Pie Crust Success!

I bought the most amazing cherries at the Amish market the other day!

I pondered…”Do I make a cherry pie?” “Should I freeze them to use later?”
 or “Make jam or jelly?”

The cherry pie idea won the debate!  I don’t make many pies. When I do…I often buy the purchased crust, either the kind you roll out and cut yourself or the ones already in a pie pan…ready to fill. Today, though, I decided to make it from scratch. This choice is not always a good one for me.  I have several pie crust recipes in my collection. Some are passed down from mom and grandma. Friends and other family members have shared theirs. Some have been successful – some not. But today I’m determined to be successful.

When I want a safe recipe, one with thorough directions, I turn to  The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. When I think of the old standby Betty Crocker cookbook I have on my shelf, I also turn to this one for no-fail recipes.  The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook includes amazing tips on making the dough which includes detailed pictures. Ingredients and tools are tested and results shared.

(MAKES enough for one 9-inch pie)
PREP TIME:  5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes (includes one hour chilling time)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces/chilled
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces/chilled
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

1.  Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined.  Scatter the shortening over the top and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds.  Scatter the butter pieces over the top and using short pulses, process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses.  Transfer to to a bowl.
2.  Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture.  Stir and press the dough together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.
3.  Divide the dough into two even pieces and flatten each into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it out and fitting it into a pie plate. 

Source:  Double-Crust Pie Dough. “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.”
America’s Test Kitchen, 2005. 667-669.