Goof-proof Pie Pastry
This is a recipe I got from a dear friend in France, Talal Khayat. I love this dough as it really is impossible to not make work. Even if you have to press it into your pie plate by hand it will still bake up nicely. And for those who are health conscious (like my Mom’s new beau 🙂 ) you don’t have to worry about the shortening.
(this recipe makes 2 crusts; feel free to freeze half of it if you don’t need it right away)
500 g / 2 cups all-purpose flour
250 g / 1 cup vegetable based margarine (it works better in this recipe than butter)
1 g /1/4 tsp salt
25-30 mL / 2 tbsp warm water
for sweet dough, add 75 g / 5 tbsp sugar
for savoury dough, add 1 g / 1/4 tsp white pepper
Put 400 g / 1-3/4 cups flour in a large bowl. Add the salt and your sweet or savoury addition and mix well. Add softened margarine and blend with pastry blender or in a food processor with the dough hook. Mixture should resemble the consistency of sand.
Make a well in the middle of the bowl and pour in 15 mL / 1 tbsp warm water. Mix again slowly and continue to work the dough until it sticks. Add a bit more water – only enough to make the dough ball come away from the sides of the bowl.
Measure out remaining flour (100 g / 1/4 cup). Place dough on well-floured surface using this stock of flour, and knead gently, adding more flour if necessary until dough develops an elastic consistency, bouncing back from the pressure of your hand. Toss the dough ball between your hands to warm it slightly, making it easier to roll out.
Roll out dough on a well-floured surface till it is 0.5 cm / 1/4 inch thick. Roll dough back over rolling pin and then gently unroll over your pie plate. Sprinkle a bit of flour (about 15 mL / 1 tbsp) over the pie crust in the plate and gently poke holes part-way into the bottom of the crust to prevent bubbles. Take the edge of the fork tynes and press into the corner edge of the pie plate, going all the way around this edge between the bottom and the sides. (This will give the corner of your pastry more of a “flaky” texture, as this is the thickest part inside the pie.) Pinch up the edges to form an attractive rim, and then trim the edge with a pairing knife. (If your pie requires a top crust, roll the top crust first and place it over the bottom before you pinch the two edges together to seal your pie.)
Once pie is filled, bake at 190C / 375F for 35 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven. Pie is done when filling boils and crust is golden brown. (If pastry browns before filling is fully cooked, cover pie with aluminum foil to finish baking.)
* if the pastry doesn’t roll out perfectly, feel free to “patch” together the crust. Don’t worry, this crust doesn’t get tougher if you work it more.
** if you’re making fruit pies, you can add a bit of spice to the dough – 1/4 tsp cinnamon for apple or blueberry, 1/4 tsp ginger for pear, 1/4 tsp nutmeg for peaches…
*** if you have stored the dough in the fridge or freezer, remember the secret to this recipe is letting the dough warm before you work it. Toss it between your hands (like a baseball) before you roll it.