This One’s For All You Dough Nuts

January 6, 2011

MHK reader/neighbor Melanie recently bestowed upon us the wonderful gift of a cherry pie.  It was, of course, delicious (I wouldn’t be mentioning it here otherwise).  But there was something unique about the crust – it was light, buttery and flaky, yet held the pie filling well.  Melanie was nice enough to impart her recipe for this magnificent malleable, which we now share with you.  You might be taken aback by the vodka – but it makes the dough much easier to work with, and then evaporates during the baking process.  The next time you want to make a pie from scratch, use this crust recipe – you will not be disappointed.  Enjoy!

Melanie’s Dough-lightful Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces), plus more for work surface

1 teaspoon table salt

2 tablespoons sugar

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup vegetable shortening , cold, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup vodka , cold

1/4 cup cold water Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous 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 (can do this part in the food processor too).  Divide dough into 2 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. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.  Fill with your favorite filling and bake.  Eat!


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