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Name:Pie Crust Notes Contributor:Diana Lee Tracy
Description:Not a recipe so much as it is a guideline. Posted:1999-10-27
Key words:pie shell, how to Category:Other
ID:383 Updated:2005-11-29 14:20:21
Preparation:Piecrust: the reason that everything needs to be chilled, especially with lard and even more so with butter, is that the tiny bits of shortening need to stay intact, and not melt into the flour. Crisco is less fragile, because being hydrogenated, it is more stable and has a higher melting point. And it makes a less wonderful crust than the other two because it is vegetable based (different melting characteristics, and it never gets as hard), and because the lard and butter hold together molecularrly better before they melt, so they stay more separate from the flour. Butter has its own problems, which is why most standard pie crust recipes don't call for it (you see lots of tart recipes, which have a slightly different crust texture using it); it contains about 15% water. If the butter stays frozen, it's difficult to cut in. If the butter becomes soft, the moisture becomes available and goos up the whole thing, turning the dough into a very dense batter-like thing, no longer a crust. Lard makes the best crust, but must be worked while cool, or it melts, and the crust looses its character, although it still has a good flavor, but no flake.

So, when making piecrust:
1) keep animal fats cool
2) work fast
3) always use very cold water
4) cut in fat evenly and well
5) do not overwork (you'll make the flour one with the fat)
6) fluff or sift the flour
7) go easy on the water, add the last coupla Tbsps a few drops at a time, to the areas that look like they need it
6) roll finished dough from the center and then let rest a coupla minutes; it won't shrink in the pan as much
7) never stretch the dough to fit the pan; roll it a bit thinner

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