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Pie crust question

Posted by tracey_oh (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 5, 12 at 13:52

Ok, pie crust is my nemesis. It pains me greatly because I love all things baking but stupid pie crust gets me every time. When I'm attempting to roll it out, I never seem to have enough and then when I get it in the plate, I don't have enough. My question is, what type of flour is best for crust? I keep on hand King Arthur all-purpose and cake flour. I'm not opposed to buying something else but I'd prefer to use what I have. Any tips, especially on the flour issue are greatly appreciated!

Tracey


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pie crust question

Here is a good thread on pie crusts. I use the vodka recipe that Nancy posted in that thread, although I sometimes use 1/8 whole wheat pastry flour. I find that the Vodka makes more of a difference than whether you use pastry flour vs all purpose flour.

Lars


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RE: Pie crust question

Yeah, you should buy something else: regular bleached all-purpose flour. King Arthur unbleached is likely to trip you up with gluten development. Cake flour's not right either.
If you don't have enough dough, make a bigger recipe. If I'm making a two-crust pie, I sometimes double the recipe for a one-crust just so I have extra. That's usually 3 cups of flour rather than 2 1/2 or whatever.
Remember to let the dough relax in the fridge before you try to roll it out. And roll from the center out.


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RE: Pie crust question

I use supermarket AP flour for pie crust.....and the vodka recipe.
and one of the hardest things is "stretching" a pie crust. I can often be so stingy that I make a double recipe and make a 10 inch pie....then try to get a little 6 inch crust out of the leftovers!...tear!! Paste! Gnash teeth!....not worth it!!

Roll gently...one way....not push/pull....but push, turn the board and push again....have enough flour under the crust and on your pin so it doesn't stick.....and use a pastry brush to brush it off if it worries you after the crust is in the pan.

It's a knack....like flipping an egg....once you get it you will never forget.
Linda C


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RE: Pie crust question

Thank you....I had saved that thread but forgot to reference it! I decided since I have the time, I will play around with this. I wanted a pie crust like right now so I went ahead and tried once with the cake flour. I used a bit of vodka but I already have my doubts. It seemed so dry and crumbly when I gathered it up and I had already put extra water in it. Grrr.....hopefully I can play around with them enough to get the hang of it. If I can make bread, cake, and cookies then I should be able to get a fix on this.

Tracey


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RE: Pie crust question

I store my vodka in the freezer. It helps to have all ingredients for pie crust as cold as possible. Work fast so the dough doesn't warm up. Not only does that help with rolling but also makes a flakier crust. Too much handling will add up to disaster every time.

I often use KA unbleached flour, no problems that I can see but I will agree that a softer wheat is probably better for the challenged... I mean that in the kindest way :)

Nancy


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RE: Pie crust question

I use KA all purpose for most things including pie crust. I just finished rolling out two 12" apple pies. I use a simple basic recipe (2.5 cups AP flour, 8 oz butter, about 1/3 cup ice water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, no vodka). But I use half leaf lard, half butter when I have the lard on hand. I used to render it myself when I lived in New England, here in the Southwest I'm finding it hard to locate sources.

I make my pie crust in the processor, and make multiple batches when I have the time. With T'giving coming up I made 4 batches over the weekend. It freezes well, so anything left over from TG will be handy for Christmas.

Cheryl


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RE: Pie crust question

All I can add Tracy is I feel your pain! I am so dreading pie season! :)


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RE: Pie crust question

Ok this is what it looks like after about an hour in the fridge. Aaarrrrgh! Can I do anything with it?


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RE: Pie crust question

If you can't press it together, it needs more liquid. Don't hold yourself to the amount in a recipe, just use what you need to get there (but not more).


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracy, I'd crumble it up and sprinkle with a little more water. Toss it a little and then put it back in your plastic wrap. Give it a little time in the refrigerator, then try rolling. Try about a Tablespoon of water...it won't take much.

Nancy


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RE: Pie crust question

Yep....more water......I would start with 1 teaspoon....and add another if it's still not hanging together....and add another if you need to
What recipe are you using?....Remember....flour is a variable thing...it packs or it fluffs, it absorbs moisture from the air or stays dry in arid conditions.
Add water ( or vodka) enough to make it hang together well...
I mix my salt and flour....then cut in my butter or lard or whatever...using a pastry blender or the Cuisinart. Then I toss that with a little water....sprinkle it on top and toss the flour....add more water and toss some more...until if comes together and doesn't crumble.....then wrap and refrigerate.


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RE: Pie crust question

I agree with the other posters that you need more water. I use KA AP flour and all butter for my crust. I find the KA flour seems to need more liquid than the Gold Medal flour I used to use.

I do find that making the crust and letting it sit in the fridge for a while before I roll it out helps a lot.

Good luck!


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RE: Pie crust question

Ok, I added more water and its in the fridge again. I will let you know how it goes. The recipe I used was 6.25 oz of flour, a stick of butter, 1/2 t salt, 1 T sugar, and 2 T each vodka and water. The cake flour was probably not my smartest decision but like I said before, this is just for practice!

Thanks to all!!


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracey, I use SharonCB's Never Fail Pie Crust, and I like it a lot. However, as mentioned by prior posters I often make a little "extra" dough rather than try to stretch a batch into a deep dish pie plate.

I use King Arthur all purpose vfor nearly everything, including bread and pastry, I would have used that instead of the cake flour, but I think you'll be all right with the additional liquid.

I better get busy, I don't think I've made a pie in months!

Annie


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RE: Pie crust question

a couple tips on pie crust. If you will freeze your stick of butter it is way easier to deal with. You can then do one of three things. Either pick it up with a cloth and quickly grate it on your large hole grater in to your ice cold flour, or use your grater on your food processor with your ice cold flour in the bowl. You can also cut the butter in to tiny cubes while it is frozen and toss with the cold flour and then place the bowl in the freezer to wait till you are ready to make the crust.

I bet you see a trend here...have it ALL ice cold. The action of making the crust warms it up plenty fast and is a hindrance to good crust. The other thing you can do for a wonderfully flaky pastry type crust is use buttermilk. The acid makes it so beautifully crisp.

When you make biscuits you should do the same thing. Have everything ice cold and the butter shaved or diced into the ice cold flour and place it all, in the bowl in your freezer till you are ready to toss it all with your buttermilk. Good Luck ! c

Oh also the rule of thumb for pie crust is 1 c flour and 1/3 c butter/shortening for each 9" crust.


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RE: Pie crust question

I would love to get my hands on some leaf lard for pie crust! I thought about using the Nathan's recipe Annie but since I didn't have lard I didn't know how it would go. I am seriously in awe of all the pies some of you produce. Thanks for the reminder to chill everything, not just the butter. I failed to to do this but I will remember in the future.

Ok, confession time. I ended up making an oil crust (no roll) for tonight's sweet potato pie. I have the other crust in the fridge and I think I will try to bake it up tomorrow. I found a recipe in my old Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book called Date Caramel Pie.

Here's the no roll crust.


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RE: Pie crust question

Oh forget the pie crust and just drink the vodka.

I never have luck with pie crust either.


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracey, I don't usually have lard either, I'm picky and only want good fresh stuff, so I usually use butter instead.

I'd use the vodka pie crust recipe, but I don't ever have vodka, no one drinks it except Mother and now she's in her 70s even she would rather have a glass of wine. Whatever happened to those little pint bottles of booze anyway, I only find the big bottles, all in metrics now, they used to be a fifth. Of course we don't have a liquor store here in town, except for the Wesco gas station, LOL.

Annie


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RE: Pie crust question

Lol Annie, we are not drinkers so the vodka I bought (on ladies day at the local liquor store-15% off) has been used so far to make some homemade vanilla, in my ice cream recipes to keep it from getting rock hard, and now in the pie crust. Good thing it doesn't go bad cause it's taking me awhile to use it!

Tracey


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RE: Pie crust question

Pam, that is how I feel every time I attempt it! Drives me batty.

Tracey


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RE: Pie crust question

And the nightmare continues...ripping and cracking. Really?


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracey, this is the recipe I use for all my pies. It is very versatile. More often than not I use 100% butter.

I use a box grater to grate in the butter. Makes for a very flaky, tender crust.


Butter-Lard Pastry
==================
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup lard (or shortening- Crisco)
5 to 6 tablespoons of ice water, or more as needed

(note: if using for a sweet pie, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar.)

Mix flour with salt, and cut in butter and lard.

You can cut the butter/lard in using the food processor or with a
pastry blender.

Or you can use a box grater for the butter. (My preferred method)

Put flour mixture in bowl and add water mixing with a fork until pastry
comes together. Form in to a ball and cut in two pieces. Form each
into a round flat disc and refrigerate for 1 hour.

NOTE: Can be made with all butter


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RE: Pie crust question

Thank you Ann! Do you happen to have a tutorial on pie crusts with step by step pictures? I need it!

Tracey


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RE: Pie crust question

No you don't Tracey. You can do it. Pastry is one of those things, that just takes a little practice. Just because a recipe calls for 6 or 8 tablespoons of ice water, doesn't mean that you won't have to add 10 or 12 or whatever, to get the right feel. A lot depends on the ingredients, different flours, differences in lard, shortening and butter. And I'm sure weather probably plays a part as well.

I add the butter, grating it in with a box grater and then use a fork to quickly blend the flour and water. You might have to add more water if some of the mixture doesn't start to hold together. Once it all starts to basically come together with the fork, just dump it out to a floured surface and quickly gather it together, and flatten into a disk. I cut the disc in two and quickly shape/flatten again and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

The secret to great pastry starts with adding enough water so that the dough comes together and will roll out easily and not over handling the dough.

Pastry is really quite easy. Just don't psyche yourself out.

Ann


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RE: Pie crust question

I think vodka has a virtually unlimited shelf life. Tracey I have just a couple of words for you--"Pillsbury Premade Pie Crusts." They have lard in them and you can make yourself a screwdriver while you watch the pie bake. Never look back!! :)

Yes, yes, I do it the "real" way too, once and a while.


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracey, I actually think you are on the right track. The crust looks very good, texture wise. You just needed that extra water you added. The problem now is it looks like you got a little too aggressive with the rolling out. It's too thin. The way it pushed out and cracked at the edges is common. When it first starts to happen just kind of cup your hands and gently push to make it a bit rounder again. Just take your time rolling it out. You can start from the middle and turn the silpat a bit with each stroke. Just roll out toward edges and not back and forth. Again, don't need to make it quite so thin. Keep trying. I think you're quite close. Actually, I think you're there, you just don't know it yet. LOL.


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RE: Pie crust question

Use a light touch with the rolling pin, you might be pressing too hard. Wish I could be standing there with you.
I grew up watching my DM and GM making pies every weekend. When I was old enough my DM gladly turned the job over to me, no instruction needed, I think I learned through osmosis... :)

Just keep doing it and do it as often as you can for awhile. It won't take that long before you'll know when the dough is wet enough and the rolling is automatic. That's really all there is to it. The vodka recipe allows you to work with a wetter dough without sacrificing flakiness.
Just remember....light touch.

Nancy


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RE: Pie crust question

I have real good success with making an apple Crostata, compliments of Ina Garten. I'm busy right now, so I can't post the recipe, but I will later this evening, or you can google it. It's very forgiving, because there's no lifting into a pie plate. It's made with all butter and so rich and flaky!!


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracey, it looks like my pie crust does every time I try to roll it out on a Silpat!

I also think you tried to get it a little too thin, make it thicker and round up those edges like coconut suggested before you get it all rolled out. Don't mess with it too much, it'll get too warm to deal with if you're making a traditional crust. I roll the Nathan's pastry warm, I don't even chill that.

Anyway, I also think you're "there", you just need a little practice on the rolling technique. Use that one as the bottom crust, you can patch it and no one will know.

Annie


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RE: Pie crust question

Thank you all for the encouragement! Ann and Nancy, I wish you were standing here too! I think I'm going to pitch this one and start again. It tastes pretty funky with the cake flour. I am so used to unbleached flour that the cake flour has a tang to it. Jasdip, I definitely will look up the crostata. I probably should have started with someting like that! Annie, you are right about the silpat! I use it all the time for fondant but this pie dough stuck like glue. But unless I roll it directly on my counter it's the only thing I have that's big enough.

Tracey


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RE: Pie crust question

Hi Tracey,
Here is a picture of a crostata. It could be my pic, mine look exactly like this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ina's Crostata


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracey, try flouring the silpat just a little. I know you don't want to add much extra flour, but it will help. I roll mine right on my counter, then just roll it around my rolling pin and unroll it into the pan. Amanda has better luck folding it in half, then in half again, and unfolding it in the pan or atop the pie.

jasdip, I've also made crostata, Elery loves them because he likes the crust. I don't like the crust, I only like the filling. Lots of it, so it's all deep dish for me and Elery always gets the extra crust around the edge of mine, LOL.

Annie


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RE: Pie crust question

If not a silpat, what is the preferred portable surface for rolling out pie crust? Wood, marble, something else? I have a teflon-type large cutting board that doesn't work well at all, too much texture. I have tile counters with too much texture and an oak table that is varnished so neither of those seem like good choices.

The mat in the link has the good reviews.

Eileen

Here is a link that might be useful: This?


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RE: Pie crust question

In our previous home, we had soapstone countertops. Those are the BEST surface for pastry! In our current home, the counters are tiled so rolling on these doesn't work well. I'm also suspicious of what might lurk in the grout. So I use my big Silpat with a light dusting of flour. It works for me.

Cheryl


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RE: Pie crust question

I like parchment best because it can be folded up easily to transfer the crust and with a little flour the crust won't stick.

This is probably redundant, but to make great pie crusts, just make more! In other words, practice! Then you will know the deep, dark secrets of the pie world.

The reason cooks like the vodka recipe is because it is so forgiving. With butter/shortening crusts, the dough Must be kept cold at all times. When the dough starts to even get close to room temp., I slide a cookie sheet under the parchment and pop the whole mess in the freezer. As I cut out leaves, or whatever decoration I want on top of the pie, they go on a plate to be popped in the freezer immediately.
The cold, cold, cold thing can't be underemphasised with regular pie dough (butter, shortening or lard)
Cracks are ok, warm is not.

With the addition of the vodka, however, something magical takes place.
the dough can be rolled out a little warmer, it becomes like play dough, and has no cracks. It is satisfying and easy to work with.
But when cooked, the vodka evaporates and creates those beautiful layers and flakiness. If you used regular pie crust and rolled it out warm, you would get leather.

All that said, I still am obsessed with keeping pie dough cold. Very cold. Cracks can be turned under for the crust.
I always make about 3 times more dough than the recipe calls for, I want lots of wiggle room. The dough can be frozen anyway so it doesn't go to waste.
(make a disc, wrap in lots of plastic and a freezer bag)

However, I experienced the real beauty of the vodka dough one day when I let the dough get crazy warm. I was sure the crust was ruined. But it turned out great! Flaky, and just as perfect as using stiff, cold dough.


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RE: Pie crust question

I agree, Tracey, you are there, but tried for too thin or needed more flour on the SIlpat. But clearly you've got it! I can see the butter in areas, and that is the sign of a good flaky crust.

I actually prefer to roll my crust on a large wooden cutting board that I only use for bread or pastry. I add a couple of spoonfuls of flour, spreading it across the board with my hand, then store the excess flour in one corner.

Don't lose faith, you can do it!


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RE: Pie crust question

Okay, I promise I will try this again in the next few dys and report back. Thanks for all the suggestions and encouragement!

Tracey


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RE: Pie crust question

Tracy, I used to use the vodka recipe (but not in the food processor) and at first it was great. For some reason, I started having trouble with it. Now I use Ann T's sour cream pastry recipe. It makes a little more crust so it is not so hard to get enough for two crusts. Also, refrigeration helps, but if you refrigerate too long it is harder to roll out. Here is the recipe:
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. sour cream
2 Tbs ice water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup chilled butter
1/2 cup chilled shortening
Combine sour cream, water, sugar, and salt. Set aside. Cut butter and shortening into flour. Add sour cream mixture and stir with fork until dough forms. Form into balls and flatten. Chill for one hour. Makes two crusts.

Good luck. It is all about experience. Just keep at it and you will become good.

Sherry


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RE: Pie crust question

I use a hunk of corian about 22 by 30 as my work board. Works for cut out cookies, pies and quantities of cinnamon rolls. It's easy to tip into the sink and scrape off with a bench scraper, wipe down and store away.

When you start to roll your crust ( which is cold, shaped into a disc, and in a plastic bag), rub some flour on your board. Start from the center with your pin and roll one way to the edge. TURN THE DOUGH.....if it's sticking, un stick it from the board with a long pancake flipper and put a little more flour under it. The dough should at all times move freely on the board....once it sticks, then it tears as you roll it. Flour your pin now and then too.
OK you have turned the dough again push away from the center, turn the dough (1/4 turn each time) and again away from you starting at the center.
Repeat, making sure the dough is NOT sticking, turning 1/4 turn each time until the dough is large enough and thin enough. Then roll it around your pin and unroll onto the pie dish. Lift the edges and shape into the pan....cut around the edge about 1/2 inch larger than the pan and crimp the edges.
When making a 2 crust pie, always crimp the edges of both crusts together, with the bottom crust over the edge of the top....so any bubble ups don't drip out.

Try again....add more flour to your board as you are rolling and don't try to roll it out all at once.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cat Cora rolling a crust.


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RE: Pie crust question

Haven't made a pie crust for ages, but when I did always used Crisco and North Dakota brand flour. Made with durham wheat and they turned out good.


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