Originally Posted by Foamheart
Richie there is a million ways to make a pie crust, it took me forever to figure out its really simple. Just don't over think it. The two most important factors are like making sausage, keep it all cold as possible and give it time to hydrate. Everything else is person specific.
Normally I only make one crust at a time, that either a upper or lower but I have started doing two now and it seems to work. maybe because of my relaxed attitude.
2 1/2 cups of flour. Use whatever kind you want but stick with one. you'll learn with what you have that way.
1/2 Cup of butter cubed. Again whatever you normally use either salted or unsalted but be consistent. Butter adds the flavor BTW 1/2 C = 1 stick
1/2 Cup lard. Its getting easier to get these days with all the Mexican influence in the country now. Its is saturated fat, not unsaturated, hey its a pie crust containing pie, its dessert damn it. The lard makes the crust tender.
A little salt if using unsalted butter
A little sugar if a dessert crust
Really really really cold water! 1/4 to 1/2 cup, you gotta feel it sorry.
That's it for me. Some folks do vinegar to relax the molecular fiber of the flour.... <shrugs> Some folks add almond extract ( I will usually incorporate some spice herb or extract which will be highlighted in the pie filling. Tonys for savory is common.
Measure & sift your flour, salt and sugar and/or flavors into a mixing bowl. Into the reefer.
Cut your fat into small cubed, into the reefer
I keep spring water in the reefer all the time. Let all get cold. Keep it cold.
Cut the fat into the flour, a pastry knife is cheap and ever grocery store sells them. Mom used two knives, hence the word cut. It keeps your warm hands out the cold mixture. Do NOT over work. Big pieces are good too.
You can re-chill if needed or fold in 1/4 to 1/2 C of ice cold water gently. It is not supposed to be a paste. It doesn't even need to all stick together.
Cut dough ball in half, each piece press down with your hands to double the size, now cut in half and set on top the other half, with hands press down to double sided again and cut in half and stack again. Three times with each piece is enough. Press it down again and wrap in plastic wrap and return to the reefer. This is your hydration cycle. The longer it stays the better it gets. The cold again chills the fats while allowing the water to migrate thru the flour. I do over night these days.
The rest is technique, always push away with the rolling pin, look for equilateral thickness, don't roll it too thin, its good pie crust let 'em taste it! Don't forget the air vents, the eggwash makes it purdy, let it bubble over to insure the bottom crust is well done. Put a piece of tin foil under it (its like smoking I tell ya)
It just takes some practice with you using the same ingredients. Its like smoking, its nearly all done the day before in prep.
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C cold cubed butter
1/2C cold cubed lard
a little salt and/or sugar
1/4 to 12 C of ice cold water.
Its just too easy, ( of course my next 10 crusts will fail miserably from acting like I know what I am doing). BTW maybe some of the chefs can correct anything I have said wrong or improperly or even expand upon it. I would love to learn more too.
Its all about keep it cold and prep ahead.