Practise. Practise. Practise.
That is the standard advice when it comes to mastering any skill. For me, achieving the buttery, flaky perfection that is the pie crust has become my latest culinary ambition. The only way I know how to make pie crusts is how Evan Kleiman taught it in her Craftsy class, Perfecting the Pie Crust. She has a copy of her recipe freely available online but as a novice, I found watching the videos of her actually making it very helpful. In her class, Evan suggests multiple possible variations of her core recipe but for me, this is the one that I have stuck to:
· 12 ounces all-purpose flour
· 2 ounces of shortening + 6 ounces of butter (ie. 8 ounces of “fat” in total)
· 4 – 5 ounces of ice cold water
· 2 tablespoons of sugar
· 1 teaspoon of salt
It has not failed me yet.
Each time I have attempted a pie crust, I have mixed the dough with my hands. It is messier than using a pastry cutter but I feel like I have better control over what I am doing. I toss the dough in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes every few steps; it is probably just paranoia on my part but I am constantly worried about my butter becoming too warm. It may be overkill but at least all my crusts have been consistently flaky.
I have changed up the filling each time so I cannot really assess my progress for that part of my pies. My most recent iteration was quiche on the request of Tim. This was a joint project where I was in charge of the crust and Tim took care of the filling. We referenced two different sites for our instructions:
For the Love of Cooking: Broccoli, Extra Sharp Cheddar, and Bacon Quiche (This particular recipe was chosen to deal with the sadly yellowing broccoli that had been sitting in our fridge for far too long)
I chose to blind bake the crust, which is definitely a skill I need to work on as evidenced by the overbrowned (ie. Burnt) edge that you can see in the picture.
For a first attempt, we were quite happy with how our quiche turned out. It made for a very tasty brunch!