The Perfect Pie Crust

"Pie" dates back to 1304 B.C.

"Pie" dates back to 1304 B.C.

Welcome to the Fall Pie Series!  Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore the rich gastronomic history of pies and unlock some of their rich secrets from decades past.

This Chef knows there is more to pie than fruit. I love pie and not just apple.  Being the New England purist and Pilgrim that I am, I must start of with an absolute killer apple pie and just get that out of the way right up front. I started out thinking meat pies to be different to kick off the Fall Pie Series, but when I walked into the grocery and saw the amazing assortment of apples I had to change my mind and satisfy my palate.  Being in the Midwest this last year has made me more grateful for the places I have lived over the last 30.  New England has apples, apples and more apples. I am told this is the Heartland, but the assortment of produce for this Chef is a little sparse for my taste. However – when I saw the assortment of great apples yesterday I had to start with this post and redeem the Midwest myth of corn, corn, corn.

I was amazed in my research to find that pie, according to the Oxford Dictionary, dates back to as far as 1304 BC.  There is actual evidence of pies on the walls of the tomb of Ramses. The pie in many forms has a place in almost every country in the world. From Empanada to Calzone, Stromboli, Pastie, Crostata, Tart, Gallette, Patty, Somosas, Fynbos, Biltony, Sonker and Whoppie. The crust can be anything from homemade pie crust for fruit pies (recipe follows), to Puff Pastry, Filo, Bototie, and Choux. Over the next coming weeks I am going to try to incorporate all this lingo into the real deal so you can see and experience pie in its full glory.

The Perfect Pie Crust

I have redone the recipe to fit the busy lives of most of America to make this recipe doable and quick.  If you start with all the ingredients and tools cold, including the flour in the freezer for 20 minutes,  it should come out great.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour ( I use King Arthur ) 
  • 1 Tbs. sugar1/2 tsp. salt ( fine salt
  • )1/2 lb. or 2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces2 tsp. fresh lemon juice ( cold )
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs very cold water ( iced water )

Method:

I do all the steps below by hand with a pastry blender.

1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor.  Pulse once to combine.

2. Add the butter and pulse just until coarse crumbs form, about 15 seconds.

3. Add the cold lemon juice and ice cold water.  Pulse just until moist crumbs form.

4. Turn the dough onto a work surface and gently shape it into two equal disks about 4 or 5 inches in diameter.

5. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

6. Proceed when your ready working quickly to roll it out and place in pie plate.

7. I put it back in the fridge for an hour before I fill it with filling of choice.

If you have time issues just work as quickly as you can and get it into a preheated oven ready to bake.

 

Posted on June 22, 2013 .