Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pie crust making tip

(close-up, small-depth-of-field photo not available)

I love any food that comes in a pie crust -- pie of course, but also quiche and pasties. I'm always disappointed in the quality/price ratio of store-bought crusts, but I've also never been good at making them myself. They take a lot of planning, I never get the consistency right, and I can never get them rolled and transferred to the pan without making a big mess (and, usually, ruining the crust). But the other day I discovered a great trick that makes pie crusts much simpler and forgiving: plastic wrap.

You always read about rolling out the dough between waxed paper or parchment paper, but I've found that even these have a tendency to stick to the dough and ruin it when you try to take them off. But plastic wrap is flimsy and hydrophobic, a combination which allows it to peel off with ease. So it makes the rolling/trasfering part easy -- just roll the dough out on a sheet of wrap (or between two sheets), and then use a peel or some other large/flat thing to flip it into the pan (you can place the pan upside down on the dough/peel and then flip the whole thing). Form it to the right shape, and off comes the wrap!

However, there is another benefit -- since the rolling/transferring process will now be so easy, you have a little bit of leeway when it comes to the water content of your dough. If you get your dough a little too wet, then the layers of wrap keep it from sticking to the pan or the work surface. And if you get your dough a little too dry, then the wrap provides some structural support during the transfer, which reduces the chances of it crumbling!

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