Recipes that incorporate only natural ingredients.

Pie Crust Buttery and Flaky

Pie Crust Buttery and Flaky

I love pie!  I never encountered a pie that did not warrant, at minimum, two bites.  The versatility of pie makes it a true staple in many kitchens.  Plus, pie is not just for dessert anymore!  Think savory and watch the kiddos and adults gobble up an extra helping of your pot pie and quiche.  Not to mention, a homemade pie is always a welcome feature at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, any backyard BBQ or picnic.  Fresh local blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, strawberries, blackberries, pumpkin, etc .…. bring a festive and seasonal element when nestled and baked between two delicate crusts.  A pie screams simplicity, let the fruit speak for itself.  Seeing the fruit juice oozing from the buttery flaky pie crust makes any dessert table a tantalizing temptation.

A Delicious Pie Starts with a Great Crust

Unfortunately, making a good pie crust is not as easy as it looks.  I obtained this recipe from my mother.  She is a phenomenal baker and pies are one of her specialties.  Growing up, it would be commonplace for her to make ten pies for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  When I ventured out on my own, I sought out her pie recipe.  Over and over, I tried this recipe.  But, I always fell short, with the crust resembling dried out playdoh.  Cutting the butter into the flour, proved to be a challenge.  Again and again, I would try the recipe only to throw the creation down the drain.

Homemade verse Store-Bought Crust

So, what’s a girl to do?  Well, you rely on store bought pie crust.  I’m guilty.  I ate the unnatural crust dreaming of my mother’s homemade creations.  I was desperate for a semblance of childhood memories.  So, I unrolled those neat circles into my pie dishes, filled and baked. That’s right, the crust with around twenty ingredients, compared to my mother’s crust with four.  I cringed with every bite, trying to discern the taste between the BHA and BHT that was graciously added to preserve the flavor.

Pie Crust in the Food Processor

Then one day, as I was reorganizing my cupboards, I found the owner’s manual to my food processor.  You know, that big heavy contraption that takes up much wanted cupboard space.   After storing the appliance for many, many years, I decided to read the owner’s manual.  Cue the lightbulb….”Hey, this gadget can transform my life, and for the better!”  Now, the food processor is one of my top small appliances.  I use it for almost everything, including making easy homemade pie crust.  

Old-Fashion Pie Crust the Modern Way

First thing, grab the heavy apparatus and its pastry attachment.

Pastry Attachment

Second, grab a small bowl or coffee mug and fill it with ice water.   Next, grab a bag of white flour and some iodized salt.  Measure out two level cups of flour and one teaspoon of salt.  Place in your processor, cover and pulse once. 

Level Flour for Baked Goods

Now, it is time to add the butter.  For this step, it is imperative to use only chilled butter.  Measure out two-thirds cup of butter and cut into small tabs.  

Butter Tabs for Pie Crust

Slowly, add one-third of the butter to the processor, avoid the butter dropping into the flour in large globs.  Again, pulse the mixture once.

Incorporate Butter Tabs into Flour

Once all the butter has been added to the processor, pulse the mixture until it resembles small pellets.  Occasionally scrap the sides of your processor with a butter knife, to ensure all your flour is utilized. 

Flour Cut-In with Butter

Secret Ingredient

When your flour and butter is incorporated, grab the ice-cold water and a tablespoon.  Add two tablespoons of ice-cold water to the mixture and pulse twice.  Be sure to scrap sides of your processor with a butter-knife.  Again, repeat this step two additional times, making sure to add only two tablespoons of water, each time.  Eventually, your mixture should come together as small balls. 
 
Small Dough Balls for Pie Crust 

Now that your dough is congealing together, rip off a sheet of wax paper and place on the counter.  Gather your dough mixture from the processor and place on wax paper.  Roll the dough into one large ball, making sure to include any flour mixture that was left in the processor.  Cut your dough into two equal halves.  Individually wrap, each half of the dough with the sheets of wax paper.

Pie Crust Two Shells
Pie Crust Two Shells

Ready to Roll

Leave the crust to sit on the counter, until it reaches room temperature.  When your dough is soft and pliable, it is ready to be rolled out.  Unwrap one ball, reserving the wax paper.  Lightly dust the reserved wax paper and place your dough in the center.  Next, dust your rolling pin and the dough.  Roll the dough out so it resembles a large circle.  If the dough starts to stick to your rolling pin, re-dust rolling pin and continue.  Finally, lightly flour the bottom of a pie dish.  Place your dough into dish, making sure to leave enough dough to overhang the edges. 

Fill, Cover & Bake

Fill your pie with either a fruit or savory mixture.  Then, repeat the above steps with your second pie dough and place on top of the mixture.  Finally, crimp the edges of your pie, brush with milk and ventilate with several slits.  If creativity is your specialty, try decorating the pie with one of these options.   Your dough is best cooked at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for fifteen minutes. Then, cover your edges with aluminum foil.  Reduce the heat in your oven to 375 degrees and bake for another forty-five or until golden brown.

Storing

The dough can be left out overnight and assembled the next day.  However if you are using the dough in a couple days, then place the wrapped dough balls in a plastic bag and refrigerate.  If you are planning on using it for a later occasion, place your wrapped balls in a freezer safe bag and store for up to three months.  When removing your dough from the freezer, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.  Finally, always place your dough on the countertop to reach room temperature before rolling it out.

Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled butter, cut into small tabs
  • 6 tablespoons ice-cold water

In a food processor, place flour and salt, pulse once.  Add 1/3 cup of chilled butter, pulse once.  Next, incorporate the remaining 1/3 cup butter, pulsing  the mixture until the flour and butter resemble small granules.  Add 2 tablespoons ice-cold water and pulse twice.  Again, add 2 tablespoons cold water, pulse twice.  Repeat the step a third time, with 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water.  The dough should come together in small balls.  Finally, turn the dough out onto wax paper.  Roll the dough into one large ball and cut into two equal halves.  Lastly, wrap each half in wax paper and let sit on the counter until the dough comes to room temperature.  The dough can be placed in a plastic bag and stored in refrigerator for two days.  Furthermore, if freezing, use freezer safe wax paper and bags, and store up to 3 months.  

Easy As Apple Pie