The last time I did the pie crust, someone asked how you roll a round crust. I said I’d be doing it again soon, so here it is with more shots of the rolling process.
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a sieve over a large mixing bowl.
Tap the edge of the sieve until everything is sifted together.
Cut the butter in half lengthwise, and then into quarters. Then turn sideways and cut into small cubes.
Add the butter to the dry ingredients.
You want the butter to be cold when you do this. Warm butter will get absorbed into the flour. Cold butter will stay in little pockets in the dough. That’s where the flakiness comes from.
Combine the butter with the flour by “cutting it in” using a pastry cutter. My old one was an old-fashioned wire version. Total pain in the neck to use. I finally found the blade style at the restaurant supply store. Much nicer.
Cut the butter in until it forms a coarse meal, with bits of butter no larger than a pea.
Add ice water a tablespoon at a time and mix in with a fork until the flour comes together into a rough dough.
Once it starts coming together, roll the dough together into a ball.
Put the dough in a large (gallon size) zip top bag, and put it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This gives the butter time to cool off again before you start working the dough.
When you take the dough out, keep it in the bag until you’re done rolling it out. Press the ball down into a roundish shape (sorry for the technical terms).
With a rolling pin, press down in the center and roll back toward yourself.
Then turn the bag a quarter turn and roll from the center toward yourself again.
Keep doing quarter turns and rolling from the center out until you have a round shape as large as you can go inside the bag.
You can refrigerate crusts at this point for several days, or freeze them for weeks before using them.
When you’re ready to use it, check the size of your pie plate against the dough.
The bottom crust in a pie needs to be an inch or two bigger across than the plate so it can go down into the plate. If yours isn’t — like mine wasn’t — flour a clean, dry surface. Turn the dough out onto it and add a little flour on top of the dough.
Roll from the center out until the dough is a couple of inches larger than the top rim of your pie plate.
Fold the crust in half over your rolling pin. Use the pin to lift the crust up and lay it across the pie plate.
Carefully tuck the crust down into the corners of the plate and fold the extra dough over on top of the rim.
For pies that need a pre-baked crust, you need to cook it without letting the crust puff up. Line the crust with foil then fill it with pie weights, beans, marbles or change.
Bake on the middle rack at 325° for 12 to 15 minutes. Then, grabbing the foil by the corners, carefully remove the pie weights. Remember they’ll be hot.
Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. This will let steam out, again to keep it from rising.
Bake for 10 minutes more or until the bottom of the crust appears dry.
Look closely to make sure it’s dry all the way through. Clear pie plates like this one make it really easy to see if light is coming through unevenly.
Put the plate back in the oven and bake a couple of minutes at a time until it looks completely dry.
And that’s it.
Coming up next is a pie I’ve been waiting to do since I came back from vacation this past summer. I won’t say I have a new favorite pie, but it’s close.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.