Is this a subtle hint?
bleached flour is made, you'd never touch it again. Spend an extra couple of dollars, and you won't regret it. I also buy organic vegetable shortening at Whole Foods. Why? Because many people get the heebie jeebies over the "other" brand. I do believe that shortening is a key component to flaky pie crusts. So, let's go! First, the pie crust:
Barefoot Contessa Family Style. You need to dice 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/3 cup vegetable shortening. Keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. You want it very cold. You also need ice water.
I want to give kudos to a nice little product that I buy from the King Arthur Website. It's called Instant ClearJel. I've used this product as a thickener for berry crisps, berry puff turnovers and fruit pies. I find that using flour or cornstarch isn't my #1 choice as a fruit pie thickener. It doesn't cloud the fruit and it works great! I'm sold on that product, but I think I'd go with cornstarch as my thickener as my substitute. I wasn't sure how much Clearjel I should use, so I made a phone call to the King Arthur Flour Baker's Hot Line and I got "Frank". Nice guy! His suggestion is that I use 3-4 tablespoons of Clearjel for 8 cups of berries-- which is what I ended up with. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to try about 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch or tapioca for the filling. If you're not sure, call King Arthur Flour! They are very helpful, indeed.
For the crust: My "must have" tools for pie crusts are a rolling mat (I've had this tupperware one for years and years). I put a damp cloth underneath so it "sticks" to the counter. I prefer a French rolling pin,because I feel I have better hand control You can use a traditional one, but if you get the hang of using one of these, you won't want to use anything else. Sprinkle the mat (or board) with a little flour. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Here's what finally solved my dilemma with mangled pie crusts... roll from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Roll, turn, roll, turn. Duh! I can remember having stuck pie dough that I'd tear, trying to remove from the board. Roll, turn, roll, turn. I'm telling you, it works every single time!
Linzer Cookie Cutter. So, now you see me applying the top crust. Crimping... I used to feel totally incompetent, at first. It's actually quite easy. First, I tucked the overhang of the top crust under and then sealed the two crusts together.
This looks fancy, but it's very easy.
The oven is preheated to 375F. I decided to take two more steps...totally optional....
I decide to whisk one egg with a splash of water and do an egg wash over the pie. This leaves a beautiful golden color to the crust. I have one more extra....
I use Sparkling White Sugar on my turnovers and sugar cookies. I love that extra crunch, plus it really has a pretty sparkle. I decided it would be a nice touch to the berry pie.
50 minutes later...
...a nice golden color. I use a pie shield to prevent the crust for darkening too much. You could fold aluminum fold... but you know me, I'm a gadget junkie.
Cool for 2-4 hours.
So, is this the pie crusts of pie crust? It's time to cut a slice (son is waiting in the background)...
Note to self: I'd love to have a pie dam, so that the fruit doesn't run all over the plate.
The Clearjel worked great. (Thanks, Frank!)
Here's my taste. Chew. Flavor buds connect with the brain.... just a moment. I need one more thing...
VERDICT: The pie is just slightly warm. The pie crust is tender. The olallieberries are sweet, with just a slight note of tart. The sugar ratio is perfect. My son and I both like the crunch of the sugar. It's a big hit for Brian. I'm really not a huge pie fan; I bake them for my husband, because he appreciates it. I'm now a pie crust fan! That little bit of sugar, the butter and a bit of shortening creates a pie crust that doesn't taste like... baked paste. Know what I mean? I'm telling you, Ina Garten delivers for me every time.
I just bought some freshly picked rhubarb and strawberries. Guess what I'm making tomorrow?
Right back at ya, Sweetie!
I seriously hope that I've inspired you fearful bakers to try baking a pie, from scratch. I really don't need to buy frozen pie crusts anymore, now that I've practiced a few times. You can't buy a pie crust like this. By the way, you can make the pie crust dough a few days ahead of time. You can even freeze them! So, skip the freezer section at the grocery store. Try this! You'll impress your friends and family. Trust me. Trust Ina! Trust King Arthur Flour!
The printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.