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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Practices for a Practically Perfect and, Parisian Pie Pastry

The first time I made a home made pie......oh, it was bad! And, I don't mean bad good I mean bad BAD!. After it was cooked the pastry had slouched into the pan like a rippled piece of fabric. There was no flaky buttery-ness to the crust. It was more the consistency of a stale graham cracker. Like anything it would take practice.
I have a husband who loves his peach pie.....and chocolate cream, and banana cream, and...... After hearing the words, "It's not as good as my mom's pie" (a mistake he only made once in our first year of marriage) I knew I had some work to do. Challenge accepted!
I have since found my tried and true methods for making and excellent pie crust but, there was one annoyance that still remained.....the mess you encounter when rolling out the pie dough. You know, the gummy flour mess? The dough sticks to your rolling pin....wiping off the counter after ward gets your dish sponge all gooey and gross....your kitchen looks like baking fairies dusted it with a thin layer of flour.....It is just a big mess!
On my recent visit to Paris I took a cooking class through Cook' n with Class. Our awesome teacher, Chef Constance taught us an easier way to roll out our pastry dough and since being home I have discovered it works swell on my pie crust pastry too. So here are my (recently updated) practices for a  practically perfect and, Parisian pie/tart pastry:

Step 1: Make your Dough

My pie pastry recipe:

Two-Crust Pie (9-inch)
 2 cup all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 Tablespoon sugar
 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoon Regular or Butter (I use butter) flavored Crisco (tip* it is important to use good shortening. CRISCO, CRISCO, CRISCO!
 4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water (tip* not just water!)
 4 large sheets of parchment paper

 Mix flour, salt and sugar in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, and butter using pastry blender, until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary). Do not over mix dough.

Step 2: Roll out Pastry Dough
Lay out one large sheet of Parchment paper. Gather pastry into 2 balls. Flatten 1 pastry ball into a disc on a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment on top of the dough. Begin rolling the dough out, roll the dough away from you as you turn it a quarter turn periodically until it is a round 2-3 inches larger than your pie/tart pan. Repeat this step with second ball of dough.
                 I had to tape two parchment paper triangles together to use for this pastry.                                  My role of parchment paper was out.
Your pastry should look like this, minus the cute little hands of my "assistant" in the top left corner of the photo. And, doesn't look like a gooey flour bomb exploded on the counter!
Carefully transfer the sheet of dough to a flat surface in the refrigerator. Allow to chill until the dough is firm but still pliable.
Remove dough from the fridge, carefully and slowly peel off one sheet of parchment paper. Repeat with second sheet of parchment. Carefully place the pastry dough on your pie/tart pan, gently pushing it into the pan rather than pulling until it is formed to the shape of the pan. Cut off excess pastry. If using a pie pan, use your made pie skills to finish the edge of the dough.

Step 3: For Baked Pie/Tart shells
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Use fork to prick holes thoroughly to prevent puffing. Bake 8 to 10 or until light brown and allow to cool before filling.

Warning: Your tarts will only look like this for a couple moments until your child can no longer fight the urge to stick their finger right in the middle of it. 
These tarts were made using a recipe from the Laduree' Cook Book......vanilla bean infused sure to lick the bowl!

A Practically Perfect Pie Pastry!

1 comment:

  1. Pie was one of those things I learn to make before I knew it was supposed to be hard. I'm CERTAIN had I known that before I tried, I would have failed many times!

    The parchment paper, though. Oh. I'll be trying that...