Tom's Pie Crust (in progress)
Makes 1 bottom crust for a nine inch regular (not deep dish) pie plate.
- 6 ounces all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3 ounces butter
- 1 ounce leaf lard
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ounce water less 1/2 a tbsp
- 1 ounce vodka
- 7/8 of a teaspoon Diamond Crystal salt of 1/2 a teaspoon table salt
Assembly and Baking:
- Demerara sugar (optional)
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten (for top crusts and blind baking)
- Digital scale
- Spray bottle
- Pastry scraper
- Rolling pin
- Long spatula
- Pie pan
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
- Aluminum foil
- Digital thermometer
- Rolling pin
- Baking sheet
Step 1: Preparing Ingredients (15 min)
Weigh out the flour and whisk together with salt. Put into a container that will fit in your freezer. Weigh out the butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes, and add to the flour. Do the same for the lard. Put the vodka in the freezer. Let cool for at least one hour.
Combine lemon juice, water, and vodka, add to the bottom of a spray bottle, add an extra 1/2 ounce of water, and put in freezer.
It helps if you add the fat pieces individually so they get coated with flour. That way they don't stick together. It also helps to coat the fat in flour as you cut it up, so that cut pieces don't stick back together.
To make a double crust 11 inch deep dish pie, you will need to triple this recipe, and divide into one 16 oz disc (top crust), and one 20 oz disc (bottom crust).
I don't add any sugar to the crust, but Serious Eats adds a tablespoon.
Step 2: Forming Dough (40 min)
Remove bottom of spray bottle from freezer, and attach top. Transfer flour/fat mixture to large bowl. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Use a spatula to stir the flour and fat while spraying water from the spray bottle. The spray bottle can be on a narrow spray setting, this helps the spraying go faster, and the droplets are plenty small enough anyway. When you have sprayed in all but one ounce of the water onto the dough, transfer the dough to your counter an lay out as a rectange, 1.5 to 2 inches think and 6-eight inches wide. Starting with the part of the rectangle furthest away from you, smush the dough into the counter, and move towards you. Do this two to three times, until the dough can be formed flat cylinder (good video here). Wrap flat cylinder of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for eat least 45 minutes.
A good temperature to finish frissaging at is 60 degrees.
The time estimate is based on 20 oz of dough.
Step 3: Rolling (15 min)
Remove from fridge and let stand for 15 minutes. Lightly flour both sides of the dough, especially any areas that seem sticky. Place dough on parchment paper, put saran wrap over dough, and roll out, checking that the temperature does not rise above 68 degrees. I like to turn the dough over, carefully peel off the parchment paper, and flip the dough, so that I'm working on both sides. This helps keep the dough crack free. It's good to apply a little flour the the parchment paper so the dough can move easily.
If it gets too warm, you can always put it back in the fridge for a few minutes.
I generally don't flour the rolling pin much - it comes off almost immediately. The key is to flour the sticky spots in the dough, where bits of fat, especially lard, are poking through.
When the dough is rolled out to the appropriate size, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Time estimate is based on one bottom crust for an 11 inch deep dish pie (20 oz of dough).
The dough is pretty hard to work belowl 60 degrees, especially as it gets thin. It's probably best starting at 55 degrees.
I've read that working the dough too much develops gluten and makes it tough, but I don't know if this means I should avoid the slower rolling out that occurs at lower temperatures.
Frequent refrigeration keeps the crust from shrinking in the oven.
In general, you want a 1 inch overhang (1/2 inch on both sides), plus the diameter of the pie dish, plus the height of the pie dish if it is a deep dish pie dish).
I don't have an ideal thickness.
Step 3: Shaping
If this is a bottom crust, remove from fridge, take off the plastic wrap, and pass spatula underneath to make sure it is not stuck to parchment paper. Place pie dish on top of dough and invert. Gently fold dough into the corners of the dish instead of stretching it into the corners. Then gently press the sides flat, and trim off excess overhang, which you can use to patch up any spots where the overhang is not enough. If it is a sweet pie, and not blind baked, sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of demerara sugar on bottom of pie. Cover with plastic wrap and return to fridge for 15 minutes.
If this is a top crust, cut seven holes, each 1-2 inches wide in the crust with a knife. Round holes are best because the do not widen into tears as easily. Cover with plastic wrap and return to fridge for 15 minutes. At this point, preheat oven to 450 degrees, and arrange the racks so the pie can go in the bottom.
Holes in the top crust are important because the allow evaporation from the pie, which is very important for maintaining a crisp crust.
There is a suggestion that you can oil the pan, put parchment paper in it, and then just pull the whole pie out after cooling. I haven't done this, but it would make slicing a lot easier.
If the filling is a drier filling like apple, you can skip the holes and use slits instead.
Step 4: Assembly
Put a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Remove the bottom crust from the fridge and take the plastic wrap off. Lightly brush the overhang with water - this will help it adhere to the top crust.
Put demerera sugar on top of the bottom crust to help act as a moisture barrier.
Ensure that the filling is sufficiently cool - if it is too hot it will start to melt the butter from the crust and merge with it. Pour the filling onto the bottom layer. Remove the plastic wrap from the top layer, put a long spatula under the middle, and flip onto filling. Adjust so top is centered. Gently remove top parchment paper. Trip top crust so it has a 1/2 inch overhang, and trim the bottom crust to the same if necessary. If bottom crust is a little tight, fold the top around the bottom. Otherwise, pinch both crusts together and fold both under the bottom crust.
Make a collar out of aluminum foil to prevent the edges of the crust from burning too much. For a 9 inch pie, this can be done by taking a square foot of aluminum foil, folding it into quarters, folding the quarter into a triangle, folding again, and cutting out the narrow 3.5 inches. For a bigger pie, you kind of have to mess around a bit. It's best to do this here, while you can shape the collar on the pie, but before the edges have gone a bit soft from the wash.
Brush the pie with a wash made of beaten egg, taking care around the holes. Crimp the edges of the pie with the three finger method.
Place aluminum collar on pie.
For blind baking, temperature should be only 425 degrees. Put a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Remove the bottom crust from the fridge and take the plastic wrap off. Put a sheet of parchement paper on the bottom crust, shape it, and fill with pie weights (I use beans - do not cook with the beans afterwards). Cook for 20 minutes in the oven, turning at 10 minutes. If one side is cooking faster than the others, turn the more cooked side towards the door. Remove pie weights and parchment paper, and continue to cook until crust stops bubbling. My conjecture is that at this point the crust has reached maximum crispiness, and further cooking will toughen the crust by driving out water that is in a gel set by the starch in the flour. However, light additional cooking improves the flavour of the crust, so at this point I brush the crust with an egg white wash (this also decreases permeability), move to the top rack of the oven, and let cook for an additional 5 minutes. At this point, the crust should be shiny from the egg wash, and a light golden colour. Remove from the oven, and allow it to cool.
Brushing the pie before crimping with prevent the wash from pooling in the crimping depressions.
I have used a egg white wash and I don't think the top crust gets brown enough before the bottom is done.
Step 5: Baking
11 inch deep dish pie:
Bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Remove pie from the oven, rotate, and then lower the temperature to 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes. Check at 45 minutes, and remove collars if outside insufficiently brown. Remove from oven, lightly brush crust (but not edges) with additional wash, and sprinkle with demerara sugar to taste.
Temperature recommendations depend on pie size, and filling amount and type. The current recommendation is a guess because I didn't use enough filling last time, but it only took 1 1/2 hours.
See recipes for fillings here.
Step 6: Cooling
Let the pie cool for at least two hours before serving.
Step 7: Serving