Unrecipe of the Week / Holiday Edition

The grand finale of any Thanksgiving dinner is pie. In our house, pumpkin pie is a seasonal treat that everyone looks forward to. This year, in addition to the traditional pumpkin pie, there will be an apple pie for my nephew Will, and a yummy chocolate cheesecake to celebrate Walter’s birthday.

Any great pie begins with the crust. I make a classic French pate brisee that is flaky and buttery.  If you have a food processor, it practically makes itself!

Pate Brisee:

In the bowl of a food processor, place 1 ½ cup flour, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar and 1 stick of cold butter, cut into small pieces.

Pulse the machine for several seconds until the mixture resembles a course meal.

With the machine running, add ice water SLOWLY through the feed tube. Use just enough to get the dough to stick together and start to form a ball. This should only be about 2 or 3 tablespoons or so. Be careful not to over process the dough or it will become tough. The dough should not be crumbly or too wet.  If you need to, add a little flour or water to get the desired consistency.

Flatten the ball of dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate briefly.
Most recipes require the dough to be chilled for a few hours. I find it is easier to roll when it is cold, but still very soft and pliable.

I roll out the dough on a clean kitchen towel or a piece of wax paper. Flour the surface, and the rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Roll the dough gently in all directions until it is about 3/16” thick and slightly bigger than the pie dish or tart pan.

Carefully fold the dough right on the cloth or paper and transfer it to the pan, with the excess hanging over the edges. Remove the cloth and gently smooth the dough into the pan. Trim the excess. In a tart pan, just roll your rolling pin across the top to get a nice even edge. For pies, there are a variety of crimping techniques.

The easiest, is to use a fork to score the dough all along the rim of the pan.

Use a fork to pierce the bottom and sides of the crust to prevent air bubbles when baking.
Place the crusts back in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill and bake them.

This recipe makes one crust. If you are making a double crust pie, you will need to double the recipe.

Happy Baking!

photo: Spencer Jones / Glasshouse Images

Food Styling: Shari Hershon / Indigo Jones

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