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.