I can flute with the best of them, I even played the instrument for a little while back in high school. But when it comes to making an actual pie crust, I have always flaked out.
My pies looked special, but the crusts were pure Pillsbury.
Enter Katherine, the No. 1 supporter of our Molly B and Me blog. For my upcoming birthday, Katherine gave a pie crust making class to Molly and me.
Last night, at her invitation, we bellied up to the bench at Granary Bulk Foods, which reminded Molly of Ike Godsey’s General Store from my favorite family television show, the Waltons.
But I digress.
Our pie professor got us started with a simple recipe and gave us a hint we had not heard before. Great crust, according to JoAnne, our mellow leader, starts with a frozen butter and lard mixture. The colder the crust mix, the better the pie. We even stuck our crusts in the refrigerator for a while before we rolled them out.
The second hint to a flaky crust is to avoid over mixing it. We used a pastry cutter, something I’ve owned since my 1987 wedding but never used. Then we gradually added tablespoons of water until the mixture held.
I’m pretty sure my Pillsbury pie making days are over, thanks to this simple class. Give this recipe a whirl. And, if you’re still feeling skittish, sign up for a cooking class.
We’re headed back to Granary Bulk Foods for a bread making class next month.
All Butter Crust with Almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2 inch cues
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water, very cold
Combine flour, salt, sugar and almonds. Add butter and mix with pastry cutter until crumbly. Add water a little at a time until mixture holds its shape. Do not overmix. Cut dough into two rounds, cover with plastic wrap, flatten and chill for at least one hour and up to 2 days.
Roll out dough on parchment paper and place carefully in 9-inch pie pan, flute the edges and poke the crust (or fill with dry beans to keep it from puffing up).
Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool and fill.