December 19, 2009

How To Make An Easy Pie Crust

I have a confession, I have never really been much of a pie person. The Thanksgiving dessert display of 9 different fruit pies held little appeal to me growing up. For a long time I was repulsed by the thought of soggy fruit soaking in sugary syrup. Soooo I avoided pies for as long a I possibly could. It was only under the persuasive powers of my husband that I ever even thought about baking my own.

Apparently he is a fan of pie, cherry to be exact, and he has his cravings. After listening to the begging (who doesn't enjoy a little begging once in a while really) I finally caved. I broke out my cookbook and set to work. I have to admit, I cursed that dough every second of the process. I vowed to never EVER touch another pie crust or pie recipe again.

Of course things have a way of changing, and I have been known to waiver with my set-in-stone decisions. I'm not sure what pie it was that changed my mind, or even if it was successful, but I do know that I've found a super easy, perfectly simple pie crust recipe. This one works, I promise, so even if your attempts have otherwise failed give it one last go. It was so easy to throw this dough together that I did it while I was working, I'm not even exagerating. So go for it, you have nothing to lose.

Double Pie Crust

2 1/2 C all purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar (feel free to use 1 Tbsp, I just like a sweet crust)
1 tsp salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, COLD & cubed
3/4 C ice cold water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the cubed cold butter over the top of the flour mixture. With a pastry blender (which makes the job so much easier than using your hands) combine the butter into the flour until its about the size of small peas. Don't over work the butter, it will result in a dull, not-so-flaky crust...and who wants that.

At this point add 1/2 C of the ice cold water and work it into the flour mixture with a large wooden spoon. When large clumps of dough have formed add more water, by the tablespoon, as needed. Towards the end work the dough together with your hands until it holds in large ball.
Separate the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap, forming flat disc shapes. Chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours until firm.
Pre-heat oven to 375F. Working with one disc at a time, remove from plastic wrap and roll out on a well floured board to form your pie crust. Now this is where you fill in the blanks. Roll to a round, rectangular or individual pie and fill with your own selection of yummyness. Brush the top of the assembled pie with an egg wash and/or sugar if you so desire. Bake for about 35-45 min until your filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.

Try to avoid using your hands to work the dough as much as possible so you reduce the risk of softening the butter too much.
Also, I used margarine the first time I made this dough, for no other reason than that's what I had on hand, and I don't recommend it. While the flavor is fine, the margarine doesn't hold up as well as butter, resulting in a less flakey crust.
Finally, if you're impatient like me, you can chill the dough in the freezer for about an hour to speed the process along.
This dough will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge and even longer in the freezer (just make sure to double and tripple wrap it to preserve freshness) for you plan-aheaders!

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