Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Perfect Crust

I've been baking pies for a few years now and have never found a recipe for crust that pleases me until now. While driving to work the day before Thanksgiving, I heard this fun story from Steve Inskeep's kitchen. The most worried-about part of the Thanksgiving meal, according to NPR listeners, is the pie crust. The secret ingredient turned out to be VODKA. Below is a snippet from the article, but click on the above link for the full story.
Thank you NPR!

Pie Crust
• 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
• 2 tablespoons cold vodka (see recipe)
• 2 tablespoons cold water

1. Process 3/4 cup flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening, and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

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