Making the perfect pie can be a challenge, starting with the crust. Whatever you fill it with, a perfect flakey crust can make or break the traditional dessert. Williams-Sonoma offers a techniques class on this very topic. Here are a few of the insider tips from the experts.
Keep everything cold: Use butter and ice water straight from the refrigerator. This helps form air pockets which will keep crust flaky.
Don’t overmix: The less you handle the dough, the better. When you overmix, then gluten forms, which leads to tough crust.
Use pastry flour: There’s a lot of science involved in the perfect crust and pastry flour has the right amount of protein to create the most delectable texture.
Let it rest: After mixing it together, let the dough rest in the refrigerator. After you roll it out and place in a pie shell, let it rest in the refrigerator. Keeping this cold and being patient helps prevent the dreaded pie shrinkage.
Add finishing touches: Add personality to your pie by using cookie cutters of leaves to create pie-dough cutouts. Freeze them. Then, place them on the edges of the pie with egg wash just before baking. You can use a combination of an egg wash or cream and then sugars such as turbinado or sanding sugar on the crust edges can add some sparkle to the pie.
Here’s a basic butter crust recipe:
1 1/4 c. flour
1 stick butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 Tbsp. ice water (as needed)
Combine butter, flour and granulated sugar in food processor until crumbly. Add egg yolk and pulse until combined. Then drizzle in enough ice water until dough comes together to form a ball. Refrigerate.