Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t purport to be a baker. I am a cook. Anytime I am challenged to try making something that requires precise measuring, an oven, and technique, I am loath to jump in. That said, I have a few recipes in my repertoire that I consider things I can manage reasonably well with little effort or frustration. Mostly, these are items that are either a. incredibly easy, or b. things I’ve messed up enough times to finally know what I am doing. Pie crust is one of the latter.
Something everyone should know: “Easy as pie” is a complete misnomer. It’s not something that I think any amateur cook can just pick up and do and feel confident and successful. My first word of advice in this regard is to avoid any recipes written by Martha Stewart. Her recipes, especially those for baked goods, always seem to be written in a way where she sets you up for failure. I envision her cackling in the corner at my discouragement with every disaster I’ve made using her “guidance.” The only advice I take from her regarding pie crust is, “make it cold, bake it hot.”
Here is a good little list to use in pie making:
- use butter, and freeze it for a half hour before making your crust
- use a food processor, if at all possible
- pie crust is only four ingredients: butter, flour, salt, and water (that doesn’t mean pie crust is all that easy)
- use more fruit than you think you need (it is amazing how much it cooks down)
- make pies in a seasonal manner, ie, apple in the fall, berry in the summer, pecan anytime. =)
- chill the dough for at least a half hour after mixing before rolling it out
Speaking of mixing – I tried to make a video of me making pie crust, but it got a wee bit messed up, so we were only able to salvage the tail end. Regardless, I think it is pretty helpful in showing you what your pie dough should look like by the end of the process.