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pie crust
Posted: 18 November 2007 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am looking for a pie crust recipe that is more “elastic” than the ones I have used in the past. The recipes I have tried are delicious, but, are very hard to keep in one piece when rolling out; they tear while trying to lift. Even when folding in half before lifting to remove from the board to place into the pie plate, they tear. Anyone know of a good AND easy to manipulate- elastic dough recipe?

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Posted: 18 November 2007 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The problem with an elastic pie crust is it will probably be tough.  The gluten has been over developed and that is why it is elastic.  Much like pizza dough that we want to be chewy. Use a food processor to make your pie crust.  It is almost fool-proof and very easy. Use 2 sheets of waxed paper to roll out your crust so it does not crack.  Keep your flour in check as not to use too much as that will surely make your crust crack. Lorraine

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Posted: 18 November 2007 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I ran into a recipe last month that uses, of all things, vodka as part of its liquid. The premise is that, while gluten formation takes place in water, it is inhibited in alcohol ... so the theory is that using vodka, which is 60% alcohol, allows you to use more liquid for an easier rolling dough without the usual corresponding rise in gluten formation (which is what makes pie crust tough). Additionally, it has you blend 2/3 of the flour and butter/shortening into a paste, then pulse in the other 1/3 of flour ... the theory behind this technique is that you will always maintain the same ratio of fat-coated to uncoated flour, a huge problem when trying to achieve consistent flakiness in usual pie crust recipes.

The food scientist in me was greatly intrigued, so I took the bait.  I made my partner my homemade pecan pie using this crust recipe instead of my usual. It was very quick and easy to put together, and there was no guessing at the amount of liquid to add: it was a flat 2 T. cold water, 2 T. cold vodka. The finished dough was a bit tacky, but not sticky. After it chilled and it came time to roll, the recipe tester I used to be kept thinking, “there is just no way.” This stuff was like Play Doh ... smooth, malleable, easy to handle, and I don’t think I could have made it crack if I tried. I had it rolled and in the pie dish in record time ... I think my three-year-old could have done it.

I was convinced the crust was going to end up being as tough as shoe leather ... but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. This was the flakiest, tenderest, most beautiful pie crust I’d ever seen. I had also re-rolled the crust scraps, sprinkled them with cinnamon-sugar, and baked them for my daugher ... they were so flaky and light, they shattered when she bit into them.

Vodka.  Who knew???

Foolproof Pie Dough (recipe courtesy Cook’s Illustrated)
(makes one 9-inch double-crust pie)

2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water

Process 1-1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m intrigued by this methol of making pastry,  I think I saw mention of using vodka some where else.  I usually don’t have trouble with my pastry but I’m always open to new ideas!  One question which perhaps you can answer for me ,  you say 2T. of water and 2T of vodka in one instance but then say 1/4 cup of each in the actual recipe. Are those measurements the same and when US recipes state cups for liquids do you use the same cups that you use for dry ingredients?  As you can probably guess I am not in the US, but in the UK, but I am now into American recipes having found Rose’s books and her blog and also Dorie Greenspan’s book .  Whoever answers my queries thank you in advance, greatly appreciated. grin

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Posted: 18 November 2007 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi Tiffany ~

Thanks for this recipe.  It is very intriguing and I must try it. 

Your signature is very funny. smile

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Posted: 18 November 2007 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I use this one very regularly.  It has a funny name, and that’s the actual name that came with it, lol!
100% GUARANTEED BOMB-PROOF PASTRY

4 c. flour         ? c. water
1 T. sugar         1 T. vinegar
? t. salt         1 egg
1 3/4 c. solid shortening,
very cold (frozen, even)
In a very large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt until mixed.  Cut the shortening into big chunks and put in the bowl with the flour mixture.  Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the shortening into the flour mixture, chopping until it is very crumbly and resembles coarse oatmeal.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar and egg until blended.  Pour, all at once, into the flour mixture and toss lightly, until everything is evenly dampened and it forms a soft dough.  (DON?T MASH-YOU WANT THE SHORTENING TO REMAIN IN SMALL BITS, DISTRIBUTED THROUGHOUT THE DOUGH). With well-floured hands, form the dough into 5 equal pieces, patting them into flattish disks and flouring the outsides well.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or two before using, or freeze to use some other time.
Makes 5 individual crusts.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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jeannette - 18 November 2007 02:43 PM

... when US recipes state cups for liquids do you use the same cups that you use for dry ingredients?

jeanette,

In the US (not sure about what’s available in the UK), there are different measuring cups for dry and wet ingredients.

You fill the dry measures level with the top, scraping the top level. They look pretty much like this.

Liquid measures are usually clear, so you can look at them from the side to see the level of the liquid inside.

The 2T measure comes from making a half batch of the recipe listed above. 1/4 cup is 4 Tablespoons, so half that would be 2 Tablespoons.

I’ve used the vodka/water technique with other crust recipes, even boxed mixes, and it works great. IIRC, you want a touch of extra liquid compared to other recipes. It makes a softer/wetter dough that’s easier to roll and work with.

Here’s the half recipe.

Foolproof Pie Dough For a Single-Crust Pie
Published: November 1, 2007
For one 9-inch Single-Crust Pie

Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor?do not substitute. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (up to 1/4 cup).
INGREDIENTS
1 1/4     cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2     teaspoon table salt
1     tablespoon sugar
6     tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4     cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 2 pieces
2     tablespoons vodka , cold
2     tablespoons cold water

See Illustrations Below: Key Steps to Foolproof Pie Dough

1. Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ? cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Trim overhang to ? inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
5. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.
 

STEP BY STEP: Key Steps to Foolproof Pie Dough

1. MAKE A FAT AND FLOUR PASTE: Completely blending part of the flour with all of the butter ensures a consistent amount of fat-coated flour in the final dough.

 
2. ADD MORE FLOUR: Pulsing in the final cup of flour ensures a consistent amount of uncoated flour in the final dough.

3. ADD WATER AND VODKA: Sprinkling with water and vodka ensures even distribution. No need to skimp?unlike water, vodka won’t make the dough tough.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Anna, thank you for clarifying my response for Jeannette!  I had indeed made a half recipe for the pecan pie (referencing the 2T. measures) but gave the actual recipe for a double-crust pie smile

I hope you all try it and let me know what you think ... I personally was really impressed!

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Posted: 18 November 2007 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Anna and Tiffany, thank you both for your responses to my queries, I feel amongst friends here!  One other little thing ,if you can clear this up for me, the shortening is measured in cups, I am not sure how you do this, do you melt it first and pour it into a liquid cup measure?  I haven’t come across this method of measuring fats before, I’m slowly getting my head around measuring as opposed to weighing everything, that’s why I like Rose’s books, she gives weighing as well as measuring.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You’re more than welcome! The half recipe is actually on their website right now, with some photos of how the dough should look (rather wet).

jeanette, just scoop up some shortening and scrape it into the (dry) measuring cup and level. You want it solid, not melted.

One thing to take into consideration is measuring spoons. Are US and UK measuring spoons the same?? Some of mine have ml measurements on them in addition to the teaspoon, tablespoon, etc., descriptions, but I do wonder if things are different in the UK.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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jeannette - 18 November 2007 07:55 PM

Anna and Tiffany, thank you both for your responses to my queries, I feel amongst friends here!  One other little thing ,if you can clear this up for me, the shortening is measured in cups, I am not sure how you do this, do you melt it first and pour it into a liquid cup measure?  I haven’t come across this method of measuring fats before, I’m slowly getting my head around measuring as opposed to weighing everything, that’s why I like Rose’s books, she gives weighing as well as measuring.


No, don’t melt the shortening.  Here are a few suggestions - weigh it, pack it into a dry measure, or use a liquid measure by filling with 1 cup of water, then spoon shortening in until the level reaches 2 cups, then pour off the water and you’ll be left with 1 cup of shortening.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Anna, thankyou once more for your response, I believe UK and US spoons are now the same, and ours are marked in mls. also.  From what I’ve read in other blogs, Australia is the odd one out!  My tablespoon is marked as holding 15mls, teaspoon= 5ml.  Perhaps someone from Australia can set me straight on this.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Glad to be of assistance. smile

(The ml measurements you mention are the same as those on my spoons. BTW, I’m in the US.)

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Posted: 18 November 2007 09:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Try the pie crust recipe in the last issue of Cook’s Magazine. They use some vodka so that the dough is extremely malleable but the gluten formation is inhibited by the alcohol. The vodka evaporates during baking.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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jeannette - 18 November 2007 07:55 PM

I haven’t come across this method of measuring fats before, I’m slowly getting my head around measuring as opposed to weighing everything, that’s why I like Rose’s books, she gives weighing as well as measuring.

I grew up measuring everything by volume, but then Alton Brown and Rose helped me to see the light. Even when I’m not using a recipe that’s measured by mass, I still bake that way. The P&PB;has a great table a few pages in from the cover that has the mass of a cup of just about everything you need when baking. I consult it quite regularly when in the kitchen. In fact, one of these days, I need to take it in and make a copy of it so that I can tape it inside the cupboard doors rather than pulling th book off the shelf all the time.

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Posted: 19 November 2007 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Mitch - 19 November 2007 03:08 AM
jeannette - 18 November 2007 07:55 PM

In fact, one of these days, I need to take it in and make a copy of it so that I can tape it inside the cupboard doors rather than pulling th book off the shelf all the time.

I’ve been telling myself to do this for years…. I made the copies, but I think they’re stuffed inside the cover of my copy of the TCB.

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