Quest for the Perfect Pie Crust
For many decades I was comfortable with the illusion that my mother’s pie crust is indeed the very best in the land. My almost religious belief in this universal truth was shattered recently when my blackberry pie was pitted against Meg’s mother’s cherry pie. I am still firm in the belief that my pie-filling was better than hers (personal preference for blackberries). However, I was forced to expand my universe to include other people’s pie crust as equal, nay better, than my mother’s secret recipe. What was the critical difference between the two? They were both thin, flaky crusts made with Melt® instead of butter (my husband can’t even taste the difference between pie crust made with Melt® vs. butter); both crusts complemented the pie filling in a way that only homemade pie crust can do. The critical differences lay in the finishing touches. While my mother has had a rather Spartan aesthetic with her pie crust allowing the superior texture to stand on its own, Meg’s pie crust was lightly brushed with egg white and sprinkled with sugar to make it sparkly. Damn her sense of aesthetics!
Cygnia’s Thin, Flaky Pie Crust (9-10” Double Crust)
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c Melt®
1/4 -1/3 c ice cold water with 1 tbsp of cider vinegar (to make the crust roll out more consistently)
Sift flour and salt into mixing bowl.
Using pastry cutter to blend Melt into flour.
Add ice cold water with vinegar and mix with hands to create dough.
Add water if too dry, add flour if sticky.
Create dough ball, wrap snugly with cellophane and place in refrigerator for ~60 minutes.
Cut dough ball in half, roll out (with tons of flour on countertop and on rolling pin) to 3/16″ to 1/8” thickness (but no thinner).
Gently fold crust in half, draping the fold over the middle of pie dish; unfold crust and center it.
Add filling (e.g., apples, blackberries, raspberries).
Roll out other half, fold in half, drape over pie dish, unfold, center.
Cut away extra pie crust with knife, pinch crust together, cut slits into top pie crust layer and place in oven (usually 450 degrees F for 10 minutes, then 350 degrees F for ~35 minutes).
Tip: lightly brush top pie crust with egg white and sprinkle with raw sugar to make it fancy.