For years I made my mother's pie crust: 3 cups flour, 1 cup shortening, 1 teaspoon salt, 3-4 tablespoons cold water.
Then, yuk!, we found out about what shortening can do to the arteries and I switched to butter.
Then we found out how darned important fiber is and I switched to whole wheat flour.
Over the years I kept tweaking the recipe until it no longer resembled my mother's.
Sadly I stopped making pies altogether because the crust just didn't come out right.
Then along came a really nice whole wheat pastry flour and I started experimenting with pie crust again.
And now, finally, I think I've got it.
I'm convinced that it all comes down to the butter. Use an unsalted butter that is high in butterfat and low in moisture, and keep it very, very cold when you use it.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour Pie Crust
Christine's original recipe
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached, organic all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup COLD unsalted European or European-style butter, cut into small cubes, keep cold
1 tablespoon cold cream
3 tablespoons cold water (more if necessary)
Place the flours, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse a few times to mix.
Add the cubes of butter all at once and use small pulses until the butter resembles small peas. Don't over process.
With the feed tube thingy removed, pulse as you add the cream, then pulse as you add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and is no longer crumbly.
Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, flatten into a disc and refrigerate for 1 hour (can be left in fridge for a day or two).
Remove from the fridge and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.
Cut the ball in 2 equal pieces.
Flour a flat surface and your rolling pin then roll out one piece of the dough into a circle 12 to 14- inches in diameter and 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick.
Roll the dough onto your pin and drape over a pie plate, settling the dough into the plate.
Trim to a 1-inch overhang.
Fill with your favorite filling.
Repeat the instructions for the top crust.
Here is a good link for learning how to crimp pie crust.
I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie using this crust recipe. The crust was flaky and buttery but not oily. Moreover, it passed the discerning guests taste test, making it a crust to blog about.
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