What is it about a good pie, or tart that makes it so appealing. Well, whether it’s sweet or savory, it is a combination of two things: The filling (DUH), and a yummy flaky crust.
I will go as far to say that if your crust is soggy, or hard… who cares what’s in the filling… not me.
This is a flaky crust that will melt in your mouth, and enhance any pie or tart you choose to grace it with. And with the Autumn season upon us, this will make an excellent crust for that homemade pumpkin pie, you've been planning to bake.
Measure out the flour and place in the freezer, for at least 1 hour.
Cut the butter into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) cubes, and place in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour.
Chef’s Tip: You need the finest milled pastry flour that you can get your hands on… the finer the better.
Chef’s Tip: For this recipe to work, you will need European butter, not European “style” butter. My butter of choice is: Kerrygold, pure Irish butter. The reason we’re using European butter is because of the higher fat content. European “style” butter is not the same, so if you see “European style” on the label, don’t buy it.
After the hour is up, place some water in a bowl along with some ice cubes.
Add the flour and the salt to a food processor, fitted with an S-blade and give it a few 1-second pulses to combine the salt, and aerate the flour.
Distribute the butter into the flour
Pulse the mixture until the butter is about the size of small peas.
Place the contents of the food processor into a small bowl.
Add about 4 tablespoons of ice water and gently mix (using a fork) until the liquid begins to be absorbed into the flour.
Dump the flour out onto a clean surface, and separate the wet flour from the bits that are still a bit dry.
Add just a bit of water (not too much) to the dry bits until they begin to come together.
Bring all the flour back together, and knead the dough by using the heel of your hand to push the flour, and repeat several times.
Chef's Note: What you're doing by placing the heal of your hand into the dough and pushing the mixture is you are smearing the butter into the flour, and creating layers of flour and butter... that's what makes the crust so flakey.
Flatten the dough into a thick disk, tightly wrap in cling foil and place into the refrigerator overnight.
Chef’s Note: The dough may still look a bit dry, but don’t worry because after staying overnight in the fridge, the moisture will distribute through the flour quite nicely.
The next day, unwrap and place the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper.
Place another piece of parchment paper on top.
Roll out to the desired size.
Place the dough over your rolling pin, and transfer to the pie plate.
Carefully shape it to the pie plate.
Cover and return to the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Place a rack in the bottom position, place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack, and preheat the oven to 425f (220c).
Remove from the fridge, and use a fork to dock the bottom of the dough.
Chef’s Note: Docking is done to minimize the rising of the crust as it bakes.
Place a piece of parchment paper, or foil into the pie or tart pan, and fill with dried beans, or pie weights.
Place in the preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the crust begins to lightly brown.
Chef's Note: The process of cooking a pie shell before adding the filling is called: Blind Baking.
Remove from the oven and remove the pie weights.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350f (175c).
Return the crust to the oven and allow it to cook until the dough dries, and becomes golden brown, about 3 minutes.
The next step is up to you, make a sweet tart, or savory; even a quiche. It’s up to you. Enjoy.
Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
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