Pies in 500 Words

Even if quality store-bought, pre-made pie crusts may exist, I’m still going to relentlessly campaign that all sentient, gluten-loving human beings older than 16 should possess the ability to make a pie crust from scratch.

Different combinations of fat, flour, and water can produce wildly different outcomes. As your baking knowledge expands, you’ll learn about different types of crusts and iterations. This recipe is a solid Pastry 101 technique, based on an easy to remember a 2 to 1 ratio. Easy, like a cold lager from a can on a hot day – It’s so very satisfying, even knowing there are better-made beers and methods of pouring beers. 

Not everything has to be complicated, complex, or difficult to enjoy.

We all learn in different ways. Nothing helps me understand a concept quicker and better than comprehending the why, even more than how. With a pie crust, the heat from the oven melts the fat that’s coated with flour. As solids turn to liquids, they carry the flour coating with them forming layers, at the same time, the water turns to steam, separating the layers. For a good pie crust, cold butter and hot oven are imperative to the outcome. 

Make sure to keep the fats chilled until you are ready to bake them in a preheated oven. 

Ingredients

2  Cups Flour

1 Stick (4oz) Butter, cubed into 16-20 pieces

2 Tablespoon Shortening, Coconut oil or Cream Cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 (Optional) Tablespoon of Sugar

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1/3 to 1/2 cup Cold Water.

Add flour, cubed butter, shortening/shortening substitution, salt, and if you’re sweetening the crust, the sugar to a mixing bowl. 

For me, the mixing bowl is a food processor. It’s quick and ruthlessly efficient. The pulse button cuts and coats the butter without warming it up. Pastry cutters in a chilled bowl work well. Because your fingers are warm enough to melt the butter, I avoid mixing by hand. 

Remember – Cold butter, hot oven.

(If using a food processor, transfer ingredients into a mixing bowl.) Add water bit by bit until the dough forms into a ball. Stop and refrigerate for 1 to 48 hours. Cold butter. 

Now is the time to work on the filling, whatever that may be. 

Roll crust out, line pie plate with crust. Place lined pie plate in the refrigerator for an hour – this helps keep the butter cold and allows the gluten to relax. If pressed for time, place in the freezer for 15 minutes. 

Preheat oven and follow your recipe instructions for baking.