Monday, November 23, 2009

Upper Crust

One thing my good friend R always insisted is that you keep a recipe to your self, one thing you do well and you never share, it is your thing, your special thing! So I decided it is my crust, it is nothing special but for some reason i just works with everything. I always get compliments, and it always rolls out perfect and browns up divine. It is the one recipe that is so ingrained in my head I think I could make it on demand perfectly even if my life depended in it!

So this I will keep to my self, the rest i will happily share!

Even-though I have decided to keep this one secret I will divulge a few helpful hints!

Most recipes call for chilled water with ice cubes, usually 2-3 table spoons, I say use it sparingly!

You never really know how the crust is going to turn out until you get your hands in it, this is where I can say this knowledge comes with practice! You will find when you have made your 50th or so crust you notice that by the time you are finished cutting in the butter you can tell just how much water you will need. The most important thing to remember with liquids you can always add more but you cant take it away!

I recommend NEVER using a machine, the fun of baking is getting your hands dirty, like making mud pies when you were little! it also helps with knowing what you need; a little more flour, more water... you develop a tactile sense over time and soon it become a feeling you have with dough something you just know.

It is hard to not sound all mystical about baking, it is part science but part faith and about a quarter luck. One ting B is driving into my brain s you can follow a recipe exactly, but itdoesn't mean it is going to turn out exactly the same as it should. So when I start sounding fairly (mystical) just know the more you make it the more you will understand, there comes a point where you just know.

One of my last tips for dough, it is ok to be rough with it, people treat dough so carefully and gently, afraid it is going to crumble and afraid of making a mess. Again think primal urges when you bake, make a HUGE mess, get flour everywhere have fun! I find giving my dough a little bit of a beating to be very satisfying as well as gets all the little crumbs in a row... when I roll it out it tends to crack less. Also a resting period for dough is crucial! somerecipes it is ok to roll out straight away, but for the most part 15- 20 minutes int he fridge is a good idea.

Now this is my final bit of wisdom that I can not emphasis nearly enough so listen carefully!

Doubling a dough recipe is a VERY BAD idea! I learned form my amazing Auntie G that you do not double recipes unless the recipe says so! it never turns out the same, take the time to make the second batch it is worth it and you can always taste the difference!

here are a few recipes I have collected, all are very good and can be used with various different pies. (If I reference any crust int he future and forget to give the recipe you can bet you will find it here! otherwise I will let you know how to make the crust.)

Basic Crust

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup ice water
1 teaspoon sugar

combine the flour and salt
cut in butter until mixture consists of coarse crumbs
add 1 table spoon at a time of water
until the dough sticks together
and you can roll into a ball.
refrigerate over night

Gluten/sugar Free Crust

3/4 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons cold water

mix together rice flour, sea salt, and xantham gum well
cut in the butter and honey
add the cold water a little at a time
until you reach the desired consistency.
This dough can be kind of sticky
so roll out between two rice floured sheets of wax paper.

Sour Cream Crust

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
6 tablespoons sour cream

in a medium bowl mix the flour and salt
cut in the butter and then the sour cream
knead briefly on a floured surface

This recipe requires no rest time!