Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making Pie Crust From Scratch

I was always intimidated by the thought of making pie crust from scratch. It seemed like something only a bonafide baker could do. But that is not the case! With a little encouragement from a friend, I started making pie crust from scratch and it's a piece of cake. ;) Click on "Read more" below to see my step-by-step guide from beginning to end.  

Pie crust recipes are basically all the same. Butter, salt, flour, water. Done. I use the Basic Pie Dough recipe from Lucinda Scala Quinn's Mad Hungry (aka, my favorite cookbook!) but any recipe will do. What matters is not the recipe; it's working fast and with very cold ingredients. 

The butter in the picture above is not cold enough. You can see from a few of the pieces that it is beginning to soften. So, after slicing it into cubes, I put it back in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to chill. That's one thing to remember when you're making pie crust. Yes, you can make a pie crust with ingredients just sitting in your kitchen already, and yes, you can whip up a mean quiche for dinner from odds and ends in your fridge. But remember to leave yourself time. Chilling the butter ahead takes time, then to cool the crust once it's made and finally, for the pie or quiche to cool once you pull it from the oven. Get started an hour early and you'll be feeling so Martha Stewart. Read on, it happened for me! :)
Once your butter is super cold and firm, dump it into your mixing bowl straight onto the flour.
Then without delay, start cutting the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter. I have this one but you can use a food processor if you have one, or even two knives or a fork. 
You'll have to stop periodically to get the clumped business off of the pastry cutter. No bother. Just keep on.
The desired consistency is something like this. It doesn't have to be exact. Overworking the dough will ruin it, so better to add the water too early than too late.
Pour in the super cold water. In the summer, use ice cubes in the water and then use a sieve to measure it out. In the winter, just let the tap run until it's freezing. ;)
 Continue blending until it just comes together.
 Then without delay, slap it onto a piece of saran wrap and give it a quick knead or two.
Then wrap it tightly and toss it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. An hour is best.
While it's cooling, make your filling. I found some brussel sprouts, onion and pancetta in our fridge. Loose ends that happen to make a delicious quiche are sitting in your fridge, too! I love those meals that come together without a trip to the grocery store. 
Prepare a surface to roll out your dough and then put your cooled dough on top. It's nice to have a Silpat to roll the dough on, but straight on the table works, too. When we get back to the States, I'll get a real French Silpat. For now, our little IKEA number does the job just fine.
Make sure the dough is in a ball, then give it a little push to flatten the top.
Start rolling. We don't have a rolling pin, but a clean wine bottle works just as well. Remember, you should be quick because you don't have a lot of time before the dough becomes warm and starts sticking to everything.
Once it's big enough for your pie plate, stop.
Roll the dough over the wine bottle or rolling pin to lift.
Then gently lay it into the pie plate. If there are a few spots where it doesn't quite reach, no biggie. Just pull off a piece that hangs over the edge somewhere else and patch it. You can pinch the edge into a pleasing pattern, but I'll be honest. I have never had any luck with that. Maybe I'll get there someday soon. For now, I'm happy with flaky, delicious crust without!
Stir some cheese into your filling. (Naturally!)
Then fill the crust. It doesn't need to be baked ahead or anything!
YUM!
Pour beaten eggs over the top. I used five eggs and it was perfect. Then put it in the oven for about 40 minutes on 350 F/175 C.
There it is! I do think that learning to pinch the edges of the crust will be a worthy endeavor.
We enjoyed our quiche with the most delicious salad in the world, which I'll be sharing with you soon. It was a fantastic impromptu dinner and I'll definitely be using up veggies this way from now on.
Homemade pie crust is flaky and buttery in the most to die for way. I'll never buy a pre-made crust again! Do you make your own pie crust? Any secret tips or tricks you're willing to share? ;) xo

4 comments:

  1. Looks yummy! In Zurich I always used pre-made crusts. They taste good and were super easy, probably because they aren't frozen just refrigerated. Here I always make my crust. I don't like the frozen ones that are available.

    I might have to make a quiche for dinner this week :)

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  2. wow this looks SO GOOD! can't wait to see the salad recipe especially, because I am always dying for something new to try!

    also, here is an embarrassing little story for you involving pie crust: this past Thanksgiving I made a homemade pie, using a crust recipe from a big-time food blogger. long story short- this was the WORST CRUST in the history of pie crusts! it was so bad we couldn't even cut through it because it was like rubber! and of course, now I have a reputation as a horrible baker and am forbidden from making pies at any future family parties :P

    but I really do know I can make a good pie crust because while living in CH I made one for the first time and it turned out great! And I did that whole wine bottle rolling pin thing too (maybe that was the trick? ;) hehe)

    p.s. let me know if you want the Berlin apt info and I will email it to you!! I just realized I don't think I have any contact info anywhere!

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    Replies
    1. I love your comments! Of course. :) I think a Thanksgiving crust disaster is worse than any other kind. YIKES!!! ;) Okay, just tried to email you and realized I don't have an email for you either...duh. So, I'll put an email button with my social media buttons (thank you for pointing out the lack of it) but in the meantime, you can email me on lindsey *at* swisslark *dot* com. xo

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