Friday, March 28, 2014

The Basics: Crusts & Pastry Dough

          There are so many different kinds of crusts & doughs for pastries! And so many different versions of each. Here are just a few basic ones that can be used for many different recipes; sweet or savory. (I thought it'd be easy reference for past and future posts to have these recipes in one place).

Regular Pie Crust

Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Cup Shortening
1 Tbsp. Vinegar
1/2 Cup Milk

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour & salt & then cut in the shortening using a pastry blender or forks until the mixture is crumbly. In a liquid measuring cup stir together the vinegar & milk, let it sit for a minute, & then stir it into the bowl with the other ingredients until it all comes together. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts & roll each part into a ball & wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
2. Roll out 1 ball on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets or parchment paper or plastic wrap to about a 12" circle (if making a regular 9" pie). Lift the dough into your pie pan & then put in your filling & cover with the 2nd rolled out dough ball. Bake at the degree and time your type of pie calls for. If only baking the bottom crust for a cream pie or something, bake for about 15-20 mins, until golden, & then let cool completely before putting the filling in. Suggestion: sprinkle bottom with dry tapioca or graham cracker crumbs (if sweet filling) or plain bread crumbs (if savory filling) to help soak up any liquid so the crust won't get soggy.

Recipe for this crust: Grandpa Reyes' Cherry Pie (for Matched)

Butter Pie Crust
(Makes enough for 1 9" crust)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, diced into small cubes
~4 Tbsp. Ice Water (simply put a small mount of cold water in a cup w/ some ice cubes)

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, & sugar & then cut in the diced butter using a pastry blender or forks until the mixture is crumbly. Using your tablespoon measure, spoon 4 tablespoons worth of ice water into the crumb mixture & continue to mix until it comes together & you're able to make a ball (you can use your hands once it gets too difficult with two forks or the pastry blender).
2. Roll the dough ball out on a lightly floured surface or parchment paper into an ~1/8" thick circle large enough to drape just a little bit over the edge of your pie pan. Spray your pie pan with non-stick spray & then transfer the rolled dough to the pan & carefully press it down. Fold & flute the edges to make them pretty & then put the pan into the freezer for about 10 mins. or so (or the fridge for abt. 30 mins) before putting your filling in, if the filling needs to be baked. If you just want to bake the crust (& put in a cold filling), poke the bottom a few times with a fork & bake at 350ºF until golden brown, abt. 15 mins. or so.

Recipe for this crust: Persephone's Pecan Pie (from The Dream Thieves)

Hot Water Pastry
(Makes enough for 1 regular bread loaf pan-sized pie)

Ingredients:
3/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Shortening (+ extra for the pan)
3 1/2 Cups Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt

Directions:
1. In a medium pot on high heat boil the 1st 3 ingredients until the shortening & butter are melted. Remove from heat. In a heat-proof bowl whisk together the flour & salt. Pour in the heated shortening/butter liquid & stir until just combined & then knead by hands until fully combined (it'll be nice & warm).
2. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease your pan w/ shortening. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the width of the pan + long enough to hang a little over the sides & then place it in the pan (the shortening will hold it in place). Roll out a little over half of the warm dough into a long rectangle of about 1/4" thickness. Carefully place it into the paper-lined pan & press it up & a little bit over the sides. Put in your filling of choice.
3. Roll the rest of the dough 1/4" thick & lay it on top of the filled pan. Cut off the excess & then crimp & seal the top & sides together. Decorate top with excess dough (optional). Brush with egg wash of 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. milk before putting in the oven. Bake until golden brown, upwards to 90 mins, depending on filling & pan size.

Recipe for this crust: Marmaduke Scarlet's Veal & Ham Pie (from The Little White Horse)

Regular Tart Crust
(Recipe came with my 9.75" dia. Nordic Ware tart pan. Very good!)

Ingredients:
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, chopped
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt

Directions:
1. Put all of the ingredients into a medium to large food processor & combine until you get moist crumbs. Spray or grease your pan & then press these crumbs firmly onto the bottom & up the sides of your tart pan (or several tartlet containers). Poke bottom with a fork & bake at 350ºF for about 15- 20 mins (depending on the size of pan[s] you're using). This is called pre-baking. Remove from oven & let cool completely if filling with something like a cream cheese mixture. Suggestion: brush bottom with heated & strained apricot preserves & then let cool to protect the crust from getting soft from the filling.

Important Tart Crust Tip: Keep your eye on the crust while it's in the oven. If the sides begin to fall down, pull it out & press/reform the crust using the bottom & sides of a measuring cup. You can also cut a circle of parchment paper & sit it inside the crust, prior to baking, & then fill it with dry beans. Place it in the oven & bake until the crust is done. Remove the parchment & beans.

Recipe for this crust: Princess Bubblegum's Royal Tart (from "Adventure Time")

Asian Tart Crust
(Makes 2 pie pan-size bottom crusts)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Salted Butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Flour

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl cream together the butter & sugar. Mix in the egg & vanilla & then add the flour a little at a time. Wrap the resulting dough in plastic & chill it in the freezer for 10-15 mins. Roll it out between the plastic wrap & a piece of parchment paper (or 2 sheets of parchment), a little bit larger than the pie tin you're using. Spray your pie pan with non-stick spray & smooth the pie crust into the pan, doing your best to avoid trapping any air under the dough (you can poke some holes with a fork). Bake on the middle rack for about 10 mins or so to solidify the crust (pre-bake). This crust can immediately be filled with something that needs to be baked (like egg custard) or left to cool completely & then filled with something that should be served chilled or at room temperature like fruit & cream.

Important Tart Crust Tip: Keep your eye on the crust while it's in the oven. If the sides begin to fall down, pull it out & press/reform the crust using the floured bottom & sides of a measuring cup. You can also cut a circle of parchment paper & sit it inside the crust, prior to baking, & then fill it with dry beans. Place it in the oven & bake until the crust is done. Remove the parchment & beans.

Recipe for this crust: Earth Kingdom Egg Custard Tart (from "Avatar: The Last Airbender")

Easy Puff Pastry

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Butter, chilled & diced
1/2 Cup Sour Cream

Directions:
1. Put the flour in a medium bowl & add the butter pieces, cutting them in with a pastry blender or 2 forks until the mixture comes together in bits the size of small peas. Using a fork, stir in the sour cream until the dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic & chill in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8" thickness (because it'll puff up when baked!) & use it how you'd like it. Bake at 350ºF until golden brown, about 5 mins or more depending on what your using it for.

Recipe for this pastry: Kronk's Spinach Puffs (from "The Emperor's New Groove")

1 comment:

  1. Hi, did your tart pan have a removable bottom? How would you suggest I remove a tart crust from a tart pan that does NOT have a removeable bottom? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

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