December 4, 2009

The Tale of Two Crusts

I have never made pie crust before so I figured what better time to do that than the day after Thanksgiving. Everything started out smoothly. (The recipe did required a food processor for the dough and I don't own one so I used a pastry blender and it worked out just fine.) I had the first crust in the oven and when I took a peek I was sad to see that it was shrinking. No problem, I had heard of putting beans in the crust to prevent that so I put beans in the second crust. Success, no shrinking.

As the first crust was cooling by the sink, and the second crust was baking, I started making the lemon filling. As I was measuring the water I bumped the cooling crust knocking it into the sink where the water was running. I hurridly grabbed the glass pie pan burning my fingers in the process. Crust 1 - ruined. The second crust finished baking. I let it cool. Then I started to remove the beans by hand. Slow work considering the beans were small. So I picked it up and dumped the beans out. There were still quite a few beans in the crust (must use parchment paper next time) so I loosened them and tipped it up to dump the remaining beans. It worked so well that the crust joined the beans in the container. Crust 2 - ruined.

I had maintained my composure after ruining the first crust--I could make another one. But when I ruined the second crust I was in the middle of making the lemon filling which you are to put in the crust warm. With no crusts I was slightly in a place I didn't want to be. So, I turned off the burner then drove to the store and purchased pie crusts. While I could have spent less than two dollars I went for my favorite pie crusts (Marie Callender's) and spent double that. I didn't care. From that point on everything went smoothly.

The one smart thing I did was to place the scraps from both crusts on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar, and bake them. The crust was very light and flaky. I will definitely be making it again. Possibly this weekend as we are having a mini Thanksgiving and what is Thanksgiving without pie?

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Graham Cracker Coated Pie Shell
from Recipezaar
Print Recipe

1 1/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces and frozen
4 Tbsp vegetable shortening, frozen
3-5 Tbsp ice water, as needed
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Mix flour, sugar and salt. Scatter the frozen butter pieces over flour mixture. Mix in butter using a pastry blender. Add frozen shortening and continue cutting until mixture resembles cornmeal with pieces about the size of peas. Add ice water one Tbsp at a time. When dough starts to form a ball, stop cutting. It should take about 2 or 3 Tbsp of ice water to reach this stage. Shape dough into a ball in your flour coated hands, and then flatten into a 4 inch wide disk. Flour disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Generously coat your work surface or pastry sheet with a little flour and about 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs. Place dough on floured surface, coat with some flour and graham cracker crumbs, and roll into a 9-inch disk. Lift, coat surface with more graham and flour, turn dough, add more graham and flour on top, and roll out to a 13 inch disk. Place into a 9 inch pie pan, and finish edges*. Refrigerate crust until firm, about 30 minutes. Prick dough with a fork to prevent bubbling up in the oven. While the oven is pre-heating to 375, put pie crust in freezer. Bake at 375 for 20- 25 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it's browning evenly and not bubbling up.

*This website has great directions for decorative pie crust edges.

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