“I didn’t start cooking until I was 32. Up until then I just ate.”
A Wonderfully Tender & Delicious Pastry
During my time spent as a personal chef one of my favourite projects was teaching small classes, and my favourite of those classes was teaching children how to make pie crust.
Kids don’t have any of our hang ups and fears or preconceived ideas based on years of failures. They just throw themselves into it and their results are generally quite successful, if unbelievably messy.
When I first decided to teach a pastry class to kids, it was met with much enthusiasm by the mothers in the area. They all had their own horror stories of how wrong pastry had gone for them in the past.
When it comes to pastry I’ve heard every excuse in the book and my reply is always the same.
“You’re overthinking it.”
Relax, throw a few ingredients together in your bowl or food processor roll your sleeves up and enjoy the process. That’s it!
I know, I know it’s easy for me to say since I’ve been making it since I was about 10 and had a fairly impressive pie count under my belt before I even went to culinary college. But I can tell you that my head chef at school said exactly the same thing to us…
“YOU’RE OVERTHINKING IT!” And yes he yelled everything… not quite as cruelly as a Gordon Ramsay sort, but he was a pretty tough nut!
What’s so great about this particular pastry besides the fact that its flavour and texture are unmatched, is that it holds in the fridge or freezer exceptionally well. I also love that this recipe calls for both butter and shortening which results in the prefect balance of flavour AND flaky tenderness.
Trust me when I tell you this is THE SINGLE BEST PASTRY RECIPE EVER and I know ‘cuz I’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all! It’s Julia Child’s recipe so we shouldn’t really expect anything less!
So make this crust today and refrigerate or even freeze it until you need it for the holidays!
Hey, why not make two batches, because once people taste the pies you make they will undoubtedly be asking for more!
Enjoy & Namaste!
- 5¼ cups AP flour
- 1TBSP kosher salt
- 1½ stick (6 oz) COLD unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1¾ cups (11 oz) COLD solid vegetable shortening
- 1 cup ice water (I toss the measured cup into the freezer just as I'm starting the process)
- This is the made by hand method which I prefer. If you would rather use a food processor follow the steps being very careful to not overwork it as it will result in a tough crust.
- Mix together flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Add butter and using
pastryblender (although I prefer using my hands)break it into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add shortening again working until it resembles coarse crumbs. This bit does take time.
- You can switch to a wooden spoon now and add the ice water to incorporate.
- Once it has come together loosely, you can turn it onto a work surface and fold it over onto itself a few times... DON'T GO CRAZY... just a few times.
- Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Chilling is required to give the gluten time to relax.
- If you are going to use it after the five day period you can freeze it for up to a month or so.
- If I'm not using all of it within the 5 day period I will divide it equally into four pieces before wrapping and freezing. Also if I am not planning on rolling it out same day then I will pop the cellophane wrapped
circle intoa ziplock.
- Allow dough to warm slightly before attempting to roll out.
- Shape the dough into the approximate eventual shape before rolling.
- Remember to always roll from the
centreout for the most tender crust.
- Although a floured surface is required for rolling out, remember that the more flour the less tender the crust so go easy and also brush away any excess from the dough round as you go along.
- Heat is your enemy when working with uncooked pastry. I have naturally cold hands but you can always just run yours under cool water before you start.
- I like to fold my crust in half before transferring to the pie plate for easy transfer and proper alignment, but you can also drape it over your rolling pin.
- Chill the dough again before filling and baking to give the gluten another chance to relax for maximum tenderness.