Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shortcrust Pastry From Scratch

I love, love, love Giada, but AGAIN this week, she didn’t make her own pastry (OR pancake batter*). Lys was looking for a good pastry recipe and this is one that I’ve used for years (decades, actually).

I make this quantity of pastry for any size pie shell and, truthfully, it’s a bit much for a 9 inch shell, but I like the proportions. If I have too much dough, I just trim it and keep the extra in the freezer. I use it if I ever need to cut out leaves or other shapes.

Shortcrust Pastry

1½ cups flour

6 tbls. unsalted butter, cold

2 tbls. Crisco (or lard, if you have the nerve)

2 to 3 tbls. ICE water

Add the flour to a food processor. Pulse once.

Cut the butter into small pieces. (I quarter the stick lengthwise and then cut it into small pieces.) Add that to the food processor with the Crisco. Pulse on and off until the fat is uniformly broken up.

Add 2 tablespoons ICE water and process for about 30 seconds, just until the mixture begins to come together. If it doesn’t come together, add the 3rd tablespoon of water. (I almost always use all 3 tablespoons.) Pulse a few more times until the mixture begins to form a ball.

Remove dough from processor and knead just long enough to make a smooth ball. Pat it out into a flat round.

At this point, I lay 2 sheets of plastic wrap out on the counter. I put the dough on top and cover it with another sheet of plastic wrap, so that I’m rolling out the dough between the sheets of plastic.

I roll the dough to the size I need and then line my pie dish. THEN I refrigerate it. The plastic wrap makes it possible to roll out just-made dough easily and you don’t need any flour. I cannot stand rolling out chilled dough.

If I’m freezing the dough, I line the actual pie dish with the dough as soon as I make it and then freeze THAT.

Some recipes call for prebaked shells. Baking a shortcrust pastry shell without a filling is called baking it blind.

To bake the pastry blind, line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or waxed paper. Pour in pie weights (I’ve had the same ones since the 1970’s) or dried beans or rice to weight down the shell. Bake in a preheated 375ºF oven for about 15 minutes or until just golden. Cool on a rack. (I like to chill the lined pastry shell for 20 to 30 minutes before baking blind.)

Note: To make by hand, cut fats into flour with a pastry blender or two table knives until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Add the first two tablespoons of water and mix in using only your fingertips, which will keep the dough cooler. Add the additional water, if necessary, and knead quickly to a smooth ball.

*My pancake recipe is from The New York Times Cookbook and takes about 30 seconds to put together. (No mix needed.) It's not my recipe to post, but email me if you want this really good basic recipe.


Cynthia said...

I can tell that this pastry works - every time! Thanks for the tip on how to free first.

SayGrace said...

OMG... why have I never thought to chill the dough AFTER rolling it out... genius! I could never figure out how to roll the stuff when it's cold without pretty much sitting on the rolling pin to get enough heft onto the project... I think I'm going to go make some pastry crust just to play with the dough!!!!

Sue said...

Thanks Cyn,
I bet you make a mean pie crust too.

I know you meant FREEZE first, but I kind of like the idea of a FREE dough too.

Hiya SG,
People always say that the dough should rest before you roll it out, but rolling out cold dough makes ME want to rest, so that's why I do it this way.

I also treat cookie dough the same way. I roll it out freshly made, chill it and THEN cut out the cookies.

Have fun with your pastry!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I love lard in my pastry. I know people get all freaked out by it but I like it better than crisco. At least it's a natural fat.

Sue said...

Hiya NN,
Lard DOES make the flakiest pastry.

Emily said...

You are the pie queen! Your Thanksgiving pies always look so beautiful.

Can you believe I don't have pie weights? Don't let me forget to buy some. Or beans. I should just buy beans.

Adam said...

Nice pastry crust recipe. I like how daring you are. Some people just don't have the guts to go through with it, but you're right, there is a big difference.

I've never done it with lard, I actually think that would be a good idea. Sure the health factor takes a beating, but I'd rather stay away from hydro-anything and be a true fatback southerner.

Sheila said...

Check this out: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/lard-the-new-health-food

Lard gets such a bad rap... but MAYBE its not AS bad as we think!!!!

Lard does make the flakiest crust! And in light of the above article - I'm not afraid to use it!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I would love to use lard in my pie crusts. The problem is you can't get non-hydrogenated lard in my neck of the woods.

Lys said...

OK, I'm so adding this pastry recipe to my notes. If you say it's good, I know it's going to be great!

And yes, I will shoot you an email re: the Pancake mix recipe - so when the stuff I bought per Giada's cookbook suggestion runs out, I will make up a batch of your mix and that will be my go-to! :)