Thursday, October 17, 2013

Basic Pie Dough

So at this v. moment, my kitchen is fully functional! We can cook and bake and chop. It's pretty awesome. We are just finishing up with the little punch list items (molding, paint touch ups, organizing, etc.).

I mentioned on Monday that it was my sister's birthday and every year I make something sweet to eat after a yummy dinner. This year, she requested a birthday pie instead of a birthday cake. I decided that I wanted to make berry galettes, which are just free-form pies, because I thought that they would be more festive and celebratory-looking.

Today, I'm sharing just the crust recipe and the actual galette will be shared tomorrow in a second post because this a great basic pie dough so I think it deserves its own entry. I think it's one I will refer to quite often.
Ingredients:
2¼ to 2½ cups all purpose flour (depending on the humidity of the day)
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup cold water
+ pinch of cinnamon (optional)

I like adding a little bit of cinnamon to my pie dough, especially in autumn, because it gives the dough a little something. It adds just a hint of lovely, warm, cinnamon-y scent and gives the dough some pretty little speckles.
Start by cubing up the butter. I cut it in half lengthwise, and cut each half lengthwise again and then cut them into cubes. Stick the pieces in the freezer for 10 minutes just to get them really good and cold. Cold butter is the key to a flaky pie dough.
Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor. Use the full 2-1/2 flour on particularly humid days and hold back a bit on dryer days. Pulse to mix up all the dry ingredients. Then, add in 3/4 of the butter (1.5 sticks worth). Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.
Pour the cornmeal-texture flour mixture into a bowl and then add in the remaining butter. Use a pastry cutter to mix in the remaining butter, making sure to leave a few big pea-sized pieces. Drizzle in about 1/3 of the water and gently toss with your hands but don't knead the dough. Keep adding the water, 1/3 at a time, carefully tossing after each addition.
The chunks of butter will help make the crust nice and flaky.
Once all of the water is added, grab a handful of dough and squeeze it in your hand. If the dough sticks together, then it's ready. If it doesn't stick, add a little more water and toss. Repeat until you achieve a dough that sticks to itself. Knead v. gently, just enough to form the dough into a disk. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days, until you're ready to use it.
Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the actual galette recipe so please come back!

Here's the recipe page:

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