October 12, 2008

Pie Pastry

King Arthur baking class

This is, without question, our favorite pie crust. (It's a consistent winner at Apple Weekend...) It has a combination of butter and Crisco, which I think gives it the best of all worlds regarding flavor, appearance, and manageability.

2 1/2 C flour
1/2 t salt
12 T butter, chilled
4 T vegetable shortening
1/4 - 1/2 C (or more) ice water

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.

Cut in chilled butter and shortening with a pastry blender. This should be done fairly quickly and fat particles should remain about the size of green peas.

Sprinkle a few tablespoons of ice water over the flour mixture and mix just until the dough begins to hold together. (I always add at least the amount it calls for here and usually a bit more; it's not worth fighting to keep crumbles together.)

Put dough on a work surface, divide into two equal portions, and press with the heel of your hand into slightly flattened rounds. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

To use for pie:
Remove one round from fridge. Roll on a floured surface from the center out till it's large than your pie plate. Fold in half, then in half again. Lift and place in pie plate and unfold. Press down in pie plate. Trim edges so they don't hang over more than 1 inch. Fill with whatever filling. Roll second round out and place on pie in same way, trim. Fold top crust under bottom crust. Pinch or seal in some way.

Brush whole top crust with an egg white wash, then sprinkle liberally with crystallized sugar. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour.

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