Pies have never been my strength. Yes, it's the crust. I admit it. I have bought pre-made pies from the bakery. I've bought frozen pies at the grocery store. I've purchased both frozen and ready made pie crusts. Perfecting pie dough is on my list of things to do in 2011.
This week I attended a free pie making demonstration hosted by King Arthur Flour. It was one stop on a four city tour for the King Arthur team. Over 400 of my closest friends from southern New England attended as well.
|A Standing Room Only Crowd|
|A King Arthur Flour Apple Pie|
Robin, a baking educator at King Arthur Flour, was our able instructor.
|Robin, Our Able Instructor|
While Robin worked at a table in the front of the room, a camera projected her approach on a large screen. No machinery was used in the making of this dough. At one point Sarah used a pastry blender, but she quickly set it aside in favor of her fingers.
I'll being showing you a crust I made following Robin's recipe and technique in a future post. For now, here are some helpful hints Robin shared about pie crust making:
Twelve Tips for No Fear Pie Crust
- Inconsistencies may be created from one pie crust to another by the flour you use, the humidity in the air and your measurement technique.
- Salt is an important ingredient in pie crust. It makes a difference between tasty crust and bland crust.
- It is not necessary to sift flour any longer. Flour is pre-sifted at the mill. All you need to do is aerate it by fluffing it with a whisk or a fork.
- Whatever fat you choose to use in your crust must be kept very cold.
- Keep your empty butter wrappers in the freezer. Use them to grease your baking pans.
- Using your hands to combine the butter and the flour to make the crust is a technique called "rubbing the butter".
- The amount of water used in a crust will depend on the weather/humidity.
- Pie dough should be chilled for 20-30 minutes before rolling it into a crust. This is an important step in developing better hydration in the dough and gluten formation. The dough can be frozen for up to 4 months.
- Use enough flour when rolling out your dough to allow for easy rotating and flipping of the dough.
- When making a two crust pie, don't put the filling in the bottom crust until you are ready with the top crust. That helps to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.
- If you want to make your pie in advance, freeze it before baking. Just bake the frozen pie an additional 20 minutes.
- Bake the pie on the bottom rack in the oven for the first 20 minutes, or so. This will help your bottom crust to brown. Transfer the pie to the middle rack afterwards.
Everyone received a handy dough scraper and a gift card for $10 off a $20 purchase at King Arthur's online store or their catalog.
|The Dough Scraper|
Is King Arthur coming to a city near you? If yes, attend their baking demonstration to learn from their accomplished bakers. You'll come away less fearful about making your own pie crust and it's free!
This post was not sponsored by King Arthur Flour.