Holiday Baking – Homemade Pie Crust (it’s easier than you think!)
There is one simple recipe that will make any holiday a breeze. You make it once, store it in the refrigerator or freezer, and can use it in a dozen different ways: pie dough.
We know, this sounds like something many of you would NEVER attempt on your own. Working with dough is messy and only “professional” chefs do that, right? We are here to dispel that myth! Homemade pie dough is not only easier than you think, but the taste and quality is incomparable to chemical-laden, store bought alternatives. Homemade dough is incredibly versatile too.
Instead of fussing with a rolling pin, press chunks of the dough into a pie plate and fill with your favorite fruit or meat mixture. For something more rustic, create a free-formed pie by rolling dough into a ¼-inch thick, 12-inch round. Place fruit filling directly in the middle and fold the edges of the dough up and over the filling.
The perfect pie dough is characteristically an oxymoron — flaky, crispy, layers compress under your teeth and melt into a tender, tasty bite.
An important tip for beginners: Keep it Cold:
Regardless of the fats used in any recipe, the fat must remain cold at all times. To give the fat a fighting chance in your warm kitchen, place the fat in the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes before using, chill the remaining ingredients in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before mixing, and use ice water instead of room temperature water. Cold fat will produce a flaky crust by creating small pockets of air between the layers of flour as it melts in the oven.
Servings: Makes one (1) double crust batch; top and bottom
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: Varies, depending on the filling
Allergy Info: Soy-free; contains wheat, dairy
2 –1/2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
20 tablespoons butter, frozen
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, cold
Measure all crust ingredients and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. If creating the crust by hand with a pastry blender, whisk the ingredients in a large bowl until incorporated.
Break up the butter with the food processor or pastry blender.
Add the vinegar. Add one tablespoon of water at a time, pulsing to incorporate, or blending with a pastry blender, until the dough begins to come together, but is still dry, and you see a variety of pieces of fat. The fat should be in very small pieces, medium pieces and larger pieces, but no bigger than a nickel.
Pinch some of the dough in your hand. If the dough sticks together and does not crumble in your hand, the dough is ready. If the dough does not stick to itself, add another tablespoon of water, pulse or mix, and pinch the dough together again. Repeat until the dough holds together without being overly wet. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but hold together when pinched.
Remove dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to a work surface. Divide the dough into two equal parts and gently shape into two flat round discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to two days.
No matter the filling, the dough should be baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit; the smaller the portion, the shorter the cooking time. Appetizers will need about 12 to 15 minutes, while 9-inch pies may require up to 40 to 50 minutes.