Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Almond Pie Crust

It's taken a few tries, but I have finally figured out how to make a pie crust that is tasty, tender, flakey and practically fool proof!

Now, I don't consider myself a great pie-chef. In fact, I often leave pie crust on the plate because it's not my favorite part of the whole pie experience, but with a few tweaks it's actually quite yummy.
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tsp almond extract (or any complimentary extract to our filling
Mix, or sift together the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. I don't think it makes too much of a difference. Try your best to mix in the shortening until it's crumbly. I personally like to cut up the shortening first into tiny bits before mixing. Slowly add in water and almond extract until it all comes together into a ball.

And this is the greatest trick for dough I never thought of. Tear a big piece of wax paper and place it on your counter and dislodge your dough onto the wax paper. The wax paper makes it less apt to stick, but you'll still want to dust it with flour a bit so you don't stick to your rolling pin. I had a little trouble keeping the wax paper from not slip sliding all over my counter, but once it was all rolled out nice and thin it was a breeze to get it into the pie plate.

I place the pie plate upside down on top of the rolled out dough and slide to the edge of the table. Support the dough & plate with your hands and flip the whole thing over. Press the dough down into the plate and peel the wax paper off. Voila! Perfect pie crust with no cracks.

Now just cut off the loose ends and flute the edges so everything is pretty. I then toss the whole thing in the fridge while I'm preparing the filling. You really want to keep it cold and not to overwork the dough, but that's all there is to it. I personally like the addition of extract so the dough, even on it's own has flavor and substance. I think it'd also be really great to mix in really chopped up nuts to add some crunch.

And now you're probably wondering what I filled my pie crust with, huh? Well since I bought pounds and pounds of apples at the store I decided on a Caramel Walnut Apple Pie. And instead of a second crust on top, I put together an oatmeal crunch topping like you'd find on an apple crisp. Yes, I know it's decadent sounding but it actually came out perfect and just sweet enough.

Mmm...warm apple pie.