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I am so excited about this recipe! I just found it in Cook's Illustrated Magazine, November, 2007. I just may enjoy making pie crust again! The article is by J Kenji Alt.
- 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 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. 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.
I have used a lot of different pie crust recipes and this one is the easiest and the best. A few hints will help! First, I did not transfer to a bowl but just added the cold liquids gradually while pulsing the food processor. Then plop the dough onto 2 pieces of plastic wrap and use the wrap to gather up the dough and form it into disks and wrap up. (The dough will seem to be impossibly wet!!) I recommend chilling at least 2 hours or freezing for a half hour. You really can use a good bit of flour when rolling out; do it between sheets of wax paper or just use the plastic wrap the disk was wrapped in on the counter. Brush off excess flour from the dough surface. Chill 15 minutes after rolling out and then chill another 40 minutes in the pie plate. For a baked crust, bake at 400 degrees on lowest oven rack wiith pie weights for 15 minutes then unweighted another 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown, shielding the edges if necessary.
(I keep my pie weights in a large cooking bag (made for cooking a turkey). Just plop the whole thing in the crust, remove and cool and wipe the bag off if necessary before storing it!)
Wow, I am no longer ashamed of my pie crusts! Easy to roll out and very tender and flaky. That said, there is an outrageous amount of fat in this recipe. I think I will just adopt the vodka idea for my regular recipe that calls for 12 Tbsp total for a double crust.
I used to be very intimidated with pie crust, because my DH grew up on pies. The dough rolled out quite easily and you didn't smell the vodka. I think you might be able to stretch the dough out for 3 small pie crusts. I left out the egg wash at the end and after the pie was finished cooking, I sprinkled the top with white sugar. That was a trick that I learned from the dear MIL!! I found this recipe in the Cooks Illustrated, so I am glad that it was already posted!!!