December 17th, 2009
And so let the holiday preparations begin! Actually, they’ve already begun at my house and I have a freezer full of cookie dough to prove it (these Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies and two others—Chewy Chocolate Toffee Chip and Molasses Spice—to be posted soon). But, for now, next up is pie crust.
I usually make a simple pate brisee—this one from Martha is great—but I’ve been swayed by Serious Eats to try something new. Two years ago, they spoke with Christopher Kimball about best recipes of the year and he mentioned this pie dough. That’s enough to convince me to try something new. How about you? Want to try it with me?
What makes this dough so interesting (and, apparently, so yummy, too)?
The trick to this pie crust is the inclusion of vodka. Eighty-proof vodka, which is 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol, adds moistness to the dough without aiding in gluten formation since gluten doesn’t form in ethanol. Although the recipe includes 8 tablespoons of liquid, the alcohol vaporizes during baking, resulting in a tender crust that only contains 6 1/2 tablespoons of water. Because of the extra liquid, the dough will be moister than most standard pie doughs and will require up to 1/4 cup more flour.
How interesting is that? I’m going to make mine this weekend and freeze it until the 23rd or 24th, when I’m ready to bake. Why don’t you do the same. Then we’ll meet here after Christmas to report the results to each other. You in?!
Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough
via Serious Eats
(can be fed to kids 10+ mos)
2 1/2 c (12 1/2 oz) organic unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp table salt
2 tbsp organic sugar
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) cold organic unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ slices
1/2 c cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 c cold vodka
1/4 c cold water
1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until well combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with a rubber spatula and redistributed dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup of flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and a mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into a medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into a 4″ disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.