meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: Easy Pie Crust Recipe and Where Did September Go?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Easy Pie Crust Recipe and Where Did September Go?

Fall plums cut in half then drizzled with caramelized vanilla sugar, butter & lemon juice.
The trees are turning colors, going from lush green to shades of brown and rust - very dramatic indeed against the bright blue skies we've been enjoying lately. Paris is once again full of people, a not so gradual change from August when the streets were empty, lingering in the park or on a cafe terrace was a solitary activity and riding a Velib across town didn't feel like taking your life in your hands.

This park in my neighborhood serves as a reminder that the season is changing
Truthfully, I have no idea what happened to September. Multiple fun people came and went from my rental apartment, I wrote a couple of articles for Bonjour Paris about two restaurants I really enjoy (Macéo and La Table d'Eugene)  then came across Bloggers Without Borders, and their 'Fundraiser for Jennie' while reading Eating Rules (which prompted auctioning off 4 nights at my Paris apartment in support) meanwhile, my daughter started back to school as a 'Terminale' (senior) with the International Baccalaureate and about five HUGE essays staring her in the face.  AND, there was the assembly of a combo bookshelf-desk from IKEA.  So, it's not like it's been a lay around and eat bon-bons sort of month.

Traditional Quiche Lorraine in a crust made with salted butter
That said; Over the past couple of weeks quite a few people have asked for my crust recipe, so, without further ado:

Easy Pie Crust

 2 Cups / 8oz / 232 gr       Organic unbleached white flour (I use #65 in France)
 1/2 Cup /4 oz / 117 gr     cold Butter: Unsalted ** for desserts, salted for savory tarts
 1 tsp / 5 gr                      ** salt (only if using unsalted butter)
 1 tsp / 5 gr                      ** sugar (only if using unsalted butter)
 1/3 - 1/2 C / 100 - 150 milliliters        COLD water


1)  Place the flour (sugar and salt if you are using unsalted butter) in a bowl

2)  Cut the butter into small pieces (about 1" ) add to flour, toss.

3)  Using your (very clean) hand, rubb the flour and butter together quickly between your thumb and fingers... (you can use a pasty blender if flour under your fingernails bothers you - as it does my daughters)

until the butter is incorporated into the flour, it will look like course corn meal (or bread crumbs) and hold easily together when pressed.

 4)  Add 1/3 cup of water all at once, toss together.  The flour mixture should easily gather together.  If there is still a lot of the flour/butter mixture on the bottom of the bowl, add more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. (the amount of water will depend upon how warm/humid/dry the weather is and the 'thirsty-ness' of the flour) 

5) Gather the dough together - forming a round, flat disk about 5 inches in diameter that is smooth & flexible but not gooey or sticky (that means you used too much water - just dust it generously with flour and let the dough rest awhile)

6) Set aside, lightly covered, to 'rest', at least 5 - 10 minutes and up to 2 hours (in the fridge).  You can freeze the dough for later use at this point as well - in a freezer zip lock.

7) Roll the dough to your desired diameter, place in the pie tin, cover and refrigerate until ready to fill.


I like to roll out my crust on a floured tea towel, just like my grandmother.  In fact, I'm not so fond of those 'rolling mats' found in cooking stores these days.

Using a tea towel makes for easy clean-up too!
When placing the crust in your pie pan or tart tin, leave enough dough on the edge to 'double up' the sides.  Then proceed as usual, pinching the edges decoratively if that's what you like to do. 

I find that baking pies and tarts at 375F/190C  in the center of the lowest oven rack ensures that the bottom of the crust cooks all the way through. Also, don't be shy about really browning the crust - or rotating the pie if one side is darker than another.

Butter vs Vegetable Shortening:  I happen to really like butter for pie crust - though some people swear by vegetable shortening, which up until a very few years ago was something I wouldn't use. (Now you can find Organic vegetable shortening at most 'healthy' stores)  Once, because I was curious about what the fuss was about, I did an experiment with pie crusts: beginning with an all butter crust, then substituting shortening by 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, finally all shortening. Yes, that's 7 pies, and I made them all the same day (they were all apple pies too). It was interesting to hear what my family had to say about the crust differences and to notice the changes that more, or less, shortening made in the texture and density of the crust.  I'm not suggesting you do the same, BUT, it is an interesting way to learn about making pie crust and which one works best for you. 

I do hope you'll share your thoughts on butter vs shortening with me, and why...

Happy Baking!
A Bientot,

You might also be interested in this, since it's what started the crust requests:


Rachel Oberg - De Ma Cuisine said...

Thanks for posting this! I've only made pie crust once. I think it turned out OK, but it's always good to have a fail-proof recipe on hand.

Marie Z said...

Let me know how it works for you Rachel.

Sharon Landon said...

Thanks for sharing your crust recipe! I love savory pies and prefer the taste of butter (or olive oil) to shortening. I'm looking forward to trying your recipe when I make my next quiche — at your apartment, no less!

cococita said...

Hmmm, this pie looks so nice and probably tastes even better. Thanks for sharing! I'll be back 'cause I love your blog. I wish you a beautiful autumn.

croquecamille said...

I prefer all butter, too, though for savory pies I've made crust with lard, which was excellent! I don't like the mouth-coating feel that shortening tends to leave behind, so I never use it. For anything. :)

Marie Z said...

Generally I would agree with you EXCEPT that the organic vegetable shortening doesn't do that (for some reason) otherwise I am 100% in agreement with you - though I must admit to be truly puzzled by those who favor shortening... different strokes?

As for lard, I used it once a long time ago for little meat turnovers - very nice... just not readily available in a form I can trust.

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

If I'm making a sweet dessert, and only have salted butter, do I just omit the salt in the recipe, or should I just buy unsalted butter? I'm hoping to finally make this pie crust in the next couple of weeks. I just re-read the recipe and it sounds pretty easy, so I'm excited and confident! Thanks again for sharing your recipe!

Marie Z said...

Rachel: Yes, you can make the crust with the salted butter, and yes, omit the salt in the recipe. The crust will be a bit saltier, none the less, than if you made it with sweet butter and added salt.... which isn't all bad.

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

I finally made the crust. It was easy and turned out well! Thanks for sharing this recipe, Marie!

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

(I tried to leave a comment yesterday, but was apparently unsuccessful - if a double comment appears, that's why.) I finally made this pie crust yesterday. It was easy and turned out really well. It's now my go-to recipe! Thanks so much for sharing it, Marie!

Marie Z said...

Don't know why that happened Rachel, something about 'moderation' but I don't 'set' for that... weird.

Thanks for the compliment. My youngest daughter just made crust for the first time using my recipe and it was perfect too... glad it worked well for both of you!

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

I must not have seen the "your comment is waiting for moderation" part. :) Thanks again for sharing your recipe! I can't wait to use it again. I'll be thinking of excuses to use it when planning next month's menu. Maybe some Chicken Pot Pie!

Marie Z said...

Funny you should mention Chicken Pot Pie.. we just made one last week (well, a few - there are small ones in the freezer) and I'll be posting that recipe in November using "The Crust"... It was delicious!

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

I used up all the pie crust with the desserts I made, but I will make some more soon, to go with the Chicken Pot Pie (one of our favorites). We had it last week, before I'd made the crusts, so I used homemade pizza dough instead. It was good, but not quite the same. :)

P.S. I look at your apartment every once in a while. My husband and I dream of going to France someday... :)

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

I'm making Chicken Pot Pie on my cooking show today, and will be using your pie crust recipe, since it turned out so well last time. :)

Marie Z said...

Thanks Rachel! That's a real compliment. Good luck with your show!

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

Thanks, Marie! It turned out great!! This is now my go-to pie crust recipe. :) (And the show will be live on my blog, hopefully later today, if you want to see. I'll also link to your blog in my blog post about the show.) :)

Marie Z said...

I'd appreciate that Rachel... Looking forward to seeing your video. Just went to your blog to see, but it's not up yet!

Rachel - De Ma Cuisine said...

It's live now, Marie! (I realized we're in different timezones, so my today might be your tomorrow. :))