Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Basic Pie Crust

Eager to try my new Spectrum Organic Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening, I used it in a pie crust. The resultant crust was a success!

Ingredients (For a 9-inch double crust):

2½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup Spectrum shortening (138 grams; 1 tbsp=13g)
1/2 cup butter (120 grams; 1 tbsp=15g)
6 to 8 tbsp. ice cold water

1    Sift together flour and salt.

Note: Refrigerating the flour before use will keep the dough cold as you work with it. It's also a good idea to use cold butter and shortening. If you store your shortening at room temperature, I recommend measuring the amount you intend to use prior to refrigerating it. Shortening (especially Spectrum's product) is brittle and is easier to scoop and press into a measuring cup when it's at room temperature. Or you could just weigh it.

The colder you keep the fat, the more intact you keep the pieces of fat. (They don't melt as much as you handle the dough.) These whole pieces of fat will wedge between layers of dough as you roll, creating flakiness in the final product.

2    Cut shortening into flour mixture. Use a food processor, a hand-held pastry blender, or two knives. Whatever you use, don't overmix. You should still see clumps of fat about the size of a large green pea when you're done.

Note: A pastry blender with blades (on the left), is more efficient for cutting into cold, hard shortening than one with wires (on the right).

3    Sprinkle cold water over the crumbled dough one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork between additions.

4    Gather the dough into a ball. If it's still too crumbly, toss in a few more tablespoons of cold water. Flatten the ball into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Note: The dough should be crumbly, don't keep adding water just to create a cohesive ball. (Water is the scourge of good pastry.) If it's just too unwieldy, collect the crumbles onto a piece of plastic wrap and fold the wrap up and around the dough to form a ball. Some gluten will form during refrigeration, making the dough more cohesive and easier to handle later.

5    Unwrap the refrigerated dough. Cut into two fairly equal pieces. Rewrap one piece and place it back into the refrigerator. Place the other piece lengthwise onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Cover it with another sheet of plastic wrap. (You'll be rolling through plastic wrap.) Roll it into an oblong approximately 9 by 12 inches. Fold ends towards middle (as you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope). Roll this a few times to flatten. Fold opposite ends toward middle. Roll to flatten. You should have about an 8-inch square when you're done. Wrap this with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat the rolling procedure with the remaining piece of dough.

Note: Manang has an excellent pictorial representation of the plastic-wrap roll on her site.

Plastic-wrap roll trick: Peel the wrap off and replace it periodically as you roll (both top piece and bottom piece) to prevent stretching the dough instead of rolling it. (Stretching will produce a tougher pastry.)

6    Prepare your pie filling while the dough cools.

On to my apple pie...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

2012 - Just found this recipe. I'm good with pie crust but was never happy with my results with the Spectrum; until now. This crust was divine. Crispy, tender, flaky.. everything just right. Thank you!