Well folks, 2014 has arrived. If you have seen the Google Doodle lately, you’ll notice a fun and hip nightclub celebrating 4’s arrival. I couldn’t be happier to start a new year with new opportunity, new adventures, new recipes to try. I typically don’t stick to resolutions and so only made one for myself this year: to be happy. Broad, right? But it’s really all I want out of this new year.
I’ve also decided to start a new series here. It’s nothing novel, tons of other writers and bloggers have done how-to segments. But I look back at myself two or three years ago, when I could barely make spaghetti. And I marvel at the immense progress I’ve made in the kitchen. I went from not being able to make a simple batch of cookies without crying to becoming the food editor for a regional magazine. My job is literally to create recipes and write about food. Obviously, I’ve done something right along the way. And it all starts with basics.
This basic is definitely a must. Having an easy yet delicious pie crust recipe mastered will save you a lot of heartache. Trust me, the store brand just doesn’t measure up. And when you discover just how easy pie crust can be made, you’ll never go back. A few tips to keep in mind, if you will. First, be sure to use cold butter. My first few crusts used somewhat cold butter and let me tell you, the difference is clear. Cold butter is exactly what you need for a nice, flaky texture. Second, don’t be daunted if you don’t have a food processor. I happen to have one, it was a gift. But a pastry cutter, two forks or your fingers get the job done. Third, don’t over knead. The trick for a great, flaky crust is the cold butter and your hands are warm. Warm hands melt butter, melted butter means less flaky crust. Less flaky crust means sad faces.
What other back to basics would you be interested in seeing?
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) very cold butter
- 6 to 8 Tbsp. ice water
- Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor (or in a large bowl). Pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse four or five times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- With the processor on low, add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to come together.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to combine completely.
- Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.