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.
3Measure out the flour and place in the freezer, for at least 1 hour.
4Cut the butter into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) cubes, and place in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour.
5Chef’s Tip: You need the finest milled pastry flour that you can get your hands on… the finer the better.
6Chef’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.
7After the hour is up, place some water in a bowl along with some ice cubes.
8Add 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.
9Distribute the butter into the flour
10Pulse the mixture until the butter is about the size of small peas.
11Place the contents of the food processor into a small bowl.
12Add about 4 tablespoons of ice water and gently mix (using a fork) until the liquid begins to be absorbed into the flour.
13Dump the flour out onto a clean surface, and separate the wet flour from the bits that are still a bit dry.
14Add just a bit of water (not too much) to the dry bits until they begin to come together.
15Bring all the flour back together, and knead the dough by using the heel of your hand to push the flour, and repeat several times.
16Chef'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.
17Flatten the dough into a thick disk, tightly wrap in cling foil and place into the refrigerator overnight.
18Chef’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.
19The next day, unwrap and place the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper.
20Place another piece of parchment paper on top.
21Roll out to the desired size.
22Place the dough over your rolling pin, and transfer to the pie plate.
23Carefully shape it to the pie plate.
24Cover and return to the refrigerator for 1 hour.
25Place a rack in the bottom position, place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack, and preheat the oven to 425f (220c).
26Remove from the fridge, and use a fork to dock the bottom of the dough.
27Chef’s Note: Docking is done to minimize the rising of the crust as it bakes.
28Place a piece of parchment paper, or foil into the pie or tart pan, and fill with dried beans, or pie weights.
29Place in the preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the crust begins to lightly brown.
30Chef's Note: The process of cooking a pie shell before adding the filling is called: Blind Baking.
31Remove from the oven and remove the pie weights.
32Reduce the oven temperature to 350f (175c).
33Return the crust to the oven and allow it to cook until the dough dries, and becomes golden brown, about 3 minutes.
35The next step is up to you, make a sweet tart, or savory; even a quiche. It’s up to you. Enjoy.
36Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
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