Perfect Pie Crust

As much as I pride myself on being an intensely passionate, self-taught baker, I have to confess to having taken a class or two…

Well… maybe three.

Yeah, I’ll say three, because if I combine all the dessert portions of the cooking classes I’ve taken, then it probably adds up to about that much.

Originally, this recipe came from a beginners’ cooking class I took through the Vancouver School Board.

Chef Helena was an awesome teacher — she taught my class all about different knife cuts, spices, and how to ”season” fruit with salt and lime juice  — but, because of costing issues, we had to do all of our baking with margarine. For shame!

Baking with margarine is a cardinal sin for a serious baker… I never, never, never condone it!

Thus I’ve adapted her recipe to use real butter, for flavour, and pure lard, for texture, as well as some sugar and vinegar — no longer ”sinful”, I now I call this pie crust recipe ”perfect” because of its amazing flavour and versatility.

Perfect Pie Crust

*adapted from Chef Helena of Grayson’s Catering

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup cold lard, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons cold water

Directions

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt.

Cut the cold butter and lard into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes. Drop the cubed butter and cubed lard into the sifted flour mixture.

Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the lard and butter into the flour until the it becomes crumbly and no large bits of fat remain.

Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to evenly incorporate all of the flour.

Next, mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into 6 tablespoons of very, very cold water. Slowly pour the water over the crumb mixture, then use your hands to mix the dough and form it into a ball.

The dough should not be sticky, but it should be easy to make come together — if it isn’t, add another tablespoon or two of cold water.

Shape the pie dough into a disk shape, wrap tightly in clingfilm, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight) before using.

Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, roll it out and use it as you please! This recipe should make enough dough for 1 double crusted pie.

So, not only does this dough work beautifully for sweet treats, like pies, toaster pastries, or galettes, but it’s also good for savory foodstuffs, like quiche or empanada.

You can make it a day ahead, or freeze it and keep it for a few weeks.

When using it in recipes, I recommend baking this dough at a minimum temperature of 350°F (or 175°C) and brushing it with a beaten egg to give the finished  product a nice, golden brown hue. Yum!

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2 thoughts on “Perfect Pie Crust

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I’ve only made an all-butter crust, but I want to try it with the lard, I hear its so much better. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Christine says:

      The lard definitely makes a big difference — at first I was hesitant to use it, just because I don’t really like the idea of handling animal fat, but it makes the crust lighter, so it’s definitely worth it! 🙂

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