First up on our fall essential list: Pie crust. Yay! That’s a good start to any list.
Pie crust isn’t just essential to fall either, it’s essential to life. Pie season is year round in my world as it should be in yours as well. Why not? It can be used in sweet or savory pies from apple and pumpkin to a good quiche. Par-bake it, fully bake it, don’t bake it, over baked it. Pie crust is down for whatevs so make sure she gets around. I always used ATK’s pie crust recipe because it had alcohol in it. They told me the science with the alcohol would make it easy to roll out and what not. Plus, I’d add bourbon because I’m so manly. Prob just sounded like every douche with a beard, talkin bout bourbon. It also had half Crisco, which took away from the buttery flavor. So I switched to an all butter dough recipe from Stella at Bravetart/Serious Eats. Coincidentally, my new obsession. Major crush on Kenji and now Stella. Also Milk Street. If you watch and enjoy Football, this is like the coaching tree, started by the daddy seed, Bill Parcels. Sorry, needed one manly line in there. Here is the link to the recipe. There is even a nice video.
This dough allowed a lot of forgiveness while rolling which is great for a guy like me afraid of any kind of dough. My favorite part of this crust is seeing all those delicious smeared pockets of butter. That really lets you know this pie is going to be worth it. Butter equals love. Add this recipe to your repertoire, master it and then maybe you’ll finally master finding a wife/husband. Alright that’s about it but check in for other great fall essentials coming up and, of course, what filling will go into that delicious crust. Quick talk but good talk.
Meat & Paprika
8 ounces all-purpose flour (1 2/3 cups; 225g), plus more for dusting
1/2 ounce sugar (1 tablespoon; 15g)
1 teaspoon (4g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks; 225g), cold
4 ounces cold tap water (1/2 cup; 115g)
For the Dough: Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes (this size is important, as smaller pieces will melt too fast) and toss with flour mixture to break up the pieces. With your fingertips, smash each cube flat—that’s it! No rubbing or cutting. Stir in water, then knead dough against the sides of the bowl until it comes together in a shaggy ball. Dough temperature should register between 65 and 70°F (18 and 21°C); if not, refrigerate briefly before rolling and folding (see note above).
Make the Layers: On a generously floured work surface, roll dough into a roughly 10- by 15-inch rectangle. Fold the 10-inch sides to the center, then close the newly formed packet like a book. Fold in half once more, bringing the short sides together to create a thick block. Divide in half with a sharp knife or bench scraper. Dough temperature should still be somewhere between 65 and 70°F (18 and 21°C); if not, refrigerate briefly before proceeding (see note above).
For Single-Crusted Pies: Using as much flour as needed, roll one piece into a 14-inch circle and drape across a 9-inch pie plate; it will be super easy to lift by hand. Dust off excess flour with a pastry brush, using it to nestle dough into the very corners of the pan. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim the edge so that it overhangs by 1 1/4 inches all around. Fold overhang over itself to create a thick border that sits atop the rim of the pan. Crimp or shape crust as desired. Repeat with remaining dough. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Use as directed in your favorite recipe.
For a Double-Crusted Pie: Using as much flour as needed, roll one piece into a 14-inch circle and drape across a 9-inch pie plate; it will be super easy to lift by hand. Dust off excess flour with a pastry brush, using it to nestle dough into the very corners of the pan. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim the edge so that it overhangs by 1 inch all around. For a solid top crust, roll remaining dough as before, or roll into a 9- by 15-inch rectangle for a lattice-top pie. Transfer the entire sheet, uncut, to a baking sheet or parchment-lined cutting board. (The parchment will prevent dough from absorbing any savory odors from the board.) Wrap both portions in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Use as directed in your favorite recipe.
For a Blind-Baked Pie: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F (177°C). Line chilled pie shell with a large sheet of aluminum foil, pressing so it conforms to the curves of the plate (a second sheet of aluminum may be needed for full coverage). Fill to the brim with sugar, transfer to a half sheet pan, and bake until fully set and golden around the edges, 60 to 75 minutes. Fold long sides of foil toward the middle, gather short sides, and use both hands to carefully transfer sugar to a heat-safe bowl. Let sugar cool to room temperature. If needed, continue baking crust a few minutes more to brown along the bottom. A full explanation of this process can be found here.