The Perfect Crust

I used to make pie crust with a food processor. I knew the risk. Don’t over process, I told myself. Somehow, in those moments of doubt (is there enough water, is it wet enough, together enough?), I pulsed a few times too many. Then you just have a dirty food processor, dishes to cash, and flat pie crust. Oy.

Not wanting to take our and dirty the food processor and add to my pile of dishes, I decided to make the dough for lobster pot pies by hand. The result was an astounding improvement, pretty impossible to mess up, because you are doing it by feel.

Crust Recipe from Vineyard Harvest, a Year of Good Food on Martha’s Vineyard by Tina Miller and Christie Matheson

Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 cold egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons of ice water (or more, depends on size of eggs and humidity)

Combine flour and salt. But 1 stick of cold butter into finger nail sized chunks or a little bigger. Using a dough scraper or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is bread crumb size and combined with the flour. Dump egg yolks into dough mixture and cut those in too. Slowly add water, cutting in still with dough scraper or knives until it is moist and could stick together but not wet. The use your hands to pull it all together, kneading a few times just until the crumbs all become part of the mass. Form into a log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

When I made it into a log and wrapped it in plastic to chill in the fridge, It was definitely dryer feeling than crusts I made with the food processor. But I thought, if pasta dough hydrates while in the fridge, this dough might, too. Sure  enough, a couple hours later, the dough was evenly hydrated, but still marbled with buttery chunks.

The dough really made the pot pie. A flat dough would have been like eating the filling on crackers. This was like eating a delicious pastry, almost a croissant, with some filling on each bite.

I used the same dough to make chicken pot pie. Mmmm. I once thought pot pies were intimidating. I have changed my mind. If you’ve got the dough down, they are easy, and easily impressive.

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