Friday, September 9, 2011

How to make pie crust - Pie crust recipe
How to make pie crust - Pie crust recipe

Whoever coined the phrase "easy as pie" probably didn't make pie crusts from scratch. But if you follow the instructions from Chef Scott Cutaneo, the highly acclaimed chef-proprietor of the four-diamond (AAA) Le Petit Chateau in Bernardsville, N.J., you'll make a pie crust that is flaky and beautiful.

Recipe: How to make a pie crust

Gather your ingredients and tools:

* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 4 ounces cold butter
* ¼ cup ice water
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ½ teaspoon sugar
* Fork
* Rolling pin
* Pie plate

Making the pie crust:
1. Mix the dry ingredients (salt, sugar and flour) together. You can do this in a bowl, or a mixer, but ideally on a marble surface. (Marble is best because it keeps the ingredients cold, and cold ingredients are the key to producing a tender, flaky pie crust.)

2. Place the mixed dry ingredients in the center of your preparation surface.

3. Dice the butter into small pieces and cut it into the dry mixture with a fork to ensure that you make a flaky pie crust. (Cut into means to work the butter into the dry ingredients by pulling a fork across the butter and dry ingredients, breaking the butter up into smaller and smaller pieces until the texture of the mixture is like corn meal.) Its important to cut in the butter quickly so that it does not melt. The pieces of butter should be no larger than the size of a pea.

4. Gather the pie crust mixture into the center of your preparation surface and create a well in the center of the mixture.

5. Gradually add the ice cold water approximately 1 tablespoon at a time, to the center of the mixture. Work the dough with a fork until it starts to pull away from the preparation surface to create one harmonious mixture. The goal is to use the least amount of water possible.

6. Gather the pie crust mixture to the center once again, form a ball, and knead it a few times.

7. Scrape and clean your work surface, then sprinkle a little flour in the center and place your dough ball over the flour.

8. Flour your rolling pin, and then hit the dough ball a few times. (You want to handle the dough as little as possible at this point.)

9. Roll the dough. When rolling, you never want to roll over the edge of your dough (that creates frayed edges), so roll a little, rotate the dough a quarter turn, roll a little more, rotate a quarter turn more, etc. until the dough is approximately an eighth of an inch thick. Roll until the diameter of the dough is two inches larger than the diameter of your pie plate.

10. Use a spatula to make sure that the dough comes off your work surface easily, and then slowly roll it around your rolling pin.

11. Roll the dough over your pie plate. (You don't need to grease your pie plate because there's so much butter in the dough.) Don't stretch the dough, as that will create shrinkage when you bake it.

12. Using a scissor or knife, trim the dough evenly so that it is two inches larger than the diameter of your pie plate.

13. Fold over the extra two inches and crimp this extra dough all the way around the pie plate.

If you are making an apple pie, you can double Scott Cutaneo's pie crust recipe for a top and bottom crust.