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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vodka Pie Crust

Vodka? In a pie crust? Yes. The alcohol provides liquid for the dough that makes it wet and easy to manage, but with less water, which combines with flour to make gluten. Too much gluten means a tough crust. Less water means less gluten and a crust with a nice texture.

I don't like the taste and texture of this crust quite as well as my Grandma's, which is just amazingly flaky, but this recipe is great for pies with a top and for beginning pie makers who don't want to mess with fragile pie dough.
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Vodka Pie Crust


Source: Cook's Illustrated
Makes two 9-inch crusts

2 1/2 c flour
1 teas table salt
2 T sugar
12 T cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 c chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 c vodka, cold
1/4 c cold water

Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days. Dough can be frozen, also.

Note from Colette:  Just in case you wonder.......this pie crust has no vodka flavor. It completely dissipates.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Pie Crust

Although finicky, this is our favorite pie crust for flakiness.

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Grandma's Old Fashioned Pie Crust


Source: Betsy's Grandma Betty
Makes two 9-inch pie crusts.

Stir together, with a fork:

2 c flour
1 scant teas salt
1/8 teas baking powder

Blend in 1 c shortening (less if using lard) with a pastry cutter. Add 1/8 c milk and see what the dough looks like. It should start forming a solid mass but you don't want it too sticky. Add up to another 1/8 c milk in small amounts until the dough comes together and there is no unincorporated flour.

Roll out at room temperature. The dough is fragile so you may need to do some patching once it's in the pie shell. Dip your finger in milk or water, dampen the crust, then push the patch together.

If baking shell before filling, dock the crust by poking it with a fork at half-inch intervals on the bottom and the sides. (Also watch while baking. If you see a large steam bubble, poke it with a fork to release the steam.) Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

For pie crust cookies:
Roll out leftover dough and cut into rough rectangles. Place on cookie sheet, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.