baking: does it come easily to you?

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Yes! Here's what you do for the perfect crust:

Put some ice in a cup of water and set it aside.

Put two cups of flour in a bowl and whisk it together with 1 tsp. salt. (Note: this is for both a top and bottom crust; if you just want a bottom crust, cut it in half.)

Add 2/3 cup shortening and 2 tbsp butter. (If it pains you to use shortening, then use vegan fake butter. If it pains you to use vegan fake butter, then you can just use 1 1/2 sticks of butter and no shortening, but your texture won't be as good.)

Use your fingers to break up the shortening and butter until the whole mixture has a grainy, pebbly texture, with some pieces pea-sized and some smaller.

Scatter two tablespoons of ice water over the mixture and give it a quick stir with your hand. Scatter two more tablespoons and give it another stir. It should be almost ready to clump together into crust at this point, but you'll probably need at least one more tablespoon of ice water. Go slow. You want there to be enough moisture in the crust that you can pack it together like a snowball, but not enough to make it sticky. Gather it into two equal-sized balls of crust. They should be just on the verge of falling apart. Wrap them up in waxed paper or clingwrap.

Roll the crust out between two sheets of waxed paper. You'll have to put a fair amount of pressure on the rolling pin to make it come together.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:02 (one year ago) link

Or do like me and have a partner who has pie crust as one of their special skills

is right unfortunately (silby), Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:09 (one year ago) link

the balls “should be just on the verge of falling apart” is the part of the dough making experience that was hardest for me to learn

Dan S, Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:15 (one year ago) link

Thank you for your instructions Lily Dale!

Dan S, Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:26 (one year ago) link

You're welcome! I should add: if you change around the recipe so that it has more butter, less shortening, make sure you reduce the salt in the recipe accordingly (if you're using salted butter, that is.)

Lily Dale, Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:29 (one year ago) link

I make mine like Lily Dale, but with all butter. Jeffrey Steingarten has an excellent and highly entertaining article about pie crusts, let me try to find it.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:34 (one year ago) link

OK I don't see the article itself online, but this looks like a decent treatment of the process:

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Thursday, 31 December 2020 01:36 (one year ago) link

Keeping salted butter in the house at all is really an unnecessary risk for bakers imo

is right unfortunately (silby), Thursday, 31 December 2020 02:05 (one year ago) link

not sure I see much of a problem with using salted butter tbh. today I’ve been focused on making sourdough bread, I enhanced my yeast starter mixture with extra flour and water this morning, and this afternoon I made the dough. I’m letting it rest in the refrigerator overnight to bake tomorrow

Dan S, Thursday, 31 December 2020 02:18 (one year ago) link

mr veg stocks up on kerrygold every thanksgiving in preparation for what we’ve termed The Butter Holidays bc of all the pie baking

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 31 December 2020 02:38 (one year ago) link

Wow! I didn't expect so many responses, but seeing as I've been meaning to expand my baking skills, making my own crust sounds like my next challenge. Thanks for all the input, and to Lily for that recipe. I'll be giving it a shot hopefully within a couple weeks (I went on a mini shopping spree that included baking beans solely with my pie project in mind).

Stone Cold Steve Ostentatious (Leee), Thursday, 31 December 2020 06:50 (one year ago) link

i just recently started using this rolling bag & have found it helpful

(i suck at rolling out dough though, ymmv)

Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Harold...

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 31 December 2020 06:53 (one year ago) link

if you’re making like an apple pie then you don’t need the baking beans ime

just sayin, Thursday, 31 December 2020 08:35 (one year ago) link

Because we were having my parents over for a few days at Christmas, and so were completely self-isolating for two weeks beforehand, I had to do all my own Christmas baking instead of just doing what normal people in Ireland do and going to Lidl. I made stollen, including the marzipan. It was a lot of effort, and I think the Felicity Cloake recipe ones came out underbaked, but were still extremely tasty. Much as I hate to give him the satisfaction, Paul Hollywood's recipe was much more successful.

trishyb, Thursday, 31 December 2020 11:18 (one year ago) link

i use Paul’s mince pies sweet pastry recipe & it always turns out really good

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 31 December 2020 18:09 (one year ago) link

I love stollen but don't see myself ever making it! had a lovely cherry & amaretto one from the supermarket, normally have a standard Aldi one.

kinder, Thursday, 31 December 2020 19:22 (one year ago) link

Like a lot of things, it gets easier every time you do it. The biggest problem is that the ideal place to prove it is in the fridge overnight, and who has extra fridge space at Christmas to be going around proving things?

trishyb, Thursday, 31 December 2020 20:08 (one year ago) link

Oh man my pie turned out pretty bad lol! It was a Neapolitan or that uses gelatin, so even if turned out better, it still wouldn't be very filling. But my big mistake was when I was making the vanilla layer: I had already poured it on top of the bottom layer, and then realized I forgot to mix in the vanilla extract. I added it directly to them layer and squirrels it around a little bit because I didn't want to disturb the bottom layer, but now it has this really strong, boozy taste. At least the muffins I made the day before are great.

I also really need to let the frozen pie crust fully defrost, as I always unroll it when it's too cold and send up breaking it.

Also also done slight trepidation making my own crust, as I am always very slow in the kitchen and worry about things that need to be done quickly.

Sammy Agar-Agar (Leee), Saturday, 9 January 2021 19:07 (one year ago) link

if it's cold out you don't need to move that quickly and if it gets soft you can just put it in the fridge for a bit. making pies in the summer is another story. but yeah it's frustrating and may not be worth it, even though the crust tastes a lot better from scratch. i like to make pie crust but it's not for everyone.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Saturday, 9 January 2021 20:14 (one year ago) link

ooh they look good

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 11 January 2021 23:57 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

T/S: Physical cookbooks or digital? Price obviously tilts in favor of digital, but having followed recipes on a tablet and having to keep it on, physical recipes are a lot less fuss, and I imagine buying a cookbook would help out some of my favorite chefs/bakers.

RZA Minnelli (Leee), Saturday, 27 February 2021 20:03 (one year ago) link

Physical by 1,000. Reused online recipes chez nous get printed out, slipped into page protectors, and put into a pink binder. Sometimes I even edit and reformat them bc I’m fussy. Wouldn’t buy a digital cookbook.

Canon in Deez (silby), Saturday, 27 February 2021 20:17 (one year ago) link

I can't scribble corrections on an online recipe

I have no couch and I must stream (NotEnough), Saturday, 27 February 2021 20:22 (one year ago) link

i don't like e-cookbooks. sometimes i get them on hoopla through the library to preview or copy recipes but i don't find them useful otherwise.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Saturday, 27 February 2021 20:48 (one year ago) link

yeah physical by a mile, and printouts for tried & true online recipes

i had Dorie Greenspans baking book on kindle, (ordered kindle version by mistake & figured i’d live with it) - super annoying! a one page recipe in the hard cover is like, 4-5 pages on the kindle. Lot to be said for seeing the whole thing laid out in front of you vs flipping pages all the time

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 27 February 2021 21:47 (one year ago) link

oh last week i finally made my second recipe from that book, since i made the apple muffin cake a hundred times and nothing else. the swedish visiting cake is A+ and has to be the easiest baking recipe in existence.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Saturday, 27 February 2021 21:53 (one year ago) link

muffin cake is LEGIT great

my fave is the marbled mocha walnut bundt cake, its so pretty & easy & delicious

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 27 February 2021 21:58 (one year ago) link

havent tried the visiting cake yet, i will give it a go!

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 27 February 2021 21:59 (one year ago) link

Swedish visiting cake is great stuff, tops

Canon in Deez (silby), Saturday, 27 February 2021 22:11 (one year ago) link

i don't use digital cookbooks but i'm getting really sick of online recipes, recipe websites have all become unnavigable ad-ridden messes on mobile

, Saturday, 27 February 2021 23:52 (one year ago) link

they have, but if I like a recipe I just copy and paste it on my laptop to an unformatted text document on Pages, delete the advertisement text and save it in a recipes folder.

I really want to try Dorie Greenspan's Apple Nut Muffin Cake

Dan S, Sunday, 28 February 2021 00:04 (one year ago) link

I think if I use raisins in that recipe I will chop them up into very small pieces, I like the flavor of them but not the texture as much

Dan S, Sunday, 28 February 2021 00:09 (one year ago) link

the quantity of raisins isn't very large but you could use something smaller like currants instead. every time i make that recipe i have used cultured buttermilk instead of the cider/milk combo which i guess is a different product but this is my problem, i find something good and will just make it over and over. i think the first time i had cider that had gone bad so i was driven to experiment.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Sunday, 28 February 2021 00:16 (one year ago) link

I like the idea of cultured buttermilk for it

Dan S, Sunday, 28 February 2021 00:21 (one year ago) link

I made made my first pie crust from Lily's recipe, and it was nearly idiot-proof! VERY simple, though I didn't use the parchment paper so had to deal with it getting stuck on the rolling pin/chopping board. Also, I got a soggy bottom from the blueberry pie I used it for -- looks like I should blind bake it at 400-425 for 6-8 minutes?

RZA Minnelli (Leee), Tuesday, 9 March 2021 05:53 (one year ago) link

Yay! I never bother to blind bake because I like soggy bottoms on fruit pies, so I can't say for sure, but that sounds like it should work.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 9 March 2021 06:11 (one year ago) link

When I pre-bake that crust I do it at 425

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 9 March 2021 06:19 (one year ago) link

I also find that a soggy bottom doesn't stick to the tin as much, which is another reason I don't blind bake either. But, you know, personal preferences. It's definitely easier to serve crisp pastry in a social context because it doesn't just all fall apart.

trishyb, Tuesday, 9 March 2021 08:57 (one year ago) link

Hah, I've been indoctrinated by GBBO! I kind of like that raw, doughy taste myself, as well.

RZA Minnelli (Leee), Tuesday, 9 March 2021 18:25 (one year ago) link

might make a peach pie soon. i have vacuum sealed peaches in the freezer from last summer.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Tuesday, 9 March 2021 19:03 (one year ago) link

if you have extra peaches I can highly recommend this Texas peach cobbler

it has a bit of a kouign amagn vibe (not technique just flavor/texture) all crunchy & carmelized

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 9 March 2021 19:08 (one year ago) link


superdeep borehole (harbl), Tuesday, 9 March 2021 19:12 (one year ago) link

it’s so easy & SO good

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 9 March 2021 20:22 (one year ago) link

I tried the Dorie Greenspan Apple Nut Muffin Cake recipe. I used buttermilk and pecans, and chopped the raisins up into small pieces before adding them. I also diced three very small honey crisp apples to add to it since i didn’t have any medium or large apples. It was really good!

Dan S, Friday, 12 March 2021 02:25 (one year ago) link

by mistake I ended up adding more butter than was called for. It took longer to bake but it was so good! I want to repeat it

Dan S, Friday, 12 March 2021 02:46 (one year ago) link

i need to make it again i love it so much

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 12 March 2021 06:51 (one year ago) link

i'm making it again right now. this is becoming a problem! i was going to make the julia child brownies but may do it next weekend or the next one. i went to home goods on friday to see if they had a pyrex square baking dish. i ended up getting a robin's egg blue le creuset square, and a bundt pan, and a ceramic pie dish with wavy edges.

superdeep borehole (harbl), Sunday, 21 March 2021 23:28 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Something that's happened to me in the last couple of bakes in a loaf pan, there's been a strip of uncooked batter. And the weird thing is, especially for the last thing I made (this gingerbread cake) -- was that the raw dough was just an inch under the top. What am I doing wrong?

(Incidentally, that recipe otherwise turned out quite well!)

Tahini Coates (Leee), Wednesday, 19 May 2021 23:05 (one year ago) link

You sure your temp is right? Maybe it's possible your top heating element has burned out or something? Certainly strange!

Tracer Hand, Wednesday, 19 May 2021 23:18 (one year ago) link

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