How to Roll Pie Crust the Right Way [VIDEO]

How to Roll Pie Crust. It was a quiet start to what was usually a busy and hectic Saturday morning. My daughter’s leg was in cast (long story – remind me to tell you about it sometime – basically a soccer game injury!) and so we had no early morning soccer games to attend. The wife was up and out and about, helping feed a friend’s cat on the other side of town, and my second oldest child, had an early morning shift down at Target. Besides my ‘WOOKIE’ (dog) sprawled out and snoring in the closet, the house was eerily quiet. Just the way I liked it! Read More

How to Make Graham Cracker Crust for Pie

Do you know How to Make Graham Cracker Crust for pie? I only ask this because knowing how to make graham cracker crust is one of the fundamental skills, in my opinion, that every aspiring pie baker should know how to do. This short post will guide you through the simple task at making a graham cracker pie crust.

Understanding How to Make Graham Cracker Crust for Pie has always been one of those ‘GO-TO’ pie crusts that I can fall back on, if I need to come up with a pie crust quickly and simply. Especially if I’m throwing together one of my cream pies, like the French Silk pie or my Strawberries and Cream pie, and don’t feel like going with a sweeter option (for example – a cookie crust), knowing How to Make Graham Cracker Crust is crucial.

How to Make Graham Cracker Crust for Pie
How to Make Graham Cracker Crust

A great example happened just a few weeks back. The wife and I were on the road, away from home and my plethora of kitchen tools and equipment, visiting my cousins.

Naturally, they wanted a pie made during our short stay there – a strawberry and cream pie to be precise. Not having access to my food processor to chop up my usual go-to pie crust for this – either Lorna Doone or Nilla wafers, I ‘fell back’ to a simple and quick go-to. You got it! A graham cracker crust. Something I could mash up by hand, in a zip lock, and call it good!

Anyways you get the gist. Understanding How to make a graham cracker crust can be very useful to you when in a bind. And besides that, a graham cracker crust goes with almost anything!

The recipe in the video below, from AllRecipes is a great one I just came across, which was slightly different than what I was accustomed to making. I don’t usually put as much sugar and no cinnamon, but after I tried this one out, I became instantly hooked and added the recipe to my ‘bag of tricks’.

Watch the video and try it out. I think you’ll find it surprisingly delicious!

How to Make Graham Cracker Crust

9 Simple Tips for Making the Perfect Pie Crust

I’ve made a fair amount of different types of pie crust in the relatively short time that I have been a pie baker. And, as a result, I have managed to pick up a rather substantial number of helpful but essential tips, both from trial and error and learning along the way, to craft the perfect pie crust each and every time.

Some of these tips may seem pretty straight forward and obvious and some may be things you never really knew. In any case, my hope is, that some or all of these can help you in some way, shape or form, when you’re putting together your own perfect pie crust.

9 Tips for the Perfect Pie Crust

1. Ingredients Need to be Cold
For flaky butter pie crusts, your butter needs to be kept COLD! So don’t pull that out of the refrigerator until the last possible moment. And, not only the butter, but you should also chill the FLOUR that end up using for the pie crust. Take your bowl of FLOUR and place that in the freezer for a few minutes. Also, if you use a PASTRY CUTTER, throw that in the freezer as well. Everything that can be chilled and kept cold, from the ingredients to your pie making tools, must be. You DO NOT want to work with semi-melted butter, or warm flour as that will work against you, in getting that perfect flaky pie crust.

2. Use a Pastry Cutter

Speaking of PASTRY CUTTERS (above), I highly recommend having one on hand when trying to put together your pie crust. Some folks use their hands and others use a food processor, which is perfectly fine, but I would get familiar with using a PASTRY CUTTER. It keeps your hands away from working the dough (that ‘body heat’ can also work against you and your ‘chilled’ ingredients), and it cuts up the butter so its nice and chunky, which helps with that flaky crust. Not going to kid you, it takes a little ‘muscle’ to work, but the results are tough to argue against!

3. Use a dash of apple cider vinegar [PRO TIP]
When trying to get that perfect, flaky, pie crust, sometimes you’re willing to try anything, no matter how far-fetched or strange it sounds. For me, the notion of adding a little apple cider vinegar to my pie crust mix was a bit odd, but I ended up trying it anyways and it helped. Basically, vinegar helps prevent the formation of gluten which makes the pie crust ‘tough’.

4. Let the Dough Rest
After you finish working your ingredients together and have your dough wrapped up, let it rest. I usually wrap it up and let it sit in the refrigerator for up to an hour or more before rolling it out. By chilling the dough before rolling it out, you allow the gluten in the dough, time to settle down and relax. This actually makes your pastry dough easier to roll out and cuts down on any shrinking during the baking process

5. The Pie Dish is Important
https://www.thekitchn.com/bakers-tip-choosing-the-right-pie-dish-166263

6. prevent soggy pie crust
My favorite pies are fruit pies, but as you already know, fruit pies tend to be overly juicy, and its very easy to end up with a ‘juice-logged’ soggy pie crust which is no-good! There’s several different things you could do to prevent this, but it will take some trial and error.

  • Blind Bake the pie crust first. Blind baking means you pre-bake the pie crust first (without any filling in it). You do this by covering the bottom pie crust in foil and then weighing that down with dried beans or ‘pie weights‘, to prevent the pie crust from rising up and developing air pockets.
  • Brush with egg. Another way to prevent soggy pie crust is to ‘seal’ the pie crust – essentially creating a barrier between the crust and the filling by brushing the surface of the unbaked crust with a beaten egg or egg white mixed with water before adding in the filling. The proteins in the egg will form a moisture barrier over the crust and provide a layer of protection.

7. Brush with Egg

Giving your pie a nice even, brush of egg wash on top, helps create a beautiful, golden brown pie crust. What’s equally important (as mentioned above in item #6), is brushing the same egg wash on the bottom crust to help seal it and prevent a soggy pie crust. To help create the egg wash? Take my advice and pick up a decent egg white separator.

8. stop pie crust from shrinking

9. protect the edges of your pie crust
You don’t want the edges of your pie crust to toughen and burn. The edges often bake the quickest, so while they will probably look like they are MORE than baked, that doesn’t mean the pie has finished baking. So what you need to do is protect those perfect pie crust edges. The quick and easy way would be to take a couple strips of aluminum foil and warp then around the edges of the pie. The other and more professional option if you’re serious about baking pies, is to obtain a pie crust shield, and protect the edges of your pie in this manner.

Perfect Pie Crust Bonus Tip
And lastly, from the renowned KITCHN website, 4 ADDITIONAL tips to Getting the Perfect, Golden Pie Crust

Video: How to Lattice Pie Crust

Do you know How to Lattice Pie Crust? Definitely NOT required skill when it comes to making and baking up a delicious apple or berry pie, HOWEVER, it can UP your ‘presentation’ game ten fold when show boating for friends and family?

Truth be told, personally I’m not a huge lattice pie crust guy? Not because it’s difficult or time consuming to do, because it’s not, but because I LOVE PIE CRUST, and you don’t seem to get enough when you have a lattice pie crust. That being said, if I’m preparing a pie for a friend, for an event, for a special occasion or Holiday feast, then sprucing up the look of the pie will earn you all the more praise and recognition. And, this is even before everyone dives in and really gets the full flavorful effect!

Below, are a set of written instruction and below that is a wonderful and simple video to help VISUALLY walk you through the process of How to Lattice Pie Crust.

If you hadn’t noticed by now, I am a huge fan of KING ARTHUR FLOUR, so pardon me if you ONCE AGAIN, see me sharing one of their most awesomely done HOW-TO tutorials. I often review a number of How-To videos, and although MOST of them are pretty good, I have never been disappointed with King Arthur Flour.

Instructions [How-To Video Below]:

Line a pie pan with pie dough. Cut ¾” strips out of the remainder of your rolled-out pie dough.

Scoop the filling into your prepared crust. Brush the edge of the crust with water to help the lattice strips better adhere.

Weave a top crust by placing strips vertically across the pie, leaving 1 ½” of space between each.

Fold every other strip back to the edge of the pie.

Place a strip horizontally across the pie. Fold down the folded-back strips.

Fold back every other vertical strip (the ones you didn’t do in the first step).

Place a second strip horizontally across the pie and fold down the folded-back vertical strips.

Repeat the steps, moving across the pie until complete.

Crimp the edge if desired. Brush the crust with 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water, and top with sparkling sugar.

Video: How to Lattice Pie Crust

Lastly, If you have a great pie crust decoration you can share, I would love to see it. Throw a link in the comments below if you can!

Video: How to Roll Out Pie Crust

There’s nothing like making your own pie pastry. Sure, it adds a bit more time to the pie making process, but a good, flavorful pie crust makes all the difference between a homemade and a store bought pie. I can’t tell you how many times my pies have been compared to a store-bought pie or pie purchased from a local bakery and hearing that my crust had so much more flavor to it? But ‘making’ pie pastry is only part of the process. You still need to know how to roll out pie crust as well!

When I first started rolling pie crust, I had no technique or care how I rolled it out, as long as it was more or less circular and was large enough to fit into my 9-inch pie dish.

What I didn’t know then that I know now, is that there IS a technique.

There IS a proper way to roll out pie crust, and there is an optimal thickness you want to have.

Needless to say, it took me a while to realize this, which is why I wanted to make sure that you learned how to roll out pie crust the proper way right from the get-go!

Below is a great video from King Arthur Flour, on how to roll out pie crust, the proper and correct way.

How to Roll Out Pie Crust

If you really plan on taking your pie making to the next level, you may also want to look at additional equipment, like quality rolling pins, and a pastry mat.

How to Make Sure Your Pie Crust is the Right Thickness

You learn something new every day right? And if you’re not learning something new, you should be seeking new things out, because there’s ALWAYS more to learn in any endeavor! Especially if you want to keep improving, right? For me, I wanted to keep improving with making my own crust. So I managed to find a great and short article on – How to Make Sure Your Pie Crust is the Right Thickness.

Making a successful homemade pie crust isn’t for the insecure home cook. There’s a lot that can go wrong—and when pie goes wrong, it’s hard to get it back on track.

Among the things to pay attention to is the pie dough’s thickness. “You want to measure your dough to make sure it has a uniform thickness throughout so it bakes evenly,” says Epi Food Director Rhoda Boone. Too thick, and you’re looking at an unevenly cooked pie. Too thin, and the crust may darken too quickly.

I’m sure there are a lot of methods pie bakers use and have used that were probably passed on generation after generation, but for me, mom just used to ‘eyeball’ the thickness of the crust, which always worked out for her perfectly. For me though, not so much though. The ‘eyeball’ technique just didn’t work consistently for me. So naturally when I came across the Epicurious technique, I was giddy with excitement.

I like ‘clear cut’ methods like this. I don’t have to think about it, Just do it.

How to Make Sure Your Pie Crust is the Right Thickness

You can’t really eyeball a dough’s thickness (unless you have a magic sense of what 1/8 of an inch looks like). So there’s no getting around it: you’re going to need to measure.

But don’t reach for your ruler. Instead, reach into your piggy bank. Just a couple of quarters is all you need to get the pie crust to the right thickness every time.

Here’s how it works: Place your pie dough on the counter. Using a rolling pin (preferably with a thicker center and tapered ends, which prevents your crust from being too thick in the middle), start to roll out the dough into a disc. Now take two quarters and stack them up next to the dough. Together, the coin stack’s height is roughly equivalent to 1/8 of an inch, which is the Epicurious Test Kitchen’s recommended thickness for pie dough.

EpicuriousThe Cheap Trick For Rolling Out Perfect Homemade Pie Crust

7 Great Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipes

The wait is over! You’ve been dying to find Gluten Free recipes for all your favorite desserts (most notably PIE) and although there are a multitude of choices out there, its easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds (maybe thousands) of recipe choices. Well look no further. I’ve gathered together a great list for you to start with. Here are my picks for the Best Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipes.

7 Great Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipes

The Best Gluten Free Pie Crust by Comfortably Domestic

flaky gluten free pie crust
 
 

Best Ever Gluten Free Pie Crust by Mamagourmand

flaky gluten free pie crust
 
 

Coconut Flour Pie Crust by Sweet as Honey

flaky gluten free pie crust
 
 

Vegan & Gluten-Free Pie Crust by Nerdy Mamma

flaky gluten free pie crust
 
 

Almond Flour Pie Crust Recipe by Mommy Potamus

almond flour pie crust
 
 

Coconut Cashew Tart Crust by Sweet As Honey

Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust
 
 

Three Ingredient Keto Pie Crust by Meat Free Keto

Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust

How to Keep Pie Crust from Shrinking

How to Keep Pie Crust from Shrinking? To understand this, let’s first touch on the process of blind baking. Blind baking a pie crust is essentially baking just the bottom pie crust. Why would you do something like this?

Blind baking insures that the pie shell gets baked all the way through – which in turn prevents the bottom of the crust from getting soggy. You would blind bake a pie crust when the pie recipe calls for a filling that doesn’t need to be cooked, such as chocolate pudding or pastry cream and fresh fruit.

The trick with blind baking however, is since there is no filling to take up the space in the pie dish, the pie crust tends to shrink as it bakes. this of course, presents a number of problems.

So, how to keep pie crust from shrinking? There are a couple methods you can use, to blind bake a pie crust and not have it shrink, one of which is a pretty common method of addressing this. Using PIE WEIGHTS.

You could use dried beans to act as a ‘weight’, and keep the pie crust down OR you can purchase specialty-crafted, PIE WEIGHTS from Amazon.com that you can use over and over again, each and every time you blind bake that work very good as well.

The second method I would recommend is one described in the video below by Christopher Kimball, where he creates a no-shrink pie dough. See for your self below…

How to Make Christopher Kimball’s No-Shrink Pie Dough

11 Essential Tools For The Perfect Pie Crust

The perfect pie crust. There are many who would argue that the most important part of a pie is the crust. And I’m not just talking about the taste and texture of the crust but the look or ‘presentation of the pie crust as well. There are a number of techniques and tips I can offer with regards to ‘shaping’ and forming pie crusts in decorative works of art, but that is for another day and time! What I’ve listed below are a number of ESSENTIAL pie pastry tools, every aspiring and practicing pie baker should have, in their kitchen, to assist them in not only making a magnificent pie, but also the PERFECT PIE CRUST.

Most importantly, is that I either own or have tried each and every pie crust tool on this list, so I can speak from some aspect of experience at having at least used these tools in some capacity.

So without further ado, here are 11 tools for the perfect pie crust:

PASTRY CUTTER

pastry-blenderOrblue Pastry Cutter Stainless Steel
Superior Quality - The Professional Dough Blender is engineered from stainless steel construction so it will NOT break, bend or rust. This pastry cutter was meticulously designed to serve you for years and decades to come.

Effortless Mixing - This pastry blender with blades quickly cut butter or margarine into dry ingredients such as flour, sugar or baking powder, combining a set of wet and dry ingredients seamlessly so you can bake your pie crust or cookie like a boss.

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PIE CRUST CUTTERS

lattice-dough-cutterPrince Lattice Dough Cutter
Arranging a lattice crust is not difficult. It may at first look quite challenging, but after you've done it a few times, you'll see it really isn't too tough. That being said, there are pretty nifty tools like this lattice dough cutter, that I have used a few times already, that can make things easier and quicker.

Definitely a useful item to have on the shelf, to try out from time to time.

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nordic-pie-cutterNordic Ware Lattice & Hearts Pie Top Cutter
My mother one day surprised me, with the Nordic Ware Lattice & Hearts Pie Top Cutter. I hadn't really been looking at getting into decorative pie crusts initially as I was still learning the trade. But over time when I started to venture into more creative recipes and presentation, this hearts pie crust cutter became a much more valuable piece of equipment.

I'll tell you what, the designs you can make are really quite cool, especially after you have baked the pie.

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wilton-pie-crust-cutterWilton Double Cut Out Pie Crust Cutters
Like the Nordic Ware item above, these decorative pie crust cutters only add to the deliciousness of your pie dish by sprucing up the top crust some. I use these quite often actually when I'm making pies for events, or special occasions. Nice when you have some dough scraps to put to good use.

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PASTRY BOARD

marble pastry boardFox Run White Marble Pastry Board
I got my marble pastry board shortly after I purchased the marble rolling pin. No, I didn't need a matching set. I liked the fact that the marble enables these tools to stay cold, which is EVERYTHING when it comes to working with pie pastry in an efficient manner. The marble board coupled with my rolling pin made keeping pie pastry cold amazingly easy.

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PIE CRUST SHIELD

pastry shieldTalisman Designs Adjustable Pie Crust Shield
Your pie crust edges will be the first to burn and crisp up when baking, so its in your best interest to not let that happen. You could try the cheap and relatively crude method of wrapping some foil around the edges or the REAL easy way by using a pie shield. I've used both methods and I'll you what, the pie shield is quick and easy and inexpensive. Trust me, I've used both.

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PIE CRUST BAG

Easy No-Mess Pie Crust Maker BagMrs. Anderson’s Baking Easy No-Mess Pie Crust Maker Bag
I would almost consider Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Easy No-Mess Pie Crust Maker Bag cheating, but really, can it be considered 'cheating' when your pie crust is PERFECTLY measured in size and thickness to make that most awesome of pie recipes? I didn't know what a pie bag was until I picked this up and tried it. Very very cool!

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PIE WEIGHTS

Pie WeightsPerfect Crust Pie Stainless Steel Weight Chain
Pre-baking (baking blind) pie crust is quite the common act for the aspiring and avid pie baker. I must admit, I used to use dried beans when I first started out, but have since 'upped' my pie baking game by using this weight chain. I like how you can 'shape' it much better than a mound of beans. When you're ready to start really making things look good, this is a good substitute to have over dried beans for pre-baking.

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PASTRY SCRAPER

pastry scraperOXO Good Grips Multi-purpose Stainless Steel Scraper
I consider my pastry cutter to be one of the most indispensable pie pastry tools in my kitchen. I don't entirely know what they're SUPPOSED to be used for, but I use them to scrap dough from my rolling pin, scoop up pastry from my pastry board and mat, break up dough, you name it. A great organizational and 'clean-up' tool that's for sure.

I have several on-hand but I like my Orblue because of the grip. Just extra assurance when your hands have butter, or flour or some other slippery substance on them.

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ROLLING PINS

Rolling PinMarble Rolling Pin and Base, White
How many rolling pins do you have in your kitchen? Be honest now! And don't be ashamed if you have several, obtained over the many years you have been honing your pie baking craft! I have several, with one being this marble beauty! It's heavy, which I like as you don't have to exert so much energy rolling out pie pastry, and its cool surface is nice to help prevent your dough sticking to it.

In fact, if you toss it in the freezer for 15-20min before using, that's even better.

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french rolling pinThe Original French Rolling Pin
Like many pie bakers (and homemade pizza connoisseurs...), I started my pie baking adventures using a standard CLASSIC wooden rolling pin. It's what my mom used and so naturally that is what I adopted. Since that time however, I have since migrated to the French style rolling pin, which although challenging at first, has proven to give me much more control over rolling out pie dough.

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Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie With Flaky Butter Sour Cream Crust

A juicy, sweet yet tart homemade cherry pie complete with a flaky butter, sour cream crust.

The Mother-in-Law is coming to town!

I flew my wife to see her mother, who lives in Hawaii, a couple years back for her birthday. Her mom doesn’t make it to the ‘mainland’ very often so I thought the gesture would be nice. But her mom has not seen (physically seen) her grand-kids for some years now, and so this trip was inevitable. Sure the kids and their grandmother had conversed over SKYPE many, many times over the years, but nothing beats IRL (In-Real-Life). So, long story short, grandma is coming to town in a week and the wife decided that NOW, more than ever, would be a great time to do our Spring Cleaning (or rather, FALL CLEANING).

The days were long and the nights were even longer as we slaved away in dark recesses of the house, seldom ventured to, hauling out ‘junk’ both memorable and ‘ancient.’ We must’ve made 4 or more trips to the city dump and an equal number of trips to the Salvation Army, as we muddled through the heaps of clothes, DVDs. music CDs, VHS tapes (yes, you heard that right…), old TVs, Old computers, old this, old that! It was borderline ridiculous.

At some point during all this, I came across a recipe for a flaky butter, sour cream pie crust, and when the opportunity presented itself, after a looooooong day of hard labor, I managed to sneak away (from the wife…) and make a ‘run’ for the kitchen! Time in-between hauls was short, but this HAD to be done!

I hadn’t made my mother’s homemade cherry pie for some time, and for some reason I was REALLY craving tart cherries, so this seemed the logical choice to run with to test out the crust.

Sour Cream Pie Crust

Flaky Butter Sour Cream Crust

Making the crust was quick and cool, because, you know, I was doing something a bit ‘different’ than I usually do (adding in sour cream), so that small change alone made this oh, so much fun!

There were of course, the ‘usual’ steps, at mixing up some flour, salt and sugar together, then tossing all this with 2 sticks of unsalted butter, which I had cubed. After having mashed the flour-salt-sugar mix together with the ‘slightly’ softened butter cubes, with my ‘CLEAN’ hands (that was for you MOM!), I then added in the sour cream and mixed it all together with a fork.

homemade cherry pie

After gathering it all together into a ball, and splitting it into two equal sizes, I flattened each out, sprinkled with flour and wrapped in plastic wrap for their hour long rest in the fridge. BACK TO CLEANING I grumbled under my breath.

flaky pie crust

Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie

The pie filling for the cherry pie, was easy-peasey to whip together, and one in which I had fully committed to memory long ago.

With almost INHUMAN speed and efficiency (at least that’s how it felt in my OWN MIND), I cracked open three cans of Oregon Red Tart Cherries, and emptied the juice into my saucepan, slightly heating it up. Within a second of that I was whisking together sugar and cornstarch and then mixing and dissolving it into my juice, as I heated it to boil.

With a bit of determined stirring the juices slowly thickened, at which point I spooned in my cherries sitting at IDLE nearby. A few dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla extract as well as a bit of red food coloring to give it a great looking flare and I was done.

Quickly rolling out my pie dough, and assembling it all together in a 9 inch pie dish, my pie was in the oven and on its way!

homemade cherry pie

Cleaning wasn’t done, although it was moving forward (in fact, as of this writing I was STILL cleaning), but at least I had Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie to smooth out the task. Pie make EVERYTHING that much better!

Pie Crust Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup of (FULL FAT) sour cream

Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients

3 14.5 Oz. cans Oregon Red Tart Cherries, Pitted, packed in water
½ tsp plus dash Nutmeg
½ tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp butter
1 tsp Vanilla
¼ tsp Red Food Coloring
2 cups sugar
4 Tbs Corn Starch

Directions

For the pie crust…

See Elise’s wonderfully arranged blog post – No Fail, Sour Cream Pastry Crust

For the filling…

Open cans, pour liquid into a large measuring cup (each can will have different amount of liquid). You should have approximately 1-1/2cups of liquid. Pour liquid into a saucepan, heat on low.

While liquid heating up, Mix 2 cups sugar, 4 Tbls corn starch and stir into a bowl. If cornstarch is lumpy, press down to break up lumps into sugar. Pour sugar and corn starch into liquid, stirring slowly so it will dissolve. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon, let it boil until thickens, remove from heat.

Add cherries, spoon them in because dumping cans will result in unwanted juice. Place pan back on burner, continue to stir removing any ugly cherries (presentation is everything right?) – let mixture heat up again. Add ½ tsp plus dash nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon, stirring into mixture. Add 1 tsp vanilla, stirring into mixture. Mixture will thicken, remove from heat and add ¼ tsp Red Food Coloring.

Preheat oven 375 degrees – bake @ 375 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until crust is brown

Enjoy! I know I did!

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

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!

To learn more about the negative effects of gluten, click here

A Simple Pie Crust Recipe for You to Start Out With

We were buried! At least under a foot of heavy, fresh-fallen snow. Boise’s first heavy snow of the Winter (isn’t it still technically Fall?) had come, and in dramatic fashion.

walkway

Highways were shutdown, schools were closed, and kids were ecstatic. The temperatures outside were an ear nipping 15 degrees, and I had no desire to brave Winter’s fury today. What better day to bake I thought! But what, was the question!

What to Make. What to Bake

I’d been chomping at the bit, eager to start making my own pie crust for weeks now, ever since Betty Crocker hung me out to dry, and today was looking better and better as a day for experimentation.

I had been gathering up pie crust recipes from around the Web and more specifically, Pinterest, over the last several weeks, so I already had a ready supply of ideas from which to start from. The choices and flavors were many, but as ‘venturesome’ as I felt this day, I still wanted to start out slow and steady with a recipe relatively simple even for me. Chance behold, I knew exactly the one I wanted to start with!

Lo and behold, Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust!

Nothing revolutionary by any stretch but Annalise’s recipe was simple, full of buttery flavor and quick to put together. Perfect for my first attempt at making homemade pie crust.

Pie Crust Ingredients and Process

Not being the venturesome sort, I stuck to Annalise’s recipe to a ‘T’, not deviating or trying to get cure and creative one bit. This was both a fun project but an educational one as well and I loved every bit of it. My 9yr old daughter also took great interest, engaging with the process at every turn…

‘It doesn’t look like dough, Dad?’

‘It looks like a lot of flour and nothing else Dad?’

dough1

‘Shouldn’t it be coming together in a clump like dough is supposed to Dad?’

pie-prep

‘Oh, wait, its starting to come together Dad!’

pie-baking02

‘Wow, it looks like pie crust dough you got at the store Dad?’

I made two iterations of Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust, as the recipe had an ‘optional’ sugar component in it that I tried once, but didn’t care for it, so I made the pie crust again without it and loved it.

Once complete, I wrapped up the dough and stuffed it in the fridge for a couple hours.
cherry-pie02

Since the ‘objective’ of today’s pie baking adventure was more about the ‘pie crust’ than anything else, I figured I’d just make my standard apple pie, since I knew that recipe and process literally by heart. But, since I’d only baked my mom’s cherry pie once, and the fact that the Oregon red tart cherries were on sale at the local grocer (which was unusual but highly welcomed), I decided I’d kill two birds with one stone (sorry for the pun…) and make this a worthwhile experiment.

I took my dough out of the fridge and let it sit for about 20 min to soften a bit while I prepped my cherries – which involved thickening the juice a bit with a mix of sugar and starch and heating the mixture of cherries and juice with some nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.

Once the dough was rolled out, the cherry mixture was poured in and the top of the pie crust gently set on top.

cherry-pie

All set and ready to roll, I threw it in the oven for a sizzling quick 45 min.

pie-baking

Results?

cherry-pie2
Absolutely delish! The pie crust was fantastic. The flavor was good, with a hint of butter as was the consistency and the cherries, both tart and smothered in a sweetened juice. I was extremely please with the results. I didn’t glaze the top of the crust with egg wash as mentioned in the recipe, though I plan to do that in the next pie baking run.

Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust was a great success in more ways than one. It was the perfect pie crust for me to ‘get my feet wet’ and help me build the confidence and belief in myself that I was capable of putting together my own pie crust mix. And, although her pie crust will be a springboard to more ambitious pie crust projects, this recipe was so easy that it will more than likely become the ‘standard’ pie crust for the majority of my projects!

Thanks Annalise!

cherry pie

What Did You Go and Do That For Betty Crocker?

Betty Crocker pie crust has been a stable, tasty, fixture in my family kitchen since before I could remember. What I can recall however, is always seeing the signature Betty Crocker pie crust box sitting tall on the kitchen counter, waiting, in powdery, delicious anticipation for its fellowship – Cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla to join in the upcoming pie adventure! Well, all that was blown away when I stumbled, accidentally, onto Betty Crocker’s BIG CHANGE!

PIE CRUST DREAMIN’

I’ve really just started on the path toward learning how to craft my own signature pie crust. Not only because I’d like to become a true pie making connoisseur, and not have to rely on store-bought pie crust, but because I’d really like to ‘OWN’ the pie I crafted, from the hot-bubbly filling and up through the flaky, buttery crust. So this latest ‘misstep’ from Betty Crocker might just be the writing on the wall for me.

BETTY CROCKER CHANGED THEIR CRUST

Betty Crocker pie crust 'original'
I had no intention of baking of pie today. Just a quick run up to the corner Albertson’s grocery store to retrieve something to drink for the house is all I had been tasked with. Funny how things always never seem to go as planned when you make that fateful turn into the ‘baking aisle.’

I don’t know what it is but I LOVE to browse down this aisle. Through the cake and brownie mix, flours, sugars and starches, seasonings, kitchen pans, dishes and utensils and past the pie crust…..wait. Up on the top shelf, where my lifelong familiar once stood, was a new Betty Crocker pie crust mix.

The box had a more modern look and feel to it, a little more trendier with a sharp looking photograph emblazoned across it. I re-confirmed that I was indeed still looking at a Betty Crocker product, and that this had indeed ‘replaced’ the old-school, packaged pie crust I had been accustomed to for so many years. This was the NEW Betty Crocker look, and according to the packaging, they had retained the ‘original’ pie crust recipe and merely just updated the branding. Hmm….

Curiosity got the better of me, as I tossed a box into my shopping cart and spirited myself away toward the produce section. Me and Granny Smith needed to talk!

SOMETHING WAS AMISS…

Disaster!! What has Betty Crocker done?! This was NOT the pie crust I had grown up with. In fact, it wasn’t even close. I should’ve known this fact, when I glanced at the instructions on the box and noticed an ever so slight ‘change’ in the process of mixing this crust. Nothing extravagant, but a slight variation in the amount of water I was to add to the mixture.

After rolling out the dough, it seemed ‘stickier’ than normal. A pinch of flour sprinkled across it, seemed to do the trick, but then once flattened and ready to roll-up, it began to fragment. I quickly ‘balled’ it back up and rolled it out again. Same result. I made do, and got the dough situated in my 9″ dish. In went the sliced Granny Smith’s, sugar, cinnammon, butter, vanilla and nutmeg. On to the next ball of dough, whcih after being flattened had the same disastrous results. WHAT THE HELL?!

Again, I ‘managed’ to cover the pie adequately, though not ‘pretty’ by any stretch. In fact it was down right horrible [hence, no photos], and I almost wanted to scrap the whole thing right then and there.

There were some leftover scraps of dough on the counter mat, which I tasted. [Side note – ever since I was a kid, my mother used to set aside a small bunch of pie crust dough, leftover after she had shaped the edges of the crust, for me. Don’t ask me why I liked the taste of it, but I did, and to this day, I often sample the raw dough just after finishing the pie. Anyways…]

It did NOT taste like the Betty Crocker pie crust my taste buds had grown so accustomed to over the years. And I should know! This immediately concerned me, since the finished pie was now baking away. Too late to scrap [my pie addiction now seizing control of my faculties…] I thought. Let’s play this out and see what happens.

THE RESULTS

The pie was done. It’s wonderful, warming aroma filling the kitchen and adjoining rooms of the house with sweet, vanilla/cinnamon/Granny Smith deliciousness! Hmm…maybe this whole ‘something is wrong’ feeling was just me striving for perfection as I always try to do when baking pie and THINKING Betty Crocker had pulled a fast one?

But when scooped out a warm slice, my suspicions rang true. The pie crust WAS different. Flakier but also with a different taste, Betty Crocker in one fell swoop took me to a new low. A pie crust mix that really started me on this ‘addiction’ had changed, and not for the better. Maybe that’s too harsh? Maybe the new pie crust mix tasted great but my childhood love and admiration for the ‘original’ mix wouldn’t let me ‘accept’ anything that could possibly taste better?

Regardless, the Betty Crocker pie crust I had grown to know and love was gone [replaced by this IMPOSTER!!! just kidding…], and now I faced the hard decision of learning to accept the new Betty Crocker, or finally make that move toward seriously learning to craft my own signature pie crust.

Curious…
How many of you, make your own crust or have a favorite store-bought pie crust you use?