Monday, May 23, 2011

Pie Crust Recipe for Cream Pies

I used to make pies from mostly-scratch all the time 'cause they are SO EASY and really cheap. The crust was just shortening and flour with a bit of water, and you can bake loads at a time and freeze them for later. Add some whipped cream and a packet of instant pudding and you're good to go :D

Then I found out about trans fats, and modified corn starch, and Perkins, and went to college and generally stopped making pie.

Then Perkins stopped making banana cream pie.

So I had to make my own. This time, with better, more delicious ingredients.

Pies are still stupid-easy and cheap to make, though. The trick is to keep everything as cold as possible, 'cause it's the little pellets of solid butter wrapped in flour that makes the crust tender and flaky instead of tough and disgusting. Warm butter doesn't form magical pellets of delicious-making; you have been warned.



For Ridiculously Flaky-Tender-Aromatic Pie Crust
enough for 2 9-inch pie, or 1 12-inch pie and two tiny heart-shaped mini-pies

Materials

2 sticks very cold unsalted butter (yes, it must be butter. Unless you're vegan, in which case you may use an applicable substitute. But if I catch any of you non-vegans using not-butter, THERE WILL BE HELL.)
1 1/2 C. flour
~1 C. ice water (just put the ice cubes in first and then measure out the cup)

At least 2' x 2' of clean clutter-free workspace
Rolling pin
Extra flour for dusting
Pie tins
Food Processor or Pasty Cutter or Coarse Cheese Grater & Freezer
Medium-size Mixing Bowl
Large Fork
Pie weights/dry beans
Aluminum foil

Method

1. If you don't have the food processor or the pastry cutter, put your butter in the freezer until it is frozen quite solid (about 3 hours, I'm guessing). For everyone else, preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Put all your flour and butter together in the food processor or bowl. Process or pasty-cut 'til the butter pellets form --- none should be larger than a pea. For the frozen-butter crowd, grate your butter on the coarse cheese grater before mixing in the flour.

3. Place all your flour-butter in the bowl if it isn't already there, and add a teaspoon of the cold water.

4. Using the large fork, carefully work the water into the dough, being gentle and tender and generally filled with loving for your delicate pie crust. This is very important to prevent unhappy crusts. Also, not over-working the dough.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until your dough just holds together. It'll be still kinda fall-apart-y, but will stay together if you make a ball. Too much water makes unhappy dough.

6. Dust your work area with a bit of flour and roll our your dough ball, gently, to about a quarter inch thickness.

7. Carefully lift up your pie crust --- don't worry about holes or the bits of stuck crust, you'll patch it later --- and ease it into the pie tin.

8. Cut the edge flush with the top of the tin and use any leftover bits to patch holes in the crust, smoothing over the seams gently.

9. Poke holes in the bottom of the crust using your large fork. This prevents huge bubbles from forming and keeps your crust flat and happy. To make damned sure it stays that way, also place a sheet of aluminum foil on top and fill with a layer of pie weights or dry beans.

10. Place your pie crust in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

11. Remove the foil and pie weights, and bake until golden brown on the edges and thoroughly cooked (no translucent bits) about 5-10 more minutes.

12. Cool on a cooling rack. Fill with filling of choice and OM NOM NOM enjoy~!


BONUS: Banana Cream Pie~!
For a 10'' pie

Materials
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 T. sugar
2. generous splashes vanilla extract
1-2 bananas
Pie Crust
1 packet instant vanilla pudding mix
1 3/4 C. 2% or whole milk, COLD
Generous handful sliced almonds

Electric Mixer
2 bowls
Spatulas
Knife for cutting bananas and spreading cream
Pasty bag and star or shell tip for piping, if you'd like to be fancy

Method

1. Put the cream in a bowl with the sugar and vanilla and whip it to stiff peaks. Set aside.

2. Slice up the bananas into the bottom of the pie crust and arrange in a single layer.

3. Put the milk and pudding mix in a bowl and mix with mixer until homogenous.



4. Wait for the foam to die down on the pudding before spreading 2/3 of it on top of the bananas. Don't measure, just eye it.



5. Add whipped cream to the remaining pudding in a 1:1 ratio and mix it together. Spread on top of the pudding.



6. Put a couple scoops of whipped cream in the pastry bag, if using, and spread the remainder on top of the pie. Pipe a fancy border around the edges and make decorations in the middle until you've used up all your cream.



7. Sprinkle sliced almond on top, if using.

Happy PIE DAY~! :D