure at all on the pin.
The weight of the pin itself should do the job. Your hands should guide the
pin only. This means the best way to do it is to cradle the handles rather
than grip them.
Keep everything cold. This means chill fats, flours, and water before
making, and chill bowls, boards, pins, knives, etc. Work quickly and in a
cool room. If you're making a 2-crust pie, put the ball for the top crust
in the fridge while you roll the bottom.
Again, practice, practice, practice. Take stock of what you did for each
pie and make note of the results. That way you can find what works and what
Eric Jorgensen wrote in
As if by magic, I happened onto some at Walmart tonight. I didn't buy it
so I don't know the consistency. However, the hydrogenation process may
very well make it firm enough to use without freezing.