Monday, November 16, 2009

As Borat would say "Success!" - Pie Crust, take 3

Hey Guys!
I did it! I finally did it!!

I made my first successful pie crust! It may not look "professional" , but frankly Scarlett....
You'll see in the pictures below that when I rolled out my dough, it did not crumble and split around the edge. No patching necessary this time! When I lifted my dough, it remained in one piece...Hallilulia!
Now, I would like to share my findings with you. They say that to get the perfect pie crust, the only way you can succeed is with practice and it is definitely true! I couldn't understand over these past few weeks, how I could follow directions to the letter and still my crust would not come out right. I thought of giving up...I thought of buying Pillsbury for the rest of my life...but NO! I had to succeed!
I tried a variety of ways to make pie crust, looking up recipies from my favorite Food Network chefs. I also tried my mother-in-law's method...My favorite though, was Emeril Lagasse's recipe (BAM!), which I succeeded with today.  Maybe its my favorite because I finally learned something from past screw ups. lol - The reason I say this is because with my experiences and failures, I came up with a few tricks and maybe it was me that made this a success and not the recipe Emeril, it's not you, its me...
Ok, maybe its a combination of both of us.

I perfer the taste of a pie crust when it is made with butter and shortning - not just shortening.
Butter improves everything, doesn't it?(I've never attempted an all-butter crust. I'm sure its fantastic)

I chilled the bowl and pastry cutter that I was working with. I stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes. I do this for whip cream, I chill the bowl and beaters. I thought I'd apply this method here. It helps because otherwise, the butter can melt too quickly when you're working the dough. (especially with inexperienced hands :)

My biggest challenge- adding moisture: In most recipies it says to put 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of ice water....incorporating it gradually "and don't add too much or your crust will be tough!". However with Emeril's recipe, he states "3 tbsp of ice water or as needed". These three magical words got me thinking...I'll add ice water until I feel that the crust is just right. Unlike before, where I would put the recommended amount and stop even when the dough was too dry for fear of a tough crust.

I just tossed the flour/fats around quickly with my fingertips, while gradually adding the ice water. Then I would occasionally check if the dough would stick together properly by rapidly trying to form a ball. I read that the key to a flaky crust is when the dough is not overworked so I moved quickly trying not to heat the dough with my hands. The only time it is admissable to use your palms, is when your forming the ball of dough.. I used the method that I use with meatballs. To make a meatball that holds together in your sauce, you've gotta press it firmly into a ball, quickly rolling it around with your hands, removing any air pockets inside. For dough, it prevents cracks when forming your disc and rolling out your dough.(you must form a disc with your dough, cover it with cling wrap and refigerate before rolling it out)

Rolling it out: I learned that lots of flour on your work surface is a MUST.
I was under the impression that the dough must be rolled out the second its out of the fridge. This is not so. The dough must be chilled but not super cold. I think this was one of the reasons my dough would crack at the edges. So I waited a couple of minutes and then rolled it out. The picture below is my result and I'm darn proud of it!

Did you notice my little birds? They act as a vent for the steam to escape, rather than peircing slits into your top crust...Cute, hu?  :) Its nice to serve the pie this way.

I think that my family and boyfriend are so sick of pie that they won't even want to look at this one - Successful or not!  lol..I'll try my friends at work.

Thanks for reading!

PS: If you try this, be sure to let me know if my tips helped at all. I'll also be posting Emeril's recipe.



  1. Nice photo's this time.

    I'm loving the step-by-step!

  2. I had a piece and it was absolutley delicious!! Mmmm Mmmm

  3. This was a great pie! We can't wait to try it ourselves!