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Simple All-Butter Pie Crust for Sweet or Savory Pies

Two Crusts

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (425g) white flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 20 Tbs (2.5 sticks) cold or frozen unsalted butter
  • ½ to ⅔ cups (150ml) cold water

Directions

  • In food processor, mix flour and salt
  • Cut butter into ½ inch dice and scatter on flour
  • Pulse food processor a few times until butter is pea sized. This should only take a few seconds.
  • Add half the water and pulse, then the other half the water and pulse only until mostly mixed. Dough will not come together but should look crumbly.
  • Remove dough and form into two balls or discs. Refrigerate for at least ½ hour.
  • Roll out one ball to ¼ inch thick and fit into a buttered pie pan. Pinch the edges to make it look pretty.
  • Poke with a fork in several places, cover with parchment paper, weight with pie balls or dry beans, and allow to cool in fridge for at least ½ hour.
  • For a blind-baked crust: Preheat oven to 375°. Bake for twenty minutes, then remove parchment paper and weights and bake for another 5-7 minutes until slightly brown and beginning to dry.
  • Fill and bake according to directions. You may need to cover the edges with alumnimum foil if they brown too quickly.

Semolina Pie Crust for sweet or savory pies

Makes one crust; double for two-crust pies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white flour
  • ½ cup semolina (fine corn meal also makes a nice savory crust, but be careful about burning)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 Tbs) cold or frozen unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup cold water

Directions

  • Same as above, but with corn meal you will need to cover the edges and may need to reduce baking time slightly

Olive Oil & Butter Whole Wheat Pie Crust
for savory pies, quiche, etc.

Makes one crust; double for two-crust pies

Ingredients

For pictures and step-by-step directions for a superb pie crust, see http://www.bojongourmet.com/2012/11/flakiest-all-butter-pie-dough.html.
The recipe below is easier and almost as good. For a pareve (olive oil) crust that can also be made with whole wheat flour, see http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/science/22recipehealth.html.

Ingredients

  • 1 ⅓ cup whole wheat flour (preferably white, not red, wheat) or whole wheat pastry flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ to 1 stick (¼ lb) unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch slices - cold or even frozen. Substitute olive oil for up to half the butter for a crust that is easier to work with but less flaky; goes well with a vegetable pie or a strong-flavored quiche
  • 2 Tablespoons buttermilk, yogurt or kefir (entirely optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons cold vodka or water (plus up to another 2 Tbs if not using buttermilk/yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (seems to make the dough easier to work with)

Directions

  • It's easiest with a standing mixer using the flat paddle. A food processor or by hand works too.
  • Mix flour and salt. Then add the butter pieces.
  • Mix for a short time, or pulse a few times, until the butter has been cut into pea-size pieces. This takes 30 seconds or so in the standing mixer and much less in the food processor.
  • Add the olive oil and the liquids. If you are using the mixer, you can do this with it running. In the food processor, add and then immediately pulse a few more times. In either case, mix just until the flour is moistened and lumpy. Overmixing develops the gluten and spreads the butter, which will make your crust tough.
  • Using your hands, form into a ball.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
    • Alternatively:
    • Gather dough together in a plastic freezer bag and pat it down into a small disk.
    • Smear the dough through the bag with the butt of the palm of your hand. This process (“le fraissage”) smears the butter into layers within the dough. Pat the mass into a disk the size of a small dinner plate. Close bag and put in fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Roll out the dough thinly until it is larger than your pie pan. Use a lightly floured surface. Alternatively, rolling may be easier if you place the dough between two unfloured sheets of parchment paper or leave it in its freezer bag.
  • Place in your pie pan. Make it pretty.
  • Chill in fridge for 20 minutes, then in freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Prick pie shell to stop it from ballooning.
  • If your recipe calls for "blind baking" -- a pre-baked pie shell --
    • Cover the pricked dough with parchment paper or aluminum foil, place pie weights or dried beans on top and bake 10 minutes at 425° or until beginning to dry out and turn golden.
    • Remove weights and bake another 5 minutes if the pie is to be baked again after filling, or 10-15 minutes for a fully baked shell.
  • Add filling and bake (again) according to your recipe. Place a cookie sheet under the pie pan to catch any drips!
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