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Eclecticisms: Basic Crust Recipe

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Basic Crust Recipe

I'm back! It was way too rainy and cold for apple picking on Saturday, so I spent a good 6 hours in the kitchen making pie, quiche and chowder.

Pie crust is definitely not my specialty, but the more I make it, the better I get. (Practice makes perfect, right?) I've found it's most imporant to be patient, use enough flour, make sure your butter and water are very cold, and to use wax paper, always for the bottom and the top as well, if it's extra sticky or crumbly,

Needing two crusts, I doubled this recipe (and later re-made it, as you'll later read about in the quiche blog, due to a mishap). I went with the savory version, which ended up working perfect for both the quiche and pie.

This recipe came from Vegetarian Classics, by Jeanne Lemlin.

Ingredients

Water
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/4 tsp salt (for a savroy crust) or 2 tsp sugar (for a sweet crust)
2 Tbs chilled, unsalted butter
2 Tbs canola oil
1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (I used the vinegar)


 Fill a glass with ice water and set aside.



In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt (or sugar).


Cut the butter into pieces and toss them into the flour. Using your hands, flatten the pieces until they are roughly the dime-sized. If the pieces are too small, they will melt faster and your crust won't be flaky.








Now, in a small bowl, combine the 3 Tbs of the ice water along with the apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and oil. Drizzle this over the flour mixture and blend in using a fork. The apple cider vinegar and lemon juice both help to break down the gluten in the flour, making for a less chewy crust.

Gather the dough into a ball and knead a few times until it is pliable. (Don't over knead!)

If the dough is crumbly, you can add more water. Make sure to add it slowly, roughly 1 tsp at a time. A little water goes a long way, and too much will leave you with a sticky mess.



Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes (no more than 48 hours).

To roll out the dough, first allow it to come to room temperature. (I've found that this happens almost immediately, just from the heat of your hands.) Place wax paper on your surface and lighly flour it. Lightly flour your rolling pin (or place more lightly floured wax paper on top of the dough) and roll out from the center. You want to make sure your crust is large enough to fill the bottom and edges of the pan (about an extra 2"). The wax paper not only helps to prevent sticking, but it makes getting the dough into the pan a lot easier.

There are tons of ways to do your edges, but I prefer the fluting method. It's quick, easy, and at this point I'm usually tired of working with the dough. (It's not easy!) Here's a good site that shows you different methods. Chill the dough in the pan while you make your filling.




Now fill the dough with something delicious. (Two blogs to come!)

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