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Sunday, January 5, 2014

ChezCindy: Perfect Pie Crust



Making pie crust from scratch can be tricky.  But once you find the perfect recipe that works for you, it tastes so much better than the "already made" crusts bought from the grocery store.  My sister is actually the better pie crust maker in the family.  She can make pie crust as easily as breathing.  Which is why she is usually asked to make the pies for each holiday. 
I used to struggle with making crust from scratch.  At times the crust would come out too tough or it would fall apart when I rolled it out and tried to transfer it to the pie pan.  But now, I have found my go-to recipe for pie crust and it works every time.  I actually have 2 go-to recipes, one for dessert pies and one for savory pies like quiche or tomato tarts.  You will find the savory recipe with my recent quiche post. 

I made this Tollhouse Chocolate Chip pie yesterday and felt it was time to capture my pie crust  recipe here on my blog.  Each time I make a pie, I search through my box of recipes.  Now that sounds like I have a neat organized box of recipes.  But not...  My box of recipes is full of photocopies, pages torn out of magazines, hand-written notes, all somewhat organized.  My fear of misplacing the recipe has prompted me to add it to the blog site.  My husband tells a story that his mother used to make the best pie crust.  But no one has the recipe.  In her last years, even she could not remember her recipe.  So here is my perfect dessert pie crust.   


Dessert Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks of cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup ice water

Working with a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle, add the flour, sugar and salt to the mixing bowl.  On low speed, blend to combine.  Cut the 2 sticks of butter into 1/4 inch cubes.  Add to the flour mixture; mix on low speed until the crumbly.  The butter will look only somewhat combined and still have visible clumps.  With the mixer running, slowly add the 1/4 cup of ice water.  Mix only until the dough comes together and clings to the paddle.  If the dough appears to be too dry, add 1-2 teaspoons more of ice water.  It is key is to not over-mix.  Gather the dough into 2 balls, forming each into flatten disks.  Wrap each disk plastic wrap; refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.  This is an important step as it allows the dough to rest, the water to be absorbed by the flour, and the bits of butter to become chilled again.  The chilled butter bits are what makes the crust flaky and tender.   

Working with one disk, roll out on a floured surface into a 12-inch circle.  Transfer to pie pan for use with your favorite pie recipe. 

This recipe makes 2 12-inch crusts, which in turn can be used for 2 single crust pies or 1 double crust pie.  The disks of dough can be frozen and thawed for a future use. 

Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Pie

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
3/4 walnuts, toasted

1 disk of pie dough

Roll out the single disk of pie dough, fitting into a 9-inch pie pan; crimp the edges.  Place the pie pan in the freezer while you make the filling.  The pie dough will be used straight from the freezer. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugars and salt until combined.
Working with the stand mixer, whisk the 2 eggs and vanilla until foamy, about 3 minutes.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the eggs; mix for 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides, add the softened butter.  Beat on high until well combined.  Fold in 3/4 cup of chocolate chips and walnuts. 

Remove the pie pan from the freezer.  Transfer the pie filling to the frozen pie shell, spreading it out evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the pie. 

To bake:  Cover the crimped edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from browning too quickly.  Bake for 30 minutes with the edges covered.  Remove from the oven, carefully remove the foil, return the pie to the oven and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes.  Test the pie by sticking a knife into the center of the filling.  The knife should come out clean with no clumps of filling clinging to it.  If necessary, bake for an additional 5 minute and test again.  Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack before slicing.





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