You can watch a free Zoom instructional video of this method by clicking HERE.
For any pie to be successful, the first prerequisite is an excellent crust. To me, this means two things: buttery-rich and flaky. This method provides both .
Regardless of flour blend or filling, the innovative pie dough technique described below will produce a puffy, delectable crust. Smearing the fat (ALWAYS butter!) into dry dough, then gently spritzing water onto the dough/butter mixture, are the essential steps. Keeping track of water use with a kitchen scale guarantees precision and repeatability.
See why the attendees at my pie baking Zoom class were ecstatic with the pies they made!
Yield: Recipe specific. See individual pie recipes.
Tools needed: Very large bowl. Sharp knife. Cutting board. Plant mister or spritzer. Kitchen scale. Silicone spatula. Plastic wrap. Rolling pin.
Time to make: 15 minutes.
The pie crust flour blends on this website have been formulated to pair with specific pie fillings, and thus contain many different flours in differing ratios. The technique described here will work with all these blends.
Due to regional variations in humidity and temperature, as well as the amount of dough required for individual recipes, the amount of water/vinegar needed will vary.
1) Place flour blend, salt if required, sugar if required, and xanthan gum into the large bowl. Whisk these ingredients together until well blended. In a plant mister or spritzer, mix vinegar and ice water. Hold in refrigerator.
2) Cut the butter across the end of the stick into slices about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Place the cut pieces into the bowl of dry ingredients, tossing occasionally with your fingers to assure that all the butter pieces are well-coated with flour.
3) Gently toss butter to assure an even distribution of pieces throughout the flour mix. Be careful not to break up or reduce the sizes of the pieces. Then, using the palm of your hands and/or your knuckles, press and smear the butter pieces into large thin slabs. Gently toss the butter/flour mix from time to time to assure that all the butter is flattened and coated with flour.
4) Remove water/vinegar mix from refrigeration. Place spritzer onto the kitchen scale and "zero out" (tare) the scale. Gently spritz the flour/butter mix in the large bowl until the top layer is clearly wet. Return spritzer to scale but DO NOT zero out.
5) Using the spatula, gently scrape down along the sides of the bowl and toss the butter/flour mix until only dry parts are on top. Spritz this layer until wet, again returning spritzer to scale without zeroing out the scale.
6) Continue tossing, spritzing, and tossing (always gently!) until the scale indicates just below the amount of water/vinegar specified for the recipe. Note that regional humidity and temperature will effect the dough's ability to absorb water, It is better to stop too early than too late. More water may be spritzed into the dough at the next step, if necessary.
7) Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Place your hands under the wrap and coax the dough into a rectangle. Fold the edges of the wrap up and over the dough. Gently pound the dough through the wrap until it forms a long rectangle within the wrap. Open the wrap and fold the dough in half with a crease along the short side. Look to see if the dough has begun to moisten and is gaining flexibility and cohesion ("Coming together").
8) Cover dough, pound, uncover and fold, up to two more times. If dough has not come together after these three folds, lightly spritz any visible dry spots and fold/pound again. Repeat if necessary. Note: 3 to 5 folds total provide the flakiest dough.
9) Wrap dough securely in the plastic wrap, taking care to keep dough flat. DO NOT roll into a ball. Place into refrigerator for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
See individual pie recipes for rolling and baking instructions.