The Ultimate Guide to Making Easy Pie Pastry
It’s the beginning of the holiday season and the holiday fever that comes along with it. It is the time to start making guest lists, gift lists, menu plans… But when you think about it, in the end of all that madness, is there anything better than ending a holiday meal with a crisp, yummy holiday pie?
Many people think that making pie pastry, or shortcrust pastry, is a complicated process. But in reality, making light, melting pie pastry is really not that hard to achieve. There are a few simple tricks to it, but the fact is that making the perfect pie pastry is a piece of cake.
Shotrcrust pastry is a very versatile pastry that can be used in sweet and savoury pies. The dough can be made by hand or in a food processor, because it really saves time, and the result will be the same. As mentioned earlier, there are a few tricks to making the pie pastry.
Tricks for a perfect dough
The first thing you must have in mind is that the best result lies in using cold ingredients. It is best to cool the bowl first too. To add extra air and lightness to the pastry, sieve the flour, don’t just throw it in. If you are new to making this kind of pastry, here’s where it might get a little difficult – you must work quickly and handle as little as possible. The reason for this is that the pastry needs to stay cool, otherwise it will become too elastic, soft and difficult to roll, and you’ll get a hard and dry result. This is why it might be better to opt for the food processor. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill it for at least half an hour after before rolling, and chill again after rolling. This is a crucial trick as it will prevent the pastry to shrink in the oven.
The Easy Pie Pastry recipe
Now that we’ve uncovered the tricks to making the perfect pie pastry, let’s get to the actual recipe. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar (use only to make sweet pies)
Sieve the flour in a large cool bowl, add the butter, salt and sugar if you are making a sweet pie. If you decide to make the pastry by hand, mix in the butter into the flour as fast as you can until it looks like breadcrumbs. It is best to do this with cold hands, but eventually, you must be very careful not to overdo it in order to prevent the dough becoming warm. Add the water and mix it in with a cold spoon or a knife until it binds together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and cool it in the fridge for no less than half an hour.
However, if you use a food processor, not only you will speed up the whole process, but there is less chance of warming the dough. Add the ingredients as previously described and use the pulse setting to combine them. That way you’ll get the best result without over handling the dough. Again, mix until the dough resembles breadcrumbs. Little by little, add the water though the funnel on top of the food processor, until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap and cool in the fridge as previously described.
This whole process takes about 10-15 minutes, minus the cooling time, so it kind of makes it the easiest pie pastry ever. For those of you who are new to making pie pastry, we strongly recommend using a food processor.
You can use this pastry with any pie recipe you want. But what’s a pie pastry guide without an actual pie recipe? Here’s our favourite recipe for sweet blueberry pie:
5 cups fresh blueberries, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup cold water
¾ cup sugar
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pie pastry
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstach, water and salt. Stir until smooth. Then add 3 cups of blueberries and cinnamon and bring it to a boil. Cook for a couple of minutes more, just until it thickens, than remove it from the heat. While stirring, add the butter, the lemon juice and the remaining berries, and keep stirring until butter is melted. Let it cool on room temperature.
In the meantime, line the rolled dough in a pie pan. Once cooled, pour the blueberry mix into the pastry shell. Adjust the top crust, cut vents in any shape you like, and flute the rim. Place the pie onto a baking sheet and bake it for about 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the crust is golden brown. Let it cool, sprinkle some icing sugar on top, cut and enjoy!