Making pie has always seemed so daunting to me. I had bought the dough that comes pre made and rolled out and it was always a disaster! It would tear the minute I tried to unroll it even if I had let it sit out. If this was how difficult pre made pie dough was, no way was I going to try and make this myself! So I just avoided making pie for years until I asked Ben what he wanted for our anniversary. Unsurprisingly he said apple pie. Sigh. It is his favorite dessert, but I always just cheated and bought the frozen kind. Since this was an anniversary gift, I decided to actually do some research.
I found this amazing post from inspiredtaste.net for an easy all butter flaky pie crust. It was great! It was so easy to work with. I even braided the crust so easily. What I loved about this recipe was that they had really done their research on the science of baking and dough making. I’ll sum it up a little for you. When the flour in the dough reacts with the water, it activates the gluten in the flour. That gluten, when overworked, is what can make the dough chewy or tough. In order to keep the gluten protected from the water, you need to coat the flour with the butter first. The butter will act like little oily rain coats to the gluten and keep it from being over worked. I did this by using a food processer.
- 3 Cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs Salt
- 1 cup butter
- Around 6 tbs of ICE COLD water
Add 1 1/2 cups flour, the sugar, and the salt to the food processer. Pulse a few times just to mix the ingredients.
Add the butter and process until ALL of the flour is coated. You may have to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Then, add the rest of the flour and again, process until all of the flour is coated. That is the very most important part of this whole process.
Once that is done, transfer dough to a separate bowl and add AROUND 6 Tbs of ice cold water. If you remember my pizza dough post, when you’re making dough, in theory, you shouldn’t really need to measure the water. With pie dough, if you pinch the dough and it crumbles, you need a little more water. If it sticks together, you’re good. If it gets a little too much water, you can add a little more flour during the next part. Now you’re going to knead the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut the ball into two halves and form each halve into a disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, and as long as two days.
When you’re ready to make the pie, roll out the dough to twelve inches in diameter. place in the pie pan and press into the edges. Working quickly with the dough is best because you want the dough to stay as chilled as possible. The science behind this is that cold dough will keep the fat molecules in the butter solid which will give you a more flaky crust. This is also why you need cold cold water when making the dough. ICE ICE BABY.
I like to blind bake my crusts which means you put your bottom layer of crust in the oven to bake first. It lets it get crispy on its’ own before you add the wet filling, which usually results in a soggy crust. This way, the crust will stay crisp, flaky, and dry. I don’t have pie weights for this, so I improvised by lining the bottom layer of dough with parchment paper and the pouring dried black beans inside of that. I baked at 400 for ten minutes. Next comes the filling!
- 6 apples (I used granny smith)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 Tbs water)
- Turbinado or coarse sugar for topping
Peel, cut, core, and thinly slice the apples. Add to a bowl and mix with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, and spices. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Top with the other half of the dough. You can do lattice, lay it on top with some holes sliced in it, whatever you want! I like to use my fondant letter stamps in the dough to personalize. Then top with about 2-3 TBS of coarse sugar and put in the oven! I baked mine for an hour at 375. The pie will be done when the filling has been bubbling for 6-10 minutes. If the crust starts to get too brown before the filling is done, cover with tinfoil and continue baking.
I have made this pie twice now, once for our anniversary and again for Father’s day today. I didn’t have a pie pan today but surprisingly a cake pan worked decently enough. I know I know, there’s obviously room for improvement but for only ever having made pie crust twice ever, I’m pretty okay with this!
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you make this!