Monday, April 19, 2010

pie crust in the kitchen aid

I'm all business today.
I'm sure that there is a lot to talk about if we get started. But I promised you pie crust. Really I did. And although I'm learning that as a political candidate, rule number one is DON'T MAKE PROMISES!, in the world of food and rolling pins, promises are really okay.

I'm starting with the best pie crust, because really, I'm not so big on build-ups. If you don't have a kitchen aid, I'll do a few other crusts in the next week or two, but if you've got one, then you can just stop here.

Of course, there is a chance that this crust might not be for you. If you really like the feeling of mastery over cutting butter into flour, of knowing just when the crust won't crumble, then keep working with your pastry blender. If your pie crust making is peppered by spaced out daydreams of of being an french pastry chef in the days before whirring gadgets (okay, okay, that actually is me once in awhile), then this crust is not for you.
This crust is the one if you just want to make the damn pie already. It is absolutely predictable, and you barely have to use your brain at all. It is easy to roll out, and ends up light and flaky. It comes together in a few steps, with hardly any active time.

This morning I was dropping Rosie off at her friend Petra's house for the day. Petra's mom is a bit of a pie crust whiz, and I mentioned that I needed to get home to finally get this pie crust post going. "Just make sure you talk about how easy pie crust is," she said. "I don't think people really get that!" And how does Petra's mom make her pie crust? You guessed it. Whir, whir, whir.

Are you ready? Should we do this thing? Would you like to make the damn pie crust already?

Okay! Ingredients. I make pie crust with butter. Always. And for pie crust, I buy special butter. Not always, but when I can. It has a higher fat content, and comes across the ocean from Europe, where apparently the butter comes from fatter cows. It arrives in a satisfying block, and it's called Plugra. It looks like this.

If you don't use fancy butter, just make sure that you use unsalted butter.
Then there's the flour. I use King Arthur all purpose. It works for me. I don't recommend using whole wheat flour unless you are making something savory, like a quiche, and even then, if you really want some whole wheat in there, I'd suggest you use 1/3 to a 1/2 whole wheat flour.
Besides that there is salt. Fine sea salt, or whatever you've got as long as it's not too coarse.
Then you need an acid, and in this recipe it's apple cider vinegar. If you don't have that, you can use white distilled vinegar.

Plug in that kitchen aid. Put on the white beater attachment. Here we go.

Pie Crust in the Kitchen Aid
adapted from Shirley Corriher, Bakewise

You will need:

11 ounces (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
8 ounces cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon unseasoned bread crumbs

Cut the butter into 1/2 inch squares. Throw it into the mixer bowl with the flour. Put the bowl into the refrigerator. In a measuring cup, combine the water, vinegar, and salt. Put that in the refrigerator, too. Walk away for a few minutes.
Affix the bowl to the mixer. Using the lowest speed, mix for about 30 seconds, until the mixture looks crumbly, like this:

Then slowly add the cold water/ vinegar, and mix until the dough comes together in a ball, like this:

Divide the dough into two balls, and wrap in plastic. Press down into discs.

Refrigerate for at least an hour, but up to two days. You can also through the discs into a freezer bag and freeze at this point.

Take the dough out of the fridge, and place on a well floured surface. Roll out from the center, turning the dough as you go.

Butter your 9 inch pie dish. Sprinkle the bottom with the tablespoon of breadcrumbs. Roll the dough out so that it's something like a circle, big enough to spread over your dish. Fold your crust into quarters, like this:

Place the corner in the center of the pie dish, and then unfold the crust. Press out any air bubbles, and fold over the top of the crust if there is extra. Patch any holes with excessive pieces of hanging dough.

Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. If you haven't yet prepared your filling, refrigerate the crust while you do. Roll out the second crust. Put the filling into the shell, and then either:

1. lay the crust over the filling in the same method as you transported the first crust. Press the edges together, shaping it with your fingers. Cut four holes in the top of the crust.


2. cut the second crust into 1-inch strips. Arrange one set of strips going in one direction, then another set in the other direction. Press the crust together at the edge, and shape with your fingers.

Pie crust is very forgiving- the imperfections turn lovely as it bakes. So just press the dough together, and everything will be okay. Your pie will be beautiful, because pies just are.

And that's it! This pie crust changed my life just a little bit, and if you are in need of a change, it might do the same for you. Whir. Whir. The next crust will be in the cuisinart, so get your blade ready. We'll all be pie crust makers soon enough, friends.


  1. I've got a question - what do the bread crumbs do?

  2. I think they function as a way to keep the crust from getting soggy. But I must admit, since I've written this- I don't use the breadcrumbs any more! You'll be fine either way.

  3. Hi, I am following blogs for recipes using Kitchen aid 600. I stumbled upon this one. Thank you for the pie crust.