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.
- 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).
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:
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).
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.
- Browned Butter
- Toasted pecans
- Strawberry filling
- Sliced fresh kiwi
- Strawberry jam bottom
- Blueberry filling
- Lemon Curd
- Lemon zest pie crust
Apple Sage Cheddar:
- Cheddar top crust
- Apple Cinnamon Filling
- Sage bottom Crust