“I could never make crust.” That is the #1 reason people give for not making pie. The prepping, making filling and the baking all pale in comparison to how worried people are about making crust. No judgment here – I totally get it. Crust was the bane of my existence for easily the first six months of my year of pie. I poured over books, scoured the internet, and ate more chewy crust than most people do in a lifetime.
I’ve found crust to be more forgiving than most cookbooks make it out to be if you stick to some simple intuitive guidelines. So here is my best shot at giving you some blog-induced courage to go make yourself some crust this Thanksgiving. You can find my recipe on the main page where it says “crust recipe” or click here.
#1 Be prepared
Before you even think about diving in, make sure you have what you need:
- Food processor – I know, I know, grandma made it in a bowl with a fork. I don’t care. The food processor has been my best friend. Unlike the bowl/fork method, a food processor builds in less room for error, and that’s what I’m all about when making my crust. I want the road of least resistance and the most forgiveness.
- Flour – Gold Medal, all-purpose flour. Another brand I’m sure would be fine, but I’m superstitious now.
- Butter – Land-o-Lakes unsalted butter. NO GENERIC BRANDS. Superstition reigns again. If I’m putting all this time into making crust, I’m sticking with what I know.
- Shortening – Sorry, I had to go there. Buy the trans-fat free Crisco or if you really want to justify it, get the fancy non-hydrogenated Spectrum Palm Oil shortening (you might have to find a Whole Foods). Crisco is a little more forgiving for beginners, but I like them both.
- Apple cider vinegar – I have no strong feelings here. I’m sure you can drum some up in your pantry.
- Sugar – granulated sugar (just making sure no one considers brown or powdered sugar good for crust-making)
- Salt – regular table salt. I realize it’s all the rage, but NO CHUNKY SEA SALT!
- Plastic wrap/press-n-seal – something to put the crust in when done. Or if you’re like me and have been out of plastic wrap for months, use a Ziploc freezer bag.
#2 Freeze your fat
If you want crust-making to be as low stress as possible, prep your butter and shortening days or even just hours before you want to actually make the crust. For some reason, making crust seems much less complicated when I do this. Cut it up into small pieces, put it in a Ziploc bag or wrap in plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer.
I make packets of these so they are ready when I am.
#3 Trust your instincts
Let me impart a little wisdom – you have the force, young pie-maker. The process of making crust takes mere minutes, but there can be so much angst wrapped up into those brief moments. If you pay attention to a few nuances of the dance, you’ll be ok. Here is a break down of EXACTLY how to do this (for one recipe of dough for a 9-inch pie): Continue reading