So after two weeks, I am finally able to update you all on the pie crust test. I had a bit of a programming error, and had to rebuild the site (not an easy task for the non programmer like me).
I was preparing for Thanksgiving, my first as host, and I was feeling pretty comfortable with everything, except the pies. My family HAS to have pie on Thanksgiving, it would be unnatural in our eyes. I had already decided on the types of pie I was going to make. One problem though, I had NEVER made a scratch pie crust in my life. Oh I have made lots of pies, but I usually stuck to the graham cracker crust, or used a store-bought freezer crust when I had made a fruit pie.
After all the research, and looking at countless recipes, I decided to try three different recipes. The first was a Pate Sucree. Its a nice, buttery sweet crust, and in my opinion should have been perfect for a Pecan Pie. I went about making it, and baked it in a tart pan with a removable bottom. It did come out nicely in the tart pan, all golden and pretty looking. Then I realized I should have actually baked it with the filling. I know, I know, Baking 101: Read the Instructions! Actually I had read the instructions, I was just too excited to try something new, that I put it in the oven without thinking. Only 20 minutes lated did I realize what I had done, and by then, the Pate Sucree was almost done. So for the test batch, I made it into a Caramel Tart with a chocolate ganache. It was tasty, and later, my brother told me it reminded him of eating Twix candy bars. I am not sure how I feel about that…those always seemed dried out to me.
Second I tried a basic all-butter crust for an apple Pie. I was so worried I would muck it up. I have very warm hands, and as I was cutting the butter into small chunks, It was melting (and I had just pulled it out of the fridge!). My solution was to put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes after I cut it, and it seemed to work for me. My other problem was how I would mix it all up. Hot hands = melted butter = soggy pie crust. I decided to take the TV chef route and use my food processor. It allowed me to cut in the butter without melting it. In fact, before I added the liquids, I stuck my finger in to check it, and it was still really cold. After refrigerating the dough overnight (that wasn’t my intention, I got sidetracked by the dogs and realized It was late to put a pie in the oven), I rolled it out and baked it. It came out nicely as well. Not quite as flaky as I had wanted, but I assume that will come with practice…I hope ha ha! It could also be the liquid from the apples, which is a whole other topic which I plan to get into later on.
The last recipe I used was my grandmothers pie crust recipe, which includes both butter and shortening, as well as white vinegar in place of some of the water. This one came out as my favorite, maybe because it brought back memories, or maybe because the texture was more what I was looking for, I am still not sure yet. I will figure it out eventually. I used the same method with freezing the butter for a few minutes and using the food processor to mix it up. This one was made into a Banana Cream pie, and will most likely be the one I use in the future as a basic pie crust.
Overall, I learned that pie crust is not hard to make, but it IS hard to perfect. I do believe that with practice, I can perfect the technique (as well as my waistline?). The whole idea of Pie crust is to hold the good stuff inside, without being too flashy, but still be tasty. The pate sucree was both, the vinegar crust was both as well. However neither one are suited to just any kind of Pie.
I will post the recipes for my crusts with their pies in seperate posts, to make it easier to find. Thanks for your patience 🙂