Yummm, pie. Arguably the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner - all of the delicious pie that is served after the main meal. Apple, pumpkin, pecan, cherry - it's just not a holiday dinner without pie.
The basic part of the pie, and the one that trips most people up, is the crust. You can always buy a frozen or chilled shell, and you can certainly purchase ready to roll out pie dough. Theres something "adult", though, about making your own pie crust, at least once in your life. That way, you can say you did it, and you'll never ever ever have to do it again. I'm kidding. Mostly.
Really, making your own pie crust isn't very difficult. The key thing to remember? ICE COLD. Your butter has to be cold, your water has to be cold, and the dough has to stay cold. Your fingers aren't the best mixing tool, as they are warm, and when you roll the dough out, the more you do so, the more tough it will be.There's always a discussion between all butter/all shortening/a combination of the two and you'll have to do some experimentation to determine which you prefer. For us, it's all butter.
You can find a good recipe just about anywhere, but I like to use this one: Mix 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces and sprinkle them on top of the flour mixture. Using two forks, mix it all together until it resembles bread crumbs. Then drizzle 1/2 cup of ice-cold water over the butter and flour mixture. Stir the dough together and place the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Top with another, fold the edges up around the dough, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out, leaving it inside the parchment paper. When the dough is as thin as you'd like it, remove the paper from the top and flip the dough into the pie pan. Follow the baking instructions as your pie recipe indicates. Leaving the dough inside the paper means you won't use flour as you roll it out, and that helps to keep the dough tender. It also helps the cold butter to remain cold, as it's not coming in contact with your hands.
Pie crust is super intimidating, but once you've done it once, I can virtually guarantee you'll be hooked forever - the taste is superior to any prepared product.
What is your favorite kind of pie?