I went to the noon demo where Pie God Frank showed us how to make the perfect Apple Pie and Cheddar Bacon and Scallion Scones.
Brookfield Suites, where the demo was held, was packed to the max. Because I came solo, I snagged a great seat in the fifth row. I was easily the youngest person in the room, but we all had a great time.
For the first hour and a half, Frank demonstrated pie crust and answered questions from the audience. I made my first batch of homemade pie crusts last year for Thanksgiving (for pumpkin and chocolate pecan pies) and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in the kitchen. There is a fine line between a crumbly pie crust and one that’s too moist – neither of which will give you the flaky buttery goodness you’re after. I’ve since given up and resorted to Pillsbury.
But watching Frank gave me hope. His pie crusts were perfect. And although he didn’t make it look necessarily easy, he gave a bunch of great tips on technique that we can all use to better our skills.
1. Use unsalted butter so you can control how much salt is in the crust. However, a stick of salted butter has about 1/4 teaspoon of salt in it, so plan accordingly.
2. Incorporate the butter into two stages. In the first step, you are incorporating the butter and flour to make a cornmeal-like consistency. In the second step, you want bigger flakes of butter.
3. Use very cold butter. Butter contains water, so by making sure it’s cold, the steam won’t escape until the baking process (giving you a flaky crust).
4. After everything is mixed together. Make two hockey pucks and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes (leaving it in the fridge any longer will make them too hard and it’ll be a pain to roll out).
5. To roll out the dough, start by tapping the hockey puck-shaped dough will your rolling pin and rotate.
6. Make your filling at the last possible moment.
To find some of King Arthur’s crust recipes, go on their web site – they have a whole bunch.
Unfortunately, I did have to leave a bit early, but the representatives from King Arthur so generously gave us a dough scraper, gift card and recipe booklet. (Now I can finally get their boiled cider that I’ve been coveting for months).
Have you ever attempted homemade pie crust? What’s your best tip?