Monday, May 7, 2012

For Mom's Day...aka tips on how to make decent pie crust in Utah

We celebrated Mother's Day early and the item my beloved mother wanted me to bring to dinner was my famous Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie  This pie has reached legend status in my house.  I was only too happy to make it.  Being mostly low-carb means any occasion to eat something full of sugar is something to be savored and enjoyed...especially if it means you get to eat mass quantities of chocolate and fat along with the sugar.  Yay! 

Do not get me started though on the fact that my parent's evil dog Kona decided to enjoy homemade chocolate pudding pie along with us...right then.  I couldn't figure out who would have scooped out a good portion of just the pudding out of the pie...My parent's dog is ginormous.  Only she would have been so wicked.

Oh yes, this is the pie I am speaking of.  Husbands and children....make this for the mothers and wives in your will not regret it.  You may not know this...but here's a secret...women like chocolate.  I'm going to go a bit further and say almost everybody likes chocolate.  This is chocolate personified.  Yummy!

Okay, so if you want the recipe for homemade chocolate pudding pie, please refer to the link above.  In this post I am going to discuss pie crusts a bit.  Specifically how to make pie crusts in Utah.

Utah is a desert, so the typical pie recipe that calls know, a tsp of water is not going to work here.  So, let's just own up to the dry air that everybody likes to talk up when it's 150 F. outside and how much better dry heat is than humid heat and learn how to make a decent pie crust.  I have adapted this dough and technique from Pam Regentin and her tutorial on The Pioneer Woman and have made it suitable for a dry locale. 

Let me also say that I have tried every possible variation on pie crust and this is the winner hands down.  I have used vodka instead of water, a la America's Test Kitchen.  I have used Shortening.  I have used all butter.  I have frozen my pie dough before rolling it out.  So, just know after much trial and error...this is the dough.

Pie Crust for a desert Clime...aka Good Pie Crust in Utah
***this recipe makes two crusts so you can either make two 1 crust pies or make a pie with a top

2 1/2 C. flour, separated into two amounts.  2 cups and then to be used a bit later 1/2 C.
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. to 1 Tbl. Sugar.  This is something you need to think about yourself.  If you feel your pie is very sweet, then use less sugar.  If you feel it is very sour...use more.  If you're making a savory pie, don't use it at all.
3/4 C. Cold butter cut into cubes
1/4 C. Cold Crisco or lard cut into cubes...or as close as you can get
1/2 C. Cold Water.  Take a bowl, fill it with water and throw in some ice cubes....but make sure you don't have any of the ice cubes in the measuring cup before you sprinkle it in the dough...just water.

In a food processor, add the 2 C. flour, salt and sugar and pulse until mixed.

Add the butter and the shortening and pulse until it resembles course crumbs.  This is a tricky step.  It took me a long time to figure this one out.  Some people say peas...well, it sure doesn't look like any peas I've ever seen.  Course bread crumbs is a good way to describe it.  The fat's going to start pulling the dry ingredients together a bit. 

Add the rest of the flour, the reserved 1/2 C and pulse 3 times.

Add the water in increments while pulsing.  You will probably need a touch less than 1/2 C. But it really depends on how dry it is the day you're making pie.  Once the dough appears to be holding together a bit...just a bit then you know it's probably good.  Try really hard not to over mix.   It'll look kind of like this.  I mean, that doesn't look at all like dough, right?  That looks terrible.  Until you take a handful and it does this...

Now that's more like it.  Dough.

At this point, I use my trusty scale and make sure I get equal weights for my two crusts. 

Dump one portion out on some parchment paper and form it into a disc. 

Put another piece of parchment on top and start rolling it out.  You want it to be quite thin, and large enough to fit in your pie plate with some left to hang over for a lovely scalloped edge...good luck on that one.  My scallops leave something to be desired...but at least it tastes good.

You can place your pie plate on the dough to make sure you're getting the proper side.

Now, this part is important, because you are not adding any extra flour while you are rolling out your dough, it is going to make your dough flaky and tender due to the butter and Crisco or lard...ahem...just buy the lard if you want to try it.  If it was good enough for our ancestors, it's good enough for us.  But, because there isn't any extra flour on the parchment, it is possible for your dough to stick.  So very carefully remove the top piece of parchment and then put it back on.  If it is sticking terribly...then sprinkle a light amount of flour.  Flip the parchment over and do the same on the other side... except your don't need to put the parchment back on because you're going to flit it now.   Now you're ready to put it the dough in your pie plate.  Just lift it up and put the non-parchment side in the plate and carefully remove the piece of parchment still attached.

If you do a terribly great job of putting dough to plate, just carefully slide it into place. 

Now at this point you can either par-bake or prepare your filling.  If you are going to par-bake, I just simply re-use the parchment used for rolling out the dough, place it carefully over the dough in the plate and then fill with un-cooked beans.  This helps to weigh it down so your crust doesn't poof and shrink and all kinds of terrible things.

If you are going to bake the pie crust with the filling in, then just go with whatever directions your pie calls for in regards to temperature and time.

Now, go make pie.  It's an American Tradition and so good if the pie crust is awesome.  Your Mom will love you if you do...she'll probably love you if you don't...but a little extra love is always a good thing.

Thanks for reading!


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