Another Pie Day

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Another post devoted to pie today. Since it's Tuesday, I'm linking up at Tasty Tuesday , Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday and Tuesdays at the Table. Thank you Jen, Lisa and Cole for hosting these lovely events each week. Check out ALL the great recipes posted.

Don't forget to get entered in for my giveaway.

Over the years I have had many great *tips* for pie making. My grandmother-in-law swore that adding 1 Tbsp of cider vinegar to your pastry was the ultimate trick. She was on to something there. The vinegar impedes the formation of gluten, thus your crust stays nice and flaky and doesn't get tough. I've used that tip for years but I've got a new trick. This recipe from Cook's Illustrated has the addition of vodka. I was a total skeptic until I tried it. It makes the most flaky crust I've ever made.

Foolproof Pie Dough
(Printable Version)
Cook’s Illustrated 2007
- makes one 9-inch double-crust pie -

The trick to this pie crust is the inclusion of vodka. Eighty-proof vodka, which is 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol, adds moistness to the dough without aiding in gluten formation since gluten doesn't form in ethanol. Although the recipe includes 8 tablespoons of liquid, the alcohol vaporizes during baking, resulting in a tender crust that only contains 6 1/2 tablespoons of water. Because of the extra liquid, the dough will be moister than most standard pie doughs and will require up to 1/4 cup more flour.

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water

Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.


  1. Pam said...:

    I can never get my pie crust to turn out correctly. I tried the cider vinegar, but had never heard of using vodka!

  1. Oh a pie crust with vodka!! Sign me up!! I will give it a try.

  1. Lori E said...:

    I have this edition of Cook's Illustrated but I still haven't tried the pie crust. Makes so much sense when they explain it. Now that you have tried it I will go on your recommendation. After all I wouldn't want to waste some perfectly good vodka on a pie crust if it didn't turn out well.

  1. Hmmm... who ever thought pie crust could be improved by vodka? But how brilliant. almost anything can be improved by vodka, I guess!

  1. I have never heard of pie dough made with vodka. I'll have to give it a try.

  1. Lisa said...:

    I am soooooooo impressed that you make your own pie crusts. Another add on to my bucket list. :)

  1. Tracey said...:

    Ahh...I certainly need a foolproof pie dough as I have tried a couple of different pie dough recipes lately with not-so-great results! Thanks for giving me another shot!

  1. darnold23 said...:

    I love Cook's Illustrated. I don't recall this recipe, so I must not have read that issue very carefully. The vodka addition is really interesting. Mister Linky is up and ready for Crock Pot Wednesday. Come join us.

  1. Hello there. What a beautiful blog you have here! Just stopping by via TMTT.
    I love Cooks Illustrated. If it wasn't so expensive I'd still be a subscriber. Though I do try to catch their cooking show on the weekend when I can.

    Hope to be back by to visit again soon.


  1. Well that is the most interesting ingredient I've ever heard of for pie crust. I'll have to try it.


  1. Cole said...:

    Vodka?! REALLY? I really have to try that out!!

    Thanks for sharing. :-)

  1. Thanks for dropping by today. Reading about your pie crust recipe is making me hungry! You have some great tips, which I really need. Pie has never been my strong suite, now I know why!
    Have a wonderful week!

  1. Gail- Now this is a great post! I have been trying to make a fabulous and consistant pie crust for years. Sometimes it is good, sometimes just barely passable. Thank you sooo much fot this great hint. I will do a test pie, and then hopefully this year my thanksgiving pies will taste flakey and delicious. I am so grateful for all your wonderful posts! Talk to you soon, dear blog buddie!

  1. Sandra said...:

    I've never heard of either of these tricks, but since I'll be making plenty of pies for Thanksgiving, I"m going to give it a try!

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