In 2017 Give Pies a Chance

I am not one to bake pies, but I’ve been asked to bake some for a dear friend’s wedding in June of next year. And I do enjoy a challenge…

I’m using a pie crust recipe that uses vodka. If you haven’t used a similar recipe before, try it. The alcohol is used because ethanol doesn’t react with gluten the way water does. The result is a softer, easier-to-shape pie dough that still retains a tender, flaky consistency once baked.

You can add some flavoring ingredients to the pie dough, but it works best with small amounts of highly flavorful ingredients. When I tried a brown butter/bourbon variant, the crust worked but the flavors didn’t come through at all. I would recommend items like herbs, citrus zest, and extracts.

Pie Dough

  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 20 tbsp butter, sliced and kept chilled

Combine the water and vodka, and place the mixture in the freezer to chill.

In the bowl of a food processor, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse 3-4 times to mix the ingredients. Add the 20 tbsp of butter (it seems like a lot, I know).

img_20161020_073215

Pulse the butter for a total of about 15 – 20 seconds. The mixture should go from sandy to looking like wet sand with small clumps of dough, like below:

img_20161020_073343

Add the remaining cup of flour and pulse 5 or 6 times to evenly distribute. You may need to use a silicone spatula to break up some of the clumps of dough. Transfer dough to a large bowl. Sprinkle the vodka and water mixture over the dough and use a silicone spatula to stir and fold the dough together.

Divide the dough in two, flatten each into a disc, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate for up to two days (or freeze for up to two months).

img_20161020_073056

Future Pie Filling Experiments

I will be using the pie crusts in muffin tins to be able to make miniature pies that are easy to transport. I will update posts later with specific results from some of these experiments, but for now here are some ideas.

Pecan Pie:

  • Browned Butter
  • Toasted pecans
  • Bourbon

Strawberry Kiwi:

  • Strawberry filling
  • Sliced fresh kiwi
  • Strawberry jam bottom

Lemon Blueberry:

  • Blueberry filling
  • Lemon Curd
  • Lemon zest pie crust

Apple Sage Cheddar:

  • Cheddar top crust
  • Apple Cinnamon Filling
  • Sage bottom Crust

 

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4 thoughts on “In 2017 Give Pies a Chance

    1. Haha! I just finished up some miniature pecan pies with bourbon and browned butter. Neither flavor really came through, unfortunately, but I’ll just keep adding that bourbon until it does 😉

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