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In the sunset kitchen crust university.

Are you piecrust challenged? Here's everything you need to master it, including a game-changing recipe and the best tools for the job.

FLAKY ALL-BUTTER PASTRY

MAKES 1 DOUBLE OR 2 SINGLE 9-IN. PASTRIES 1 HOUR, PLUS 2 HOURS TO CHILL

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
5 tbsp. ice water


COMBINE. In a food processor, whirl flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until pieces are almond-and pea-size. Sprinkle ice water over mixture and pulse 3 or 4 times just to distribute.

SMEAR! Dump mixture into a mound on a work surface. Working quickly so butter stays cold, firmly press dough with heel of hand, pushing dough outward from center. Scrape dough from work surface using a bench scraper, and toss to redistribute wet and dry patches. Repeat, pressing on dry patches and tossing to create a soft dough with no dry spots. Don't overwork; you should see pieces and streaks of butter.

CHILL. Divide into 2 portions and gently press each into a 3/4-in-thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

ROLL. Lightly flour 1 disk, work surface, and rolling pin. If dough is too firm, let stand about 5 minutes. Roll dough into a 12- to 13-in. round that's on even 1/8 in. thick. As you work, lift round, using a bench scraper, and reflour board and pin as needed to keep it from sticking.

TRIM. Fold round in half and open up into a 9-in, pie pan, easing it into place without stretching. Trim overhang to 1 in.

Double crust? If you're making it, proceed as directed in pie recipe. For a single-crust pie, continue with steps here.

FLUTE. Roll overhang under itself so it's flush with and sitting on top of rim. Pinch dough along lip to form an even ridge. Press ridge between the V of your thumb and first finger on one hand (from outside of pan) and the First finger on your other hand (from inside of pan).

BAKE BLIND. This optional step--see your pie recipe--sets the crust's shape and prevents a soggy bottom. Wrap dough with plastic and freeze until firm, 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 4000 with rack in lower third. Line dough with foil, letting ends come straight up but not over rim. Fill with pie weights and bake until crust is golden at edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and weights. If needed, bake until center is dry, 5 more minutes. Let cool.

PIECRUST TOOL KIT

From rolling to blind baking, here's what you need to make perfect piecrusts.

BENCH (AKA PASTRY) SCRAPER

or long metal spatula (regular or offset). Handy for lifting pastry as you roll and smear it. $8.95; surlatable.com.

PIECRUST BAG

A circular zippered bag is handy for beginners: Dust dough with flour, seal inside, then roll out for a perfect, even shape. $14/set of 2 (11 and 74 in.); amazon.com.

ROLLING PIN

We prefer wood because its surface grabs the dough just a bit. The cylinder style mounted on ball bearings gives beginners the most control.

FLUTED PASTRY WHEEL

Gives lattice strips a pretty edge. Similar to shown $4.75; bakedeco.com.

PIE PAN

Get one with a lip to hold a fluted crust so it won't slump as it bakes. Regular pan, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in. deep; deep-dish, about 2 in. Glass, metal, and ceramic all work well.

PIE WEIGHTS

To hold pastry down for blind baking, use ceramic weights or dried beans. $9.95; surlatable.com.

Master the lattice

It's as easy as...

Evenly space half the pastry strips over pie in one direction. (An odd number is best.)

Starting at center, fold back every other pastry strip and lay a strip across the rest.

Unfold first set of strips so they're Flat.

Fold back second set of alternating pastry strips and lay another strip across pie.

Unfold strips flat.

Repeat on other side. When finished, trim ends even with bottom crust and tuck edges under.

Ta-da! You can leave the rim plain or flute it as shown on page 102.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

MAKE AHEAD: FOR DAUGH OR BLIND-BAKED CRUST, UP TO I MONTH, FROZEN AIRTIGHT

RELATED ARTICLE: VARIATION: CUTOUT PASTRY

MAKES 1 DOUBLE 9.1N. PASTRY / 1 HOUR, PLUS 2 HOURS TO CHILL

To make the pastry for Caramel Apple Pie (page 87), follow directions for Flaky All-Butter Pastry (above) through step 5, except use 3 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. ice water. See page 87 for how to cut it out.
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Title Annotation:TIPS FROM OUR TEAM
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 2014
Words:806
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