Cooking is actually one of my passions. Not because I love cooking so much, but because I grew up with fresh, farm grown food, and love nothing better than great-tasting, made from scratch food. Anything I can make, rather than buy, I find tastes so much better, and is usually much healthier. I tend to make my own pasta, tortillas, waffles, bread, etc. Making bread is truly an art form and perhaps an article for another day. Not long ago, I remember having a guest over to my house and suggested we make pancakes. My guest looked through my cupboards and asked, "where's the pancake mix?". I couldn't help but produce a little snicker. It amazes me how actual cooking tends to be lost these days with pre-packaged, pre-made, pre-cooked foods lining the shelves of the grocery stores. I have to thank my Mom for teaching how to cook when I was a kid.
With Thanksgiving only days away, I thought it was a good opportunity to share my secrets to a great pie crust.
Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 cups flour - I prefer, unbleached, white flour. King Arthur specifically.
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp water - just enough to make the dough stick and shape into balls
1/2 cup butter - use real butter, salted, cut into pats
The secret to making a good quality, flaky pie crust, is really quite simple. Make sure your butter and water is ice cold. And do NOT overmix the crust. It should be mixed, but lumpy, more like crumbs. When I make this crust, I cut the butter into pats and put both the butter and water in the freezer while I prepare the remaining ingredients, including the pumpkin filling. Make sure the oven is pre-heated and ready to go.
When everything is prepared, cut in the butter to your dry mix with a pastry cutter, and mix gently until the mixture feels like crumbs. Add the water until the dough sticks enough to roll into a ball. Roll into a pie crust and fill with your favorite pie filling.
If you want to add a little additional flavor to your crust, add a little lemon zest while you are mixing your dough.
To make the crust a nice golden brown, brush egg-whites with a little water on the edges of your crust.
Don't forget the whip cream. Forget the pre-made ready whip, or God-forbid, whip cream in a can. Go buy a quart of heavy whipping cream and fire up the dusty mixer with a whipping hook. It only takes minutes to whip the cream into delicious whip cream.
Add some powdered sugar to sweeten the whip cream. I do this by taste. I also like to add a little vanilla extract for additional flavor. If you really want to spice things up, add some Kahlua, (yes, I said Kahlua.. alcohol always makes a recipe better) to your whip cream until it has a nice soft kahlua flavor. When making whip cream, I begin adding the additional ingredients when peaks begin forming on the whip cream. Don't over whip, or you will have butter. :)
That begs another quick recipe. Make your own butter. Keep whipping that cream at high speed and add a little salt to flavor, and even better, add some honey and make a nice honey butter for your fresh, home baked rolls. Yumm. And the left-over butter milk from your home-made butter can be used to make some delicious biscuits.
236.6 cm3 (500 mL) partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride (butter or margarine)
177.45 cm3 (177 mL) crystalline sucrose (sugar)
177.45 cm3 (177 mL) unrefined sucrose (brown sugar)
4.9 cm3 (5 mL) 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde (vanilla)
2 calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated protein (eggs)
532.35 cm3 (500 mL) gluten (flour)
4.9 cm3 (5 mL) sodium chloride (salt)
4.9 cm3 (5 mL) sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
1 package of theobroma cacao (chocolate chips)
236.6 cm3 (250 mL) chopped de-encapsulated legume meats (nuts)
Cream the partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride, methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde, crystalline and unrefined sucrose in a bowl.
Add the calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated proteins and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine the gluten, sodium chloride, and sodium bicarbonate. Add to creamed mixture.
Stir in theobroma cacao and de-encapsulated legume meats.
Place the final mixture piecemeal onto a cookie sheet.
Heat in an 463 K (190¬∞C/ 375¬∞F) oven for 8-10 minutes and allow the chemical reactions to take place.
Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.