Make A Pie Crust

Basic Pastry Dough for pies, tarts, and quiches
(makes 2 11-inch pie crusts)

Note: This does require a food processor.  I didn't have one for the longest time - but now I do, and it's glorious.  If you don't have one, it's still possible to make your own pie crusts but the methodology is a little different - I found some tips by doing a google search for "make a pie crust without a food processor" :)

2 2/3 c. all purpose flour
2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. ice water

 Insert the metal blade and put the flour, butter, and salt in the food processor work bowl.  Process for 8-10 seconds, or until the mixture is like coarse meal.  While the processor is running, pour the ice water through the feed tube in a steady stream.  Stop processing as soon as the dough begins to form a ball (OK - better said "as soon as the dough begins to stick together").  Do not overprocess.  Divide the dough and any little scraps on the bottom of the bowl into two equal parts and put each into a plastic bag.  Work through each bag to press the dough together into a ball, then into a disc.

Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or overnight, or freeze it.

Roll each disc of dough on a lightly floured surface to a cirle about 1/8 inch thick.  Press them into place in two greased pie pan.  Use kitchen shears to trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overlap beyond the pan.  Fold the overlap inside to form a double thickness on the sides.  Press the dough firmly into place, pushing the crust up a little bit above the edge of the pan to allow for shrinkage during baking.  Pinch the crust to form a decorative edge.  Prick the bottom and sides with a fork and refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill it with uncooked beans or rice.  Bake it for 12 minutes.  Remove the paper and the beans/rice, prick the shell again and bake it for 6 minutes longer, or until it is lightly browned.

Use for sweet pies or savory tarts and quiches.

So, I don't know about you, but pie crusts have been one of those things that I've just assumed you buy in the frozen food section of the grocery store.  I always thought that making it myself would be too much work (after all, who can really commit to rolling something to 1/8th of an inch thickness?  I don't have the time for that.)  But recently, I found myself in need of a pie crust, and it wasn't exactly a good day for grocery shopping (I could blame this on the baby, but really ... it was my lack of planning that made it not happen).  So, I pulled out the instruction manual to the trusty food processor, and found this recipe in the back.  I tried it.  And it wasn't hard.  In fact, it was surprisingly quick, my fingers didn't ache from trying to cut butter into flour, and I even got a break of a couple of hours in between preparing the dough and rolling it.

And yes, I got it to 1/8 inch thickness - WAAAYY easier than I thought it was going to be.

I haven't been too adventurous with this until today when I ran out of white flour.  So half of the flour is whole wheat.  And I threw some garlic powder in the food processor bowl just for kicks.

I'm in the middle of that 2-hour-chilling-of-dough-discs right now, so I can't tell you how it's going to turn out.  But I'm excited, and I think it will be the perfect homemade crust as the basis of this quiche that's our dinner tonight.

What are you going to use a pastry crust for this week?

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