If you ever want to scare someone that loves to bake, the easiest way (in my opinion, anyway) is to suggest that they make a pie crust.
More often than not, they will freeze, adopt a deer-in-the-headlights look, stutter and stumble for proper verbiage to explain that they simply can’t.
Unless, of course, you are dealing with a professional pastry chef – and I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly rubbing shoulders with Gale Gand or Marcel Desaulniers…….
I’ll tell you a little secret though – I used to be the person that would sweat, curse and cry their way through a pie crust. Extreme? Not really – it’s an exercise in patience and practice. Lots and lots of practice.
And did I mention practice?
Oh, and there is one.more.thing.…… you need a great recipe.
My Favorite Pie Crust – adapted from Nick Malgieri
This is enough dough for two 9″ crusts
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (cold straight from the fridge)
3 large eggs
For the dough, combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times to mix the butter in finely. Add the eggs and pulse repeatedly until the dough forms a ball. Invert the dough to a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate it while preparing the filling. You may keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before continuing.
Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator and gently knead it on a floured surface until it is smooth and malleable. Roll the dough into a 10-inch disk.
Coat the pie plate with cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the prepared plate and press well into the bottom and sides of the plate. Use the back of a knife to remove the excess dough at the rim of the plate. Create a crust by pinching the dough between your thumb and forefinger.
Chill for at least an hour before baking. To blind bake, lay a thin sheet of foil over the crust, fitting it into the shape of the crust, and fill the space with pie weights. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and firm. Remove carefully and allow to cool before filling. Otherwise, if you are using a recipe that doesn’t require a pre-baked crust, follow that recipes directions for baking.