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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.

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.

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