All-Butter Pie Crust (With Variations)

Yield: One  pie crust, 22 cm dia. For one with tall edges or one with the top pastry cover you may need to add perhaps 1/4 of the ingredients. test your equipment and your preferences..

  • 150g all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 90g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubic pieces
  • 2 to 5 tablespoons ice water.

1. In a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-size pieces (3 to 5 one-second pulses). Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until mixture is just moist enough to hold together.

2. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out and baking.

Variations:You can experiment with textures and flavors by substituting 3 to 4 tablespoons shortening, lard, beef suet, duck fat or an unsweetened nut butter, such as hazelnut butter, almond butter or mixed nut butter, for 20-30g regular butter. All should be well chilled before using. Rendered leaf lard can be purchased at delicatessen. Suet can be bought from butchers.

Cheddar Crust: This crispy crust pairs nicely with apple pie or savoury pie fillings. Pulse together flour with salt. Add some (40g?) grated sharp cheddar; pulse until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add 60g  chilled, cubed butter and proceed according to the directions for All-Butter Pie Crust.

Butter, Water versus whipping cream: when you feel like it or you are short of butter you may choose to replace water with a few spoonfuls of the cold whipping cream. Works well.

Pre-baked Crust: Preheat oven to 375F/185C degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust to a 30cm dia circle. Transfer crust to a 22 cm pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp edges. Prick crust all over with a fork. If you have time, freeze crust for 15 to 30 minutes; otherwise skip this step. Cover pie with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (you can use pennies, rice or dried beans for this). Bake for 15 minutes; remove foil and weights and bake until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on rack until needed.

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