Pie refers to a colorful and healthy dish formed after baking dough mixed with butter, cold flour, salt, sugars and few other ingredients. It is generally circular in shape. Crust refers to the external hardened shell or flaky topping of the pie. Pie crust is mainly of two types: single pie crust and double pie crust. Classic pie crust is made out of the chief ingredient i.e. butter.
Making a pie crust requires a simple process. The first step in the process is making dough by mixing few basic ingredients and it needs just 10-15 minutes. Every ingredient serves an important function with respect to the characteristics of finally prepared pie. Flour adds bulk and structure to crust. Fat i.e. butter or shortening gives a flaky texture and flavors to pie. Butter aids in workability of the dough and also helps in forming golden crust of the pie. The water added to the mix must be icy cold. Liquid binds the dough and makes it workable. Salt adds to the flavor of pie and pie filling. It also provides brown or golden color to crust. The secret ingredient prevents the formation of gluten strands in the pie crust, making it soft and flaky.
In this method, white flour is mixed with butter, chilled water and salt to form a mixture, which is well kneaded to form a dough. The dough is then shaped in the form of disc, cooled and divided forming 2 parts. Next dough is a baked in an oven, till the browning of crust. Fruity fillings are added to the pie crust for dressing and flavor enhancement.
- More than 2 cups of flour
- Half teaspoon of iodized salt
- 1 cup of ice cold unsalted butter or shortening
- 7 tbsp of ice cold water
- 1 tbsp of secret ingredient i.e. sugar or lemon juice
- Mulberry or blueberry
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
Materials and equipment required
- Mixing bowl (heat resistant)
- Pie plate of 1 to 9 inches
- Sharply edged knife
- Rolling pin
- Microwave oven
- Food processor
- Stirring spoon
- Plastic bags or wax paper
Step 1: Mixing the dough
Firstly, mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, which is thermally resistant. Thoroughly, stir flour and salt together in the bowl. Dough consists of gluten strands, which might bind together during the mixing process. In order to prevent bond formation, it is necessary to maintain the flour at a cool temperature. Hence chilled flour must be used.
Step 2: Addition of chilled butter chunks
Cut the butter or shortening and pour it into the flour. Butter adds little moisture to the flour so that the dough gets well formed. The butter used for adding to flour mixture must also be chilled. Before mixing, chilled butter must be divided into large chunks to ease the combination process. The addition and mixing of fat is continued, until small and uniformly size chunks are distributed throughout the mix. Mixing of butter chunks into flour may be done using forks or pastry cutter. With the help of a food processor, the flour mixture is pulsed for 1-2 minutes, so that butter is divided into finer pieces inside the mix.
If in case, the workability of the mix is not as per specifications, it is advisable to stop the process of mixing at that point and insert the mixing bowl into fridge. This will enable the mixture to get chilled to a proper workable temperature.
Step 3: Mixing in ice cold water, forming dough
Pour ice cold water in tablespoons into the bowl containing the dry mixture. Stir the contents gently using a stirring spoon. Pour water gradually in tablespoons in the mixture, with constant agitation. The final mixture should form a loose ball which should neither be too dry nor too wet. The dough must never be overworked, so that the final crust is flaky enough, but at the same time not too tough.
Step 2: Dividing and shaping of dough
Pull the flour and knead the dough forming a ball. Then divide the ball into equal parts in order to make top crust and bottom crust. Place dough on flour smeared work surface. A clean and smooth surface is required for making a delicate and tender crust. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of floor on the top surface of dough. Spread out the edges with a rolling pin, so that balls get disc shaped.
Step 3: Refrigeration
Cover the dough parts each with a plastic wrap. Chill the parts in the refrigerator till the time of rolling and baking. In order to preserve the dough for extensive period of time, a self sealing freezer can be used. Just before final application, the dough must be defrosted in the refrigerator for one night.
In order to preserve the dough for extensive period of time, a self sealing freezer can be used. Just before final application, the dough must be defrosted in the refrigerator for one night.
Step 6: Transfer onto pie plate
Prepare the rolling pie crust. One might use plastic bags or wax paper can be used for making a non stick barrier so that the dough could easily be rolled out. This will help the crust transfer safely on a pie plate.
Use a pastry brush, outline the bottom crust’s perimeter with water. With the help of a fork, crimp upper and lower crusts. Use a sharp knife to scrape off excess dough.
Step 7: Baking
Preheat the oven to a temperature of 425°F. Place the pie plate inside the oven for heating. Trim the edges. Ideally, the pie crust is evenly textured with a width of about 0.3 cm.
Step 7: Pie dressing
Fill the bottom crust with pie filling. Filling can be made from fresh fruits like blueberry or blackberry. Take fresh fruit and add white sugar and cornstarch for forming thickened paste. Then add cherry or peach. Cook the apples, rhubarb and crunchy fruits to add juicy constituents and soften the pie interior. Add bits of cinnamon and brown sugar to enhance taste and flavors. To make pumpkin or sweet potato filling, mix mashed pumpkin with sweetened condensed milk. The other ingredients added are cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and various other spices. Design and decorate the pie.
By adding alternative ingredients, many different versions of pie crusts could be prepared. The essential process is the same. A cookie pie crust may be made with the help of mixing molten butter to the dough and adding cookies to it. Gluten free pie dough can be made with the help of brown or white rice flour. Alternatively, one may also use sweet rice flour.
Depending on the variety of ingredients present, there are other varieties of pie crust like
- Olive oil pie crust
- Almond flour pie crust
- Gluten free pie crust
- Sweet Dough pie crust
- Apple pie crust
- The dough should not be handled excessively or overworked. Else the crust formed will be too tough.
- Water should be added gradually to the mixture.
- In case the bottom crest becomes soggy, its baking must be done at a higher temperature. If baking temperature is too less, there is a chance the pie filling will start bubbling before the browning of crust. This will not allow bottom crust to be held firmly.
- If the proportions of ingredients are not proper, the final pie crust formed will be crumbly.