Friday, March 30, 2012

Pie Crust

It is difficult to find a "healthy" pie crust since butter is a crucial ingredient., however some pie crusts call for a lot more butter (or shortening or lard, which I won't use) than others. 

Store bought pie crusts usually have way too many preservatives in them, and they tend to be expensive when you figure the ingredients it takes to make a pie crust.  Really it shouldn't cost much more than .60 to make 2 pie crusts.  I used to buy pie crusts, but when I really thought about how over-priced they are and realized how easy they are to make, I began looking for the perfect pie crust recipe.  I liked America's Test kitchen's method, but they used too much butter for me, so this is a combination of a few different recipes I've found.

The following recipe is definitely the "healthiest" and best tasting pie crust I have come across.  It also has a little vodka in it (concept taken from America's test kitchen) because this causes a flakier, lighter crust since the vodka helps hold the dough together while rolling it out, but evaporates during cooking time.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 1" squares and frozen for 10 minutes
1 egg yolk
3 tbs blend of water and vodka in a bowl with an ice cube so it is nice and cold
2 tsp lemon juice

In a food processor combine flour and salt.  Add butter.  Pulse 10 1-second pulses.

Stir egg yolk and add 3 tbs of the water/vodka mix and a tsp of lemon juice (make sure it is nice and cold and do the next step right away).

Add 1/2 of this mixture to the food processor, and pulse 3 times.  Repeat this last step.  Add a little more (1 tsp at a time) lemon juice/vodka/water if the dough is still too dry.  If you can squeeze the dough together and it holds its shape, it has been mixed enough.  Do not over mix.

Dump the dough out on work surface and form 2 round 5- inch "pancakes".  wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  When you pull it out, flour your surface and the dough liberally and roll into 12-inch round.

I usually only need 1 crust at a time (for my one-crust chicken pot pie), so I roll the second one out to 12-inches, put a piece of wax paper over it and carefully roll it up.  Then I wrap it in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for a quick and easy pie crust next time.

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