PHOTO TUTORIAL | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Fear Conquered: Homemade Pastry Dough
Recently I've been thinking I want to make fresh peach pie. And while considering how such a pie might take shape, I realized it was time to share a recipe everyone should know how to make. Because it's so useful and so basic. And if you're blessed with a food processor, it's also really easy. Even if you're not lucky enough to own a food processor, it's still easy to make this by hand. Pastry dough. Everyone should be making it - and if you own a food processor, you have no excuse not to.
You can find all kinds of variations on pastry dough. Google can provide endless suggestions - eeny, meeny, miney, moe. But when I think of pastry, I think of this perfect blend of light yet buttery, flaky yet substantial, salted but never salty. And after years of fussing with the ratio of ingredients and baking countless pies and pastries, I have a recipe worth repeating. It's so easy, a properly trained rodent could successfully make this dough. Except perhaps one wouldn't want a rodent anywhere near pastry. At least I wouldn't.
Speaking of easy and homemade, I happened to have the flat screen tuned to Food Network (a rarity what with the busy Glee, Parks and Recreation, Star Trek and Golden Girls lineup). And gracing the screen with moment from her very hurried schedule was the ever time-conscious Sandra Lee. In a very Sandra Lee coordinated kitchen. Whipping up a complex Semi-Homemade assorted simplicity.
I hate pretentious food: quibbling over the absolute best flour, moaning over the most exotic of imported far-away chocolate or getting high off the subtle nuanced aromas of Italian-pressed olive oil. I just don't care and I can't be made to. All that pretentious quibbling, all those expensive ingredients and all those minuscule subtleties can't replace the most important ingredient nobody talks about. Love. Love, love love. It will knock-out that pretentious fussy crap every time.
Back to Sandra Lee and the theory of Semi-Homemade: help people find shortcuts in the kitchen so they can make meals for loved ones. Wait. Revise that. Semi-Homemade is actually about injecting premade food ensembles with dollops of pretentiousness to convince loved ones we bothered to make the meal from scratch instead of opening cans, boxes and freezer bags. Why?
Why am I trying to convince someone I've been slaving away in the kitchen for hours? Why would I pretend an easy meal took hours to prepare? Make a good meal, put some love into it and serve it up. Enough with the pretentious pretending.
Stick with honest, unpretentious food, made with love. Like this pastry dough.
STORY | PRINTABLE RECIPE | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
|Make sure to use organic non-hydrogenated shortening. You will need 1/3 cup of very cold shortening.|
|3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 Tablespoons).|
|Cube the butter and re-chill while preparing other ingredients.|
|Add ice cubes to 1/4 cup water and let chill for 10 minutes.|
|Add 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment.|
|For best results, you will also need cake flour.|
|Add 1 cup of cake flour to the food processor.|
|Add kosher salt and granulated sugar to the flour.|
|Pulse dry ingredients together for 30 seconds to combine.|
|Add chilled shortening.|
|Add chilled cubed butter.|
|Pulse 8-10 times to combine butter, shortening and dry ingredients until you achieve a coarse texture as shown.|
|With the food processor on continuous run, slowly add water through the feed tube.|
|Stop adding water as soon as the dough begins to pull together.|
|Dump dough pieces onto plastic wrap.|
|Gather dough together and press out to form a thin disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.|
|Divide dough in half and roll out each crust individually.|
|Roll out pastry dough to 1/8 inch thickness.|
|You will have enough pastry for at least 2x9-inch pie crusts.|
|Drape pastry dough over pie dish.|
|Work pastry dough into the pie plate without stretching the dough.|
|Crimp and trim pie crust. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.|
|To blind bake the crust, line chilled pie crust with foil.|
|Add a filling (I use beans or steel cut oats).|
|Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, then remove foil and filling, prick pie crust and bake for 5-10 minutes at 375F until golden.|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Homemade Pastry Dough: Sweet or Savory
Prep Time: 1 hr 35 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Ingredients (2x9-inch pie crusts)
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unbleached cake flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
- 1/3 cup organic shortening, very cold
- 1/4 cup purified ice water
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached cake flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
- 3 Tablespoons organic shortening, very cold
- 2-3 Tablespoons purified ice water
- Measure the shortening and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients (if starting with room temperature shortening)
- Dice the cold butter and place back in the refrigerator to re-chill while you prepare the remaining ingredients
- Add 4-5 ice cubes to the water in a measuring cup with a pour spout; let the water stand with the ice for at least 5 minutes to chill
- Add the flours, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. With the feed tube closed, pulse for 30 seconds to combine the ingredients
- Add the very cold shortening and cold diced butter to the food processor. Pulse 8-10 times with the feed-tube closed. The butter will become lumpy crumbs with the flour
- With the food processor on continuous run, slowly drizzle in the cold water until the dough begins to pull together - the dough may NOT form a ball and that's ok
- Dump the dough bits onto plastic wrap and gather into a ball using the plastic wrap and a spatula to help (try not to touch the dough). Flatten the ball into a thick disk, wrap in the plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour
- Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness (or thinner if desired) and bake according to your pie or pastry recipe (see the recipe tips for "blind baking" crusts)
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STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | PRINTABLE RECIPE
Hungry for Tips?
- If you do not have a food processor, combine the flours, salt and sugar in a medium bowl and chill in the freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and add the cubed, cold butter and cold shortening. Cut the butter and shortening into the flour using a pastry cutter (or fork) and try not to touch the butter or flour with your fingers. When butter is the size of large peas, add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing continuously with the pastry cutter or fork until the dough begins to truly clump together. Follow the above recipe for steps 7 and 8.
- To blind bake a crust, chill the prepared crust in the pie plate for 10 minutes in the freezer. Line the chilled crust with foil and fill the pie crust cavity with beans or steel-cut oats. Bake the crust for 20 minutes at 400F, then remove the foil and filling, prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork in multiple places and bake for another 5-10 minutes at 375F until crust is golden.
- Cake flour is lighter than all purpose flour (due to a lower protein ratio) and aids the butter and shortening in keeping the pastry dough light and flaky. In a pinch if you don't have cake flour, you can use all purpose flour instead: just remove 2 Tablespoons of flour per measured cup and add 2 Tablespoons of corn starch.
- I like the combination of butter and shortening - you get the flakiness of shortening and the flavor of butter. Just be sure to use organic shortening to avoid the troubling health concerns of partially and fully hydrogenated fats used in non-organic shortening and lard.
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