I have a confession to make..

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06/19/2013

<ahem>  My name is Martha and I...(hangs her head in shame) cannot make a pastry pie crust. crying

Oh the chagrin - a lifetime of not living up to my "Martha". It's not that I haven't tried -- starting around age 23, I would attempt a pastry crust each Thanksgiving only to 1) not be able to get it into the pan in less that 100 pieces or 2) having it "chew" like a piece of cardboard, or 3) have it melt into a sad, droopy, shrunken thing that didn't resemble a pie crust at all.  I still have nightmares of throwing away a baked pie crust that I (somehow) knew wasn't "right" - only to have it plunk into the bottom of the trash can -- and not even break!    To make matters even worse,  over the years I would confide to my mom, (and my aunt and my grandmother, and my sister) of my inadequacy, only to have them say, "why Martha Ann - why CAN'T you make a pie crust -- there is nothing easier!" 

On the bright side -- I CAN make a mean graham cracker crust as, come Christmas and still humiliated from my Thanksgiving flops, graham cracker crust was all my hurt pride would allow.  

Knowing that the ability to make a tender, flaky, perfectly-baked pie crust in pretty much expected of any innkeeper worth her salt -- I set out on a mission to slay my inner pie crust demon. I intently watched multiple youtube demonstrations yesterday leaving me with more questions than answers.  Do I roll it out on wax paper or roll it out on a floured surface? Vinegar or no vinegar?  Butter or oil? A cup and a half of flour or a cup and 2 tablespoons? Food processor or stand mixer or fork? Oh my!

I got up this morning with dogged determination. I put my flour in the fridge last night (don't judge me - desperate times call for desperate measures).  I diced my (cold) butter and put it back into the refrigerator until the moment of mixing. I didn't take the ice cubes out of water until the split second I was ready to dump it into the bowl.  Rolled it out on my floured island - rolling only in the up and down motion (not side to side), flipping the dough (to keep it from sticking) each time it needed to be repositioned to keep the up and down motion going on.   And (drum roll)  I picked it right up and plopped it right into the pie plate with nary a tear, fluted it, pricked it, and back in the fridge to chill again.  Gave it an hour and popped it in the oven -- bottom rack.  Halfway through, I pricked the parts that were bubbling up.  (Who knew you could do that?) 

The result?  Pretty good in comparison to my previous failures.  (Now don't ya'll go comparing this to your perfect pie crusts. I'm still fragile.) It does have a little slippage going on -- but all in all -- not too bad.  My granddaughter is coming over this afternoon, so I think I'll make a chocolate pie.  (If the crust is tough - the chocolate will make up for it.)  I'll update.

 May I have a round of applause? 

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06/19/2013

You ALL are SO encouraging!  Thank you!  Alas, I showed off my pie crust as a masterpiece prematurely as it was, ummm... severely lacking in texture (think boot) and flavor (think raw flour). In fact, it may be the worst pie crust I've had.

BUT - I'm holding my head high!  Though my inner Martha is being elusive -- I know she is in there somewhere.  I WILL find her. It's become personal now. angry  

So - I'm off to the liquor store to drown my sorrows get the ingredients for the perfect pie crust,  Thanks for that tip! 

 

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Have you ever tried the Cooks Country recipe? It calls for a 1/4 cup of cold vodka!

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That is next on my agenda.  I may put some of that vodka in the pie crust recipe too.  wink

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05/22/2008

How often do you need to serve a pie for breakfast??? Don't worry about it and use the Pillsbury from the refrig section...it is great. I can make pie crust but why bother wink

Morticia's picture
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EmptyNest wrote:

How often do you need to serve a pie for breakfast??? Don't worry about it and use the Pillsbury from the refrig section...it is great. I can make pie crust but why bother wink

We used to stress over pie crust for quiche (aka egg pie)  until we found the egg part was being eaten and the crust part was being returned to the kitchen.

Why stress? Crustless egg pie is the name of the game!

For those who are new here: I have served quiche and egg pie to the same table to keep yahoos from telling me they don't like quiche. Yes. The same dish. 2 different names.

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06/19/2013

LOL on the quiche vs. egg pie.  

We made a quiche over the weekend that had a hashbrown crust.  It really was delicious.  

Seriously, I will stop stressing over the crust having gotten the "ok" from you pro's.   But I gotta say -- if this vodka thing works -- I will be jazzed!  smiley

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

Just remember that you can add a bit more vodka to the dough if you need to since, unlike the water, it will just evaporate.  Gather the dough and gently form it into a ball. Do not work the dough like you would with bread dough or it will activate the gluten and become tough.  

I have to say that making a delicate, tasty crust is not difficult....but the vodka makes it even easier.  I love, love, love pie...any kind of pie...fruit pie, cream pie, egg pie...I even like the rolled crust with sugar and cinnamon and butter.  Oh my.  I am getting hungry!

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I use the same pie crust for breakfast quiche that I do for a dessert pie.

Lee2014's picture
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  Yeah!!!!  Good going!!!!!  My Mom was the same way.  She found a recipe that worked and now she trades pies for carpenter and yard work with a jack of all trades handy man in the next town over.   Chocolate pie is a great choice!  Enjoy the time and the pie!  Do you see me standing and clapping?!? smileyyes

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Arks's picture
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I second Pet-Ritz. No need to reinvent the wheel!

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Glad you were able to give it the old college try again. We learned early on to let those who excel do the hard work for us. I don't stress about perfect flaky crust because we don't serve anything that needs it.

And the dough boy makes the biscuits.

Skamokawa's picture
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08/24/2008

Nice blind bake.  And I second the vodka method.  I think America's Test Kitchen has the recipe and the science behind why it works (the alcohol hinders gluten development)

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Silverspoon's picture
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It looks wonderful!  For an even easier crust make the no-fail butter crust that contains some vodka.  This method has the added advantage of helping you to drown your anxiety while the crust is baking!

Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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Oh, honey! Don't you even spend one second feeling bad! That's what Pillsbury is for! Honestly, the first time I ever tried to make pie crust, the recipe was so daunting, I was fearful before I even started. "Don't over work the dough or it will be tough. Don't add too much water or it will be soggy. Don't, don't....don't!" 

NO, I won't cuz I now buy the pre-made stuff from my grocer's refrigerated section!

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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06/24/2013

So funny.  Baking should be 'easy' because it's simple chemistry.   Follow the written instructions and see the magic.  But it isn't like that at all.

As we all have learned, some of us are good at one thing, and some are good at something else.  

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Applause is a standing O.

Psst: I have used Pet-Ritz for years. I rarely make pies (holidays) and although I can I don't. The egg bake does not use crust.

I had an aunt who could not bake a cake to save her soul - not even a box mix. I cannot make pancakes using a mix but from scratch they turn out ummmmmm OK. We all have our talents - savor yours that no one else has.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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It's a good thing!   Smiling

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