Few desserts vare more comforting than a freshly baked fruit pie with a delicious fruit filling coveted top and bottom with a buttery pastry. Use a food processor or by hand. So into the bowl of your food processor add in all-purpose flour, to it add sugar you can reduce the sugar if you want it less sweet if you want it savoury like quiche dough just skip the sugar, add salt to it and that is it. Give it a whiz now just pulse it up until everything is mixed together. Sometimes giving it a shake to make sure it is all mixed. Now it is time for the butter some people will use shortening in the pie crust, and the advantage to that is that you get a really flaky pie crust but we will not use shortening because it is hydrogenated fat.
So to the mixture add in your cold cubed butter just toss it all in there. It is a good idea to cube your butter first and keep it in the fridge for when you are ready that way it could be nice and cold. So if you are making this by hand without a food processor, just get your dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisk then together then take your butter freeze it and use a cheese grater and just grate your butter into the flour mixture as you go so you don’t get a giant clump and when you are ready to drizzle in your ice water maybe vodka if you use it and crumble it up that you can use a knife you do not want to make the butter warm. Same steps afterwards for working the dough.
After adding the butter into the flour in the food processor pulse it up a couple of times to get a crumbly mixture like lentil-sized pieces of butter not pea-sized. If you want a really flaky pie crust you will want to have giant chunks of butter in there but if you want to make any kind of pattern a lattice, little stamped-out shapes, you want to have a more uniform pie crust. Now add in ice water like three-tablespoon and some vodka which will make the dough come together but will not hydrate your flour so it will just bake-off and you will not taste the vodka and you will not activate the gluten as much.
So pulse it up as you mix the ice water and vodka. When it is done roll it out remove the blade and set it aside carefully and damp it out right onto a pastry mart if you do not have a pastry mat you can use a parchment paper or directly on the counter. But it is advised to have something between your dough and counter because if it sticks it is annoying. Use the pastry mat to bring it together a few times and you are not going to knead it but what you are going to do is knead it just once or twice do not worry if it seems crumbly now but when you let it rest in the fridge it will all even out.
It just needs to be pressed and flatten it out to a disc and collect all of those crumbs that are aside and wrap it in plastic you do not want it to be exposed and dry out and then just chill it. You can chill it overnight if you want but at least give it one hour in the fridge. After it has chilled take it out and let it come a little bit back to room temperature but if it is super cold it will crack right away. So it needs to be chilled through but then brought back a little bit. So unwrap it and sprinkle some flours on the surface to prevent it from sticking. Use a pastry mat again it will let you lift things up manipulate it and not worry about anything.
So sprinkle the top with flour get a rolling pin and rub it with flour too and again press it and as you do this you can frequently move the dough out you will get a crack just pinch together and everything will work out. Just apply even pressure and you do not need to go the way to the edge because it makes the edge a little bit thinner than everything else and that is not what you want. Add more flour flip it upside down pinch and keep rolling add more flour to the top spread it around excess on the rolling pin. Do not rush this part to take your time. and end up with ¼ inch all the way around add a little bit of flour and flip it and keep rolling .to lift it up you can fold it into quarters or roll it into the rolling pin. Using a pie crust roll it in and try and centre it.
Next press it in so as not to scratch the dough out because it can shrink back easily and you are not going to get the pie shape that you want it will be a little bit shrunken. Trim the excess pie dough off with the scissors which are actually fine. If you want you can fold the pie crust in on itself and do a pinch with your thumb and two fingers which is the classic edge. Put it into the freezer but first, you can do a little bit more prep work so that you can toss it directly into the oven right after it has chilled properly.
Get a parchment paper and fold it up and cut out a circle and frill the edges and place it directly into the pie shell/ if you are making a no baked pie like a mousse, curd or whatever you want to blind bake the pie shell and bake the pie shell completely. When you do that you are going to give it some support. So get your paper to protect it then add in the whole heavy-duty aluminium foil contraption filled with beans or pastry weights. What will happen is after it chilled in the freezer you are going to bake it. You can freeze it overnight if you want or for 30 minutes then bake it for 15 minutes in a 425F oven and it forms a nice crust which is coming along and not melty.
Then remove the aluminium foil and the parchment paper. Then get your egg wash which is basically cream and an egg mixed in a small container you can use milk if you want instead. Brush the entire surface with the egg wash to make it nice and golden brown and give you a pretty sheen as well but it also protects the crust helps maintain its crispness if you are adding a wet filling. Pierce it with the fork to help steam escape.
Next, you are going to tint your pie crust. You can buy little pre-made metal rings to protect your pie shell but foil also works too. So measure out some foil fold in half and gently create a ring fold in to protect the edge so that it does not burn while the rest of the crust gets golden colour and really crisps up. If you do not tent your pie crust you will get a blackened really dark almost bitter tasting edge while the rest of it is nice and perfect so tenting makes a big deal.
Place it onto a baking sheet and bake it again for 10 to 15 minutes at 425F and reduce temp to 375F and continue baking rotate it if you want and keep checking it after 10 minutes. Once baked it is well backed and golden brown and you can use it with any type of filling you want it will be crunchy and delicious.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 300g, plus more for rolling
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50g
- 1/4 tsp sea salt 1g, heaping
- 1 cup unsalted butter 226g, frozen
- 3 tbsp ice water 45 mL
- 2 tbsp vodka 30mL
- 1 egg for the egg wash
- 1 tbsp cream for the egg wash
- You will need to make the pastry crust at least 30 minutes in advance
- Add the 2 1/2 cups flour, the sugar, and salt into a food processor. Give it a few pulses.
- Cut cold butter into tbsp size pieces. Transfer to food processor and pulse until the butter is cut into small lentil-sized clumps.
- Mix the ice water and vodka together in a small cup and slowly drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the ice water while pulsing processor. If the mixture doesn’t hold together when you squeezer a clump in your hand then add a bit more water and pulse.
- Transfer dough onto a pastry mat or sheet of plastic wrap and knead 2-3 times just to help it come together a bit. Gently flatten into a one-inch-thick disk, and cover in plastic wrap.
- Place in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Once your pie crust is chilled, remove from fridge and let it warm up on the counter for a few minutes, this will prevent cracking. Roll our pie crust to about 1/4 of an inch and transfer to pie pan or baking sheet if making a galette. Bake time will depend on form and filling.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with a tablespoon of cream. Set it aside in the fridge until ready to use.
- If you’re using the pie crust for a no-bake filling then set the oven to 425F. Cut a round of parchment paper and frill the edge.
- Press inside then add a layer of aluminium foil and press against the edge, this will support the empty shell during baking.
- Fill shell with pie weights or dry beans and bake at 425F for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and take out the weights, foil, and paper. Brush with the egg wash and dock the crust (pierce with a fork) so steam can escape. Cover the edge with a sheet of foil folded in half, this will protect the edge from burning.
- Bake for another 15 minutes at 425F then reduce temperature to 375F bake an additional 20 minutes or until centre is golden.