I don't know how many of you remember, but one of my baking resolutions for this year was to stop being afraid of pie crusts. Every now and then throughout the first half of this year I would remind myself that those terribly scary pie crusts were out there lurking, threatening to haunt me when I sleep and steal my precious jewels, and that I, evil cake lady, had resolved to conquer my fear once and for all.
And so, my inability to eat most summer fruit raw--even though I would LOVE to--led me to the desperate place today that hereafter will be known as: The Day ECL And Pie Crust Met.
(Why can't I eat most summer fruit raw you ask? Well, a nice juicy peach, or a bright red cherry, or even too many handfuls of blueberries, makes my tongue feel all burnt and numb and my throat all itchy. Not So Good. But I can eat any of them once they are cooked and yummy!)
In the past I have tried to get excited about pie crust, but after getting intimidated by the 200 tips and tricks and helpful hints and recipes and whatnot in RLB's The Pie and Pastry Bible I would close the book and bake a cake instead.
But today, my resolve held firm and I decided to try.
Following RLB's instructions for making a Flaky Pie Crust was a little confusing. Sorry RLB, this book could have been better organized, and in some places, better written. I'm not saying, but I'm saying.
I used my roommate's food processor to get the dough all put together and at first I was really concerned about it as it wasn't very elastic. A tug on the dough to see if it would stretch would pull a chunk off instead. But, I powered on, letting the dough rest up in the refrigerator while I attended to the peaches.
I didn't have enough peaches for a full 9 inch pie, so I decided to make little peach turnovers using pie dough instead of puff pastry. Like little fruit empanadas.
At about this point in the pie process I realised I didn't own a rolling pin, and neither did my roommate. So I looked around our cupboards to see if there was anything suitable (living in Ukraine taught me to be creative--we used the bottom of a wine bottle to mash potatoes one night) and I found a great vinegar bottle. Perfect!
So out I rolled my first little pie crust, which warmed up really fast and the butter flakes in the dough softened up quite a bit, and the dough was sticky, and I put too much filling in and it leaked out as I was pinching the edges shut and ack!
So I put the rest of the dough back in the refrigerator, the first turnover in the freezer, and watched a movie with my roommate.
About three hours later, I decided to get back to that dang dough, and as it was much cooler in the kitchen I had high hopes of completeing the task. By the fourth turnover I think I had the rolling thing down. And I stopped overfilling the pies which made a huge difference. Also, that three hour rest in the refrigerator really made the dough a much more cooperative thing.
Which has led me to think I might be like Flaky Pie Crust: too long in the heat and I get all uncooperative too.
By the time I got all the turnovers turned over it was 2:30 am (I like the night what can I say). I decided to keep all the little turnovers in the freezer until tomorrow when I can bake them up in the morning and hopefully enjoy them for breakfast.
So goodnight to thee. I'll let you know how tomorrow turns out. (Or over--haha, that makes me the exceptionally clever lady doesn't it?)
Well I took the little frozen peach turnovers out of the freezer, made three slashes on the tops of each, painted on some egg white and sprinkled with milled cane sugar, preheated the oven and popped the little guys in there. About 30 minutes later, I pulled out these little golden turnovers, many of which had spooged filling and even developed more cracks and holes than the slashes I had allowed them.
But, wow, the crust was actually pretty good! I would add a little more salt next time, but all in all, the crust is tender, flaky, and tasty. Not too bad for the First Pie Crust Ever Made By The ECL.
So now I don't feel like pie crust is the enemy anymore. In fact, its not even that I won the battle of ECL vs Pie, its more that we have come to a tenuous understanding, and hopefully with a little cultivation and patience me and Pie will have a long and co-creative relationship.
Which is good news for all of you.