Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Food Processor Pie Crust - Tasty Tuesday!

I had grand plans for this week's Tasty Tuesday.  I was going to make one of my favorite late summer dishes that I hadn't made in forever that most people haven't had before.  Have you ever enjoyed Tomato Pie?

I didn't think so.

Unfortunately, I've been down with a migraine since Sunday, so I haven't been able to make all of this.  I made the pie crust last night, but today the thought of food is just not appleaing.  So next week will be the conclusion of Tomato Pie.  This week, I bring you the incredibly easy Food Processor Pie Crust - with my secret ingredient to a flaky crust.

Food Processor Pie Crust

2 c flour
1 T sugar, optional (if I am making a sweet pie, I'll add the full 1T; if a savory pie, I'll add just a little)
pinch salt
3/4 c butter, chilled
1/4 c shortening, chilled
1/4 c ice water - less 2 T
2 T vodka (that would be the secret ingredient)

This makes two pie crusts.  For prep, you need to chill your butter, shortening, vodka, and water.  I measure my water into a measuring cup, remove just a little and add ice cubes to keep it cold.  You also need to cut off two longish sheets of plastic wrap to wrap the dough in at the end.

Place the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of your food processor.  Make sure your butter and your shortening are well chilled.  If your fats aren't cold, they won't have pockets in the dough, and it won't be as flaky.  Trust me on this one.  Cut your butter and shortening into pieces, and toss them into the bowl, too.

Cold butter and shortening cut into pie crust

Pulse five or six times, until the mixture has pea sized clumps, some smaller some larger.  It's important not to overmix this, as you want the dough to have those clumps of fat I mentioned earlier that will make steam pockets when it's baked and create the nice, flaky layers.

Pie crust ready for liquid to be added

Now is when you want to add the liquid.  The vodka goes in first, and ideally you have this chilled, too.  Why vodka?  Well, mixing water and flour makes gluten which makes for a touch pie crust.  Using alcohol - and a fairly flavorless one with vodka - reduces the water and creates lessgluten nd ergo a more tender crust.  Ta da!

While you are pulsing, add the vodka.  Next will go the water.  I'll be honest that I measure my water, less a little from what I need and put ice cubes in the measuring cup with it tokeep the water extra cold.  Depending on the humidity, you may or may not need all your water, so watch carefully as  you are adding water.  As soon as you see the dough come together, stop.  Don't add any more water, and don't mix it any more.

You can test if there is enough liquid by picking up a small handful of dough and squeezing it.  If it stays together, you're good to go.  If it falls apart, you need more water.  You want to err on the side of slightly more than slightly less water, as you can't add water when rolling it out, but you can add flour.  This was my biggest mistake when I first started making pie crusts - I was too afraid I would add too much water and so never put in enough.

At this point, carefully remove the dough from the food processor, and place half onto one sheet of plastic wrap and the other half on the other sheet.  Using the plastic wrap to cover it, carefully press the dough into two disks.  Make sure they're sealed in the plastic wrap, and place them in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours.  Once they have fully rested, you can roll them out for pie.  If I am making a double crust pie, I will make one of my disks slightly larger than the other.  If not, I keep them the same size.

Can you see the fat pieces in the dough?  That's good pie dough right there!

Enjoy this and more with Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.  Rachel from A Southern Fairytale has an awesome Mouthwatering Monday linkup that I participate in, too.


Sandra September 18, 2012 at 10:42 PM  

A good, flaky pie crust really makes the pie! I can't wait to see your tomato pie, since no, I've never heard of it before. I hope you feel better soon!

Anonymous September 21, 2012 at 5:31 PM  

Georgia girl here. Yes, LOVE tomato pie. Delicious!

Michelle September 27, 2012 at 4:52 PM  

Sandra - A crust makes a big difference. I was told by a friend that this method actually came from a Cooks Illustrated test. I didn't know that when I posted it. A (male!) friend of mine taught it to me a few years ago, so go fig!

Anon - I should have known tomato pie was a southern thing. All the good stuff is, right?

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