Wednesday, January 4, 2012

pie crust

It's the holidays and that usually means pie season.  That, truth be told, is something I dread.  I'm not very good at making pies.  Let me amend that.  I'm pretty good at the filling, as a matter of fact I make a mean coconut custard, but the crust?  Well that's a different story.  For years I have struggled, mumbled under my breath and cursed as I patched together yet another sorry looking crust.

In olden days, before I got the gospel of whole food nutrition, I would "cheat" and buy my pie crusts at the grocery store.  That, my friends, is no longer an option.  It's not the lard that I object to, it's the BHT, the artificial colors (!), and more often than not the partially hydrogenated ingredients (read trans fats).  These do not need to be in a pie crust and most certainly do not need to be in your body.

I am thrilled to announce that I have discovered the secret to a fabulous pie crust.  I know it may sound silly to be so happy about this but believe me, several decades of ugly pies later I'm amazed at how well this worked out.  I'm so excited about this that I cannot wait to share it with you.  I made an extra batch just to be sure it works and turned it into pie crust cookies.  (Admittedly not high on the healthy item list but a treat nonetheless.)

That lovely picture is an amazingly beautiful pie crust made in my cuisinart.  Apparently this method was developed by Julia Child.  Rolled out between two sheets of wax paper it does not crumble, fall apart, or need patching.  I'm seriously tempted to write out the recipe and tape it permanently to the side of my cuisinart so I always know where it is.

My next experiment will be to see if it works with gluten free flours.  Since pastry flour is supposed to be low in gluten anyway (we don't want it rising while the pie is baking) I think this should be a fairly simple translation.  I'll keep you posted the next time I need to make a pie.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for the pie crust and one for pie crust cookies.

Julia Child's Cuisinart Pie Crust

1 3/4 cup of flour
1 stick butter, cut up
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used walnut, it was delicious)
1 teaspoon salt

Blend flour, butter, oil and salt in cuisinart until crumbly
Add 1/4 cup cold water and blend until it forms a ball

Makes two crusts

Pie Crust Cookies 

One rolled out pie crust
2-3 tablespoons melted butter
Cinnamon sugar to taste (I use 1 teaspoon cinnamon to 7 teaspoons evaporated cane juice crystals)

Preheat oven to 350 F
Brush pie crust with melted butter covering thoroughly
Dust according to taste with cinnamon sugar
Cut either using cookie cutters or into strips
If making strips twist them before placing on lightly greased cookie sheet
Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown
Let cool completely before eating

1 comment:

jodi said...

I just recently learned the "secret" as well, via Julia!