Vodka Pie Crust. What’s The Benefit Besides the Obvious?

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Although I’m still cautiously venturing through the land of BOOZY PIE RECIPES on my way to excellence, I have from time to time come across pie crust recipes that featured Vodka as a prominent ingredient. Like everyone else, the first thing that came to mind was, NICE! Another place, besides the fruity filling, where I can ‘infuse’ my dessert with a bit of alcohol. The more the merrier right? But be that as it may, there is another, just as important benefit to having Vodka Pie Crust.

Several years ago Cook’s Illustrated Magazine had come up with their ‘Foolproof Pie Dough‘ that featured Vodka in the recipe. At the time, I imagine it was probably a relatively new or rarely used ingredient in pie crust, but since then, you now see Vodka in variety recipes.

The recipe called for only a quarter cup of cold Vodka (and actually, if you didn’t have any Vodka on hand, the recipe did state that you could use any 80 proof alcohol), so it wasn’t much, especially if you thought it would maybe add a little ‘feel good’ to the deliciousness of the pie dish. But surprisingly, the reason Vodka was included in the recipe was a more ‘healthier’ a benefit.

Vodka Pie Crust Benefits

From Cook’s Illustrated – Since water bonds with flour to form gluten, too much of it makes a crust tough. But rolling out dry dough is difficult. For a pie dough recipe that baked up tender and flaky and rolled out easily every time, we found a magic ingredient: vodka. Using vodka, which is just 60 percent water, gave us an easy-to-roll crust recipe with less gluten and no alcohol flavor, since the alcohol vaporizes in the oven.

In essence, more gluten bad, less gluten good, and Vodka is the key to this equation. Why is gluten bad for you? That is a wholly separate topic and one that is better explained on Paleo Leap’s 11 Ways Gluten and Wheat Can Damage Your Health. But for the meantime, and for the sake of argument, let’s just say, if there was any way to continue to devour good pie AND make it a bit more healthier than usual, most of us would probably take that route.

So apparently, Vodka CAN make your pie crust healthier than usual and that’s a good thing. So if you haven’t tried it, give it a shot, I know I will be. And if you don’t mind leaving in the comments your results or opinion on this, please do so – I would highly appreciate it!

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2 Responses
  • Ellen@BakeItWithBooze
    August 31, 2015

    We only use booze in our pie crusts and for all the right reasons! 🙂 We find that half ice water/half chilled booze works best. Too much booze and the crust is crumbly (not enough gluten), but with too little booze you have more gluten = tough crust. Using vodka does not impart a flavor, while using, let’s say, whiskey imparts a very subtle caramel/smokiness. I personally favor darker boozes in my pie crusts. And, in the hard cider apple pie that you featured, you could use apple cider as well. Great article and we SO appreciate being included in this impressive assortment of boozy pies! Bake on! P.S. Love your blog name, cuz pies rock!!

    • David Lawyer
      August 31, 2015

      Ellen – Thanks for the feedback. I have really taken to ‘boozy’ pie dishes and hope to venture deeper into this particular type of recipe. What boozes specifically, would you recommend learning more about when it comes to baking pies, whether in the crust or the filling?

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