05 February 2011

Shh... The Dough is Resting

It's a little crazy around here this weekend. In addition to our regular busyness, both Tiffany and I are working tonight, the kids have a sitter, and we're trying to clean house. And I'm planning to make three pies for the Super Bowl party at church tomorrow night! So, your regular pie update, gentle reader, will have to wait until Monday (probably).

To tide you over until then, here's a brief recounting of this morning's crust making:

I'm trying a few new things this weekend. First, I made an all-shortening version of the standard pastry crust. Aside from Crisco being slightly messy to measure (and I'd rather not use the sticks), the dough seems to hold up a little better than the half-butter/half-shortening recipe.

How to chill pastry dough in February in Michigan
Second, I made double batches of both the all-shortening crust and the half-and-half basic flaky pastry. That translates to four dough balls: two to the fridge for this weekend's pies* and two to the freezer for later.

Third, as you can see in our top photo, I broke out the good ol' KitchenAid stand mixer for today's dough-making adventure. I had wanted to try the mixer method, and my pastry blender was dirty from the morning's biscuits, so there you go.

The mixer was dead simple - the only change I would make next time would be not to chill the butter as much (I cube it, then stick it in the freezer while prepping other ingredients), as frozen butter takes a long time to incorporate with the mixer.

I recommend (as does Mr. Haedrich) using the whip attachment (rather than the paddle) to more closely replicate the by-hand cutting in of the fat to the flour. Use a light hand when adding the water and stop before it completely balls up - shaggy dough can easily be brought together by hand when wrapping for storage. I'll have to let you know later how it bakes up and how the flavor compares, but the process was certainly simpler than doing it by hand.

Of course, you can always share the work with your sous-chefs:

Next time: Zeb finally gets around to making an actual pie this week.

*For those of you keeping score at home, that's only two crusts for a planned three pies. Fear not, the third pie will have a graham cracker crust (my first non-pastry crust!), but the graham crackers are still at the grocery store.

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