THE Crust

November 4th, 2011 · No Comments · Recipes

A client recently asked me to come to her house the day before Thanksgiving this year to teach her granddaughters to make apple pie. And, for purely practical reasons (read here I love pie), I decided to do a practice run. While I do love pie, my friend Ellen dedicates herself to a marathon day of pie baking every holiday season, creating fruit and custard pies gallore. This was not that, but as the rain came down today, it was the perfect time to chase pie-crust perfection.

In professional pastry kitchens, I’ve noticed that they mostly use a pate brisee crust for both rustic and formed tarts. They hold their shape and get delicious and crispy when they bake. In the past, I’ve used Martha Stewart’s recipe as a go-to, and it works great. And as Harold McGee reminds in “Keys to Good Cooking…” the less you touch the dough when forming it, the better!

Today, I decided to try something different. A more homey-style recipe that I found, calling for both butter and shortening. First you cut in the butter and incorporate it, and then you add in the shortening and cut it in. After an hour’s rest in the fridge, I rolled it out. It was relatively easy to shape, although it is quite delicate. But, once it was baked! So good. It has the structure of a tart shell, but the extreme flakiness of a puff pastry. Delicious. I’m happy to share the recipe that I found. Now, to perfect the filling…

THE Pie Crust
5 1/4 C Pastry Flour or All Purpose Flour (I used straight AP)
1 T Sea Salt
1 1/2 Sticks (6 oz) Cold Unsalted Butter
1 3/4 C Shortening (or Lard)
1 C Ice Water

-Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.

-Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut it into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Be patient–this takes a while.

-Break up the shortening and add it in bits to the bowl. Still working with the pastry blender or fingers, cut in the shortening until the mixture has small clumps and curds.








-Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water, stirring to incorporate it.

-Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself a few times–don’t get carried away. The dough will be soft, but it will firm sufficiently in the refrigerator.









-Then I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap, pressing it into one large disk of dough, and put it in the fridge to rest and chill. About an hour later, I removed it, cut it into two pieces and formed the top and bottom crust.










-After adding the filling and the top crust, I brushed it over with a beaten egg. Then, I baked it at 375 degrees for about an hour…until the crust was browned and the filling was bubbly.











This recipe appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of Where Women Cook, and was provided by Tricia Martin.


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