I have hated making pies my entire life because of one thing: pie crust. Believe me, I have tried all of the "tricks" - which contradict each other, by the way- - - Keep the water ice-cold. Use boiling water. Don't touch the crust with your hands. No, no - Use your hands to smear the butter into the flour. Whatever you do NEVER use a food processor. NO, no - Whatever you do ALWAYS use a food processor. Use vinegar. Use vodka. Use egg yolks. Use egg whites. Use only butter. Use only lard. Use only shortening. Use only oil. Use a combination. Freeze the fat. Freeze the bowl. Freeze the flour.
Oh. My. Gosh.
No matter what I tried, my crust never turned out. Until now.
I watched America's Test Kitchen make a pie crust that looks and feels like play-dough and IS NOT rolled, but you just pat it into the pan. Yes, you read that right. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ROLL OUT THIS CRUST! This pie crust works because the large amount of fat plus a little dairy keep the gluten from toughening the crust.
Yes, I know. This is not a low-fat recipe. My advice: IF YOU WANT SOMETHING LOW-FAT, DON'T MAKE PIE. Make a salad or some broccoli. But if you're going to make pie, put lots of fat in the pie crust and then savor every bite. As The New Cookie Monster says, this is a "sometimes food."
These days, if you come to my house for the holidays, you must eat a piece of pie. Pie is not optional during the holidays. It is a must. The crust will be perfectly soft, perfectly seasoned and flavorful. If you don't believe me, come on over to my house. Or, try this crust recipe.
Either way, it will change your life. Or at least your pie making.
As proof of how easy this pie crust really is, I point out that even 12-year-old girls can make this crust. I invited a group of girls over to make apple pie, and even though many of them had never made pie before, or even cooked at all before, the pies turned out perfect! So fun!
PAT-IN-THE-PAN PIE CRUST
Recipe makes 2 pie crusts for a 9 inch pie
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, at room temperature
In a food processor, process all ingredients until it begins to come together. Dump onto a floured board and pat out into two flat discs, about 1/2 inch thick.
Place in a pie pan and pat out to fit pan.
Bake as directed for your pie.
AND, MAKE JULIA CHILD'S EASY AND ELEGANT CHEESE TARTLETS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY PARTIES!
I have used this pie crust in many ways during the holiday season, but one of my favorite discoveries is Julia Child's Cheese Tartlets. Super easy and very elegant for holiday parties! She used pretty little fluted tart pans, and she also made an appetizer version of the tarts by using muffin tins. The Pat-in-the-Pan Pie Crust recipe is perfect for these tarts - just cut circles a little wider than the tops of the muffin tins and press them into the tins. Then, fill up the tins with a good melting cheese, grated (I used Fontina, but cheddar would be nice, too). Then, whisk together 2/3 cup of either sour cream or Greek yogurt, 1 large egg, a little garlic powder and cayenne pepper sauce and pour this mixture into each tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown in spots and until centers are almost set. Remove and serve warm or at room temperature.
Posted by Donna Kelly
For more recipes from Donna Kelly, visit fabfrugalfood.com