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The Perfect Pie Crust

the urban baker: The Perfect Pie Crust

the urban baker

The Urban Baker is deliciously photographed blog about nourishing your family's soul through life in the kitchen. The recipes for fabulous savories and sweets are easily replicated and will inspire you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Perfect Pie Crust

In honor of Julia Child's birthday (yesterday, the 15th) I wanted to make something from the Baking with Julia cookbook. I make something that would put me over the edge and really challenge me.

However, when a friend of mine asked me to "cater" her parents 50th wedding anniversary party, I had a hard time saying no. I am not a caterer. I just love to cook and everyone in my inner circle knows this about me. After putting the menu together, I thought it would be festive to make little apple tarts to go along with the "wedding" type cake they were going to get for the party.

In the front of the book are about 8 "basic" must do recipes. The flaky pie dough is one of them. I have not found a dough that I am in love with, until now! This is the perfect pie dough. It doesn't shrink when cooked and it holds true to its is flaky. The recipe says it makes enough for 4 9-10 pies or tarts. I made 22, 4" small tarts.

Originally, when I was planning the menu for my friend, I wanted to make individual apple crisps. I made some, as a test (aug. 10th post) and although I thought the crisps were good, it didn't translate well for individual desserts. I wanted to keep them small and remembered an apple streusel tart I made one Thanksgiving back in the early 90's. I found the original recipe, however didn't have both pages of the recipe. So I decided to make one up. Here is what I did:

Flaky Pie Dough
Baking with Julia

5 1/4 cups pastry flour
1 Tbls. kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup ice water

I made mine in my food processor.

1. Put dry ingredients in bowl of food processor fitted with the metal blade and process.

2. Take the top off and scatter the cold butter and shortening and pulse until it resembles moist cornmeal.

3. Add a little of the liquid and pulse a few times and then add more liquid until the mixture has curds and clumps and sticks together when pressed between your fingertips.

4. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. Roll to 1/4" thickness. Cut out and place in desired pan.

The dough can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or frozen for one month. Divide it into quarters before freezing.

Apple Filling

2 Tbls. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
zest from one lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1. Peel and core the apples. Cut apples anyway you like.

2. Pour other ingredients over apples and mix to coat apples

Put apples in prepared tart/pie shell

Streusel top

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (4 oz. ) butter, cold and cubed
zest of one lemon

1. Mix dry ingredients

2. Cut butter into dry ingredients with your hands or a pastry cutter. It should be chunky and crumbly.

Top each tart with a handful of streusel.

Preheat oven to 350*. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, check tarts, they may or may not need more time.

Happy eating!!

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