Monday, November 26, 2012

Mom's Pie Crust

Over the long weekend I made a lot of great food with my family. I couldn't wait to share some of the recipes but I haven't gotten a chance to upload all the pictures.  I will update the pictures later!

My mom makes pies all year round and she has made them for as long as I can remember. Some years for Christmas she has given my grandpa a "Pie of the Month" club where she makes him a pie every month. It's definitely one of his favorite presents.

The secret to this pie crust is vodka. Yes, I know some of you must be thinking my mom is crazy but it truly works.

"While gluten (the protien that makes crust tough) forms readily in water, it doesn't for in ethanol, and vodka is 60% water and 40 % ethanol.  So adding 1/4 cup of vodka and 1/4 cup of water produces a moist, easy to roll dough that stays tender because the alcohol vaporizes in the oven, leaving the final crust with only about 6 tablespoons of water.  This dough bakes into a crust that is tender, flavorful, and that rolls out every time." Cook's Illustrated

Mom's Pie Crust
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup ice water

Process 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, and salt in the food processor. Scatter the butter over the top and process until it is incorporated. The mixture will for uneven clumps after about 15 seconds.

Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and add in the rest of the flour. Pulse four to six times until the flour is evenly distributed.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and sprinkle with the vodka and water.  Stir and press together the ball of dough with a stiff rubber spatula until the dough sticks together.  Divide into two even pieces.  Place each piece on a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk about four inches in diameter.  Wrap each disk tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour up to a few days (or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months).  When you are ready to make your pies let the dough sit out for about 10 minutes before rolling it out. Roll out the dough and place into a pie pan.  You can fold over the edges to make the rim of the pie look pretty.  Fill with your favorite filling and bake! Enjoy!

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