Butter-Cream Dinner Rolls

    Butter-Cream Dinner Rolls

Early September, just after Labor Day – I’m already relishing the wonderful thoughts of my favorite time of year: Fall.  There’s HBCU college football; spawning of the largemouth bass and crappies in the lakes; the fish markets will soon have more black sea bass and spots on ice – and I will be a thoroughly happy camper!

For my fried fish, I want a wedge of cornbread, some fluffy rice with some Carolina Gumbo (see note below on that everybody-eats-it-in SC Carolina Gumbo!) on top of it. When I’m having that early-morning fall breakfast before getting out on the lake, I want some hot biscuits, butter and pure cane syrup with my scrambled eggs and sausage patties or country ham.  Of course, some sausage gravy for those biscuits will do just fine for my breakfast meat course also!  For dinner, I truly miss my Aunt Emma T’s hot yeast dinner rolls – something I didn’t learn to make!  Aaaaaaah, but fellow foodies, I’m some kinda dangerous guy now, ‘cause I’ve learned to make hot yeast dinner rolls!  And, that is what this blog entry is all about – light, fluffy, flavorful hot yeast rolls that are rich, and will make ya’ slap ya’self for eating so many!

 

I did my rolls in my cast-iron skillet.

You can use any rectangular baking dish if you prefer.

Here’s the story –

I’ve always loved French baguettes and use to stay in the HEB Central Market on Lovers Lane during my years in Dallas. They make them fresh every day.  And, of course, while in there, I’d get my yeast rolls and freshly-made loaves of Black Russian bread for sandwiches as well.  All these years, I’ve been wishing that I could make my own bread!  Well low and behold, about four weeks ago I saw a simple recipe for a crusty loaf of bread that was hailed as absolutely foolproof.  I made it, and sure enough it was indeed foolproof!  This gave me a confidence like I’ve never had before!  After just one try at breadmaking, I then got the “big head”!!!  Suddenly, I going to experiment and make my own bread recipe!  What was I thinking?  Flavor like the sweet Hawaiian breads; wonderful texture like the Parker House rolls; beautiful color and height like my Aunt Emma T’s hot yeast dinner rolls!  Wah-lah, I would think of how I make a pound cake:  Butter, milk, and sugar!

So, what I ended up with was a ratio calculation based upon that foolproof loaf I had made a couple weeks earlier. To that, I added some flavor and richness, but kept the roll light by increasing the amount of active yeast for rising; reducing the amount of flour to liquid ratio to keep them fluffy while still having the substance of bread!  What I ended up with was what I now call “Mack’s Butter-Cream Dinner Rolls”! Oh my goodness, these are good!  And, I assure you – they are also foolproof!  There’s no whole lots of fuss with the kneading and all that time-consuming rising, punching down, rising again, and such other nonsense that only leads to frustration of your waiting to delve into the wonderful end product!

I’m a member of several social-media cooking “groups” and showed photographs of these rolls already. I’m including all the photographs of the process to help you understand what I’m trying to say in the instructions I give for making these wonderful rolls!  But, first the recipe –

5 1/2 cups of bread flour (that I divided into 2 cups, and 3 cups and ½ cup)

4 TABLEspoons of active dry yeast (I do not use the quick yeast)

2 cups warm water

1/3 cup unsalted butter (melted)

2 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

Okay, let’s go to the kitchen and pull these items from the pantry and fridge. Let’s get out tools off the shelf, out of the drawers and cabinets, and make these wonderful rolls I’ve created – your family is going to sing your praises at dinner tonight!  They’ll think it took you forever to make them!  I won’t mention a word to them about the ease of making them, and neither should you – accept the praise; you deserve it!!!

Okay, let’s get a large bowl and butter it like you would a cake pan before pouring in the batter. Let’s also get another large bowl for the initial mix of ingredients.

You will need a small sauce pan; a cast-iron skillet; and a loaf pan. (This recipe will make 12 nice-size dinner rolls; and a loaf of bread for use for sandwiches later!)  If you only want to make the rolls, or only the loaf of bread, then make only half of this recipe.  If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet; if exact same-size rolls are important to you, then you will need a medium-size ice cream scoop and a 9 x 12 rectangular baking dish as well.

We are in the kitchen, and here’s how we’re going to make these rolls –

  1. In a large bowl, add the 4 tablespoons of active dry yeast, the ½ teaspoon of salt and the ½ cup of granulated sugar. Use a hand whisk and stir to mix it together. Then add the 2 cups of warm water to it. Wait for about two minutes – then add and stir in the 2 cups of bread flour. Cover with a very hot damp dish towel; sit on the counter; and leave it alone for 10 minutes.
  2. Now add the melted butter, the 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and the 3 cups of flour. Using a large wooden spoon or a large rubber spatula, fold in and mix. Now, pour this mixture of very soft dough into the large buttered bowl. Cover with a very hot damp dish towel; leave on counter for 30 minutes to rise.
  3. Oh wow, it’s dinner-roll time now. Turn your oven on and allow it to heat up to 500-degrees.
  4. Lightly sprinkle some of the remaining ½ cup of flour on your counter. Pour the dough onto the flour and knead for a minute or so, just to dry the dough a tiny bit. If dough is still too wet, sprinkle a little more flour. When you are done, this dough should be very very light, but dry! There is no more kneading to be done after this – hoorah!
  5. Using a medium-size ice cream scoop, scoop up the dough and rolls into a ball. Place in your cast-iron skillet or baking dish, whichever you’re using.  Note: If you are using your cast-iron skillet, you may not need to butter it since it’s probably already seasoned.  If you are using a rectangular baking dish, you need to butter it like you would a cake pan before pouring in the batter!
  6. If you’ve made the full recipe, you will now have about half your dough still on the floured counter. Using your fingers, “squish” it together and make a “sausage-type” roll of it and place it into your buttered loaf pan!
  7. Sit both of these on top your range and open your oven door slightly. Let the rolls and the bread loaf rise for about 15 minutes or so. You will know that its ready to go into the oven because the rolls will begin to slight touch each other!                                                                         Rolls slightly touch
  8. Turn the oven down to 375-degrees, close the door and when the oven gets back to temperature, put in your rolls and loaf of bread. Bake for 20-30 minutes, dependent upon your altitude and/or oven. Tops of rolls should be golden brown as in the photograph shown below!

Notice the beautiful brown tops on these rolls once they are baked.

 

Notice the beautiful texture of these rolls when opened.

 

Folks, I simply cannot describe the deliciousness that you’ve just baked! And, don’t you dare tell your family how easy it was! Sit yourself down and enjoy your dinner AND you praises!!!!

Cobbler is Juicy

Cobbler is Juicy

The women in my family have been making cobblers since before I can remember!  But, what I always remember is the wonderful juiciness of every one of them!  That little memory brings me to the discussion of what is cobbler; what is pie; and what is an upside-down cake? Probably dependent upon what part of the country you’re in, the term cobbler means different things to different folks!

Let’s travel a few miles south of my home state of South Carolina and go to Tuskegee, Alabama so I can reminisce just a bit. I moved there in 1992 to teach in the business school at that crown-jewel of higher education, Tuskegee University. My love of the food there was enhanced with my experience of enjoying an apple “cobbler” at their wonderful Kellogg Conference Center! It was quite a different cobbler from any that I had ever experienced.  Initially, I thought it was cake with a fruit bottom – a sort of upside-down cake, but with more liquidity to the fruit bottom!  It’s really not – the fruit filling for the cobbler is very much like the fruit filling for the cobblers we make in South Carolina.  However, the topping is cake-like, versus a crust top that I was use to eating in South Carolina.  For sure, it was delicious – different—but, absolutely delicious! Common to both:  Juicey!

When we talk about pie (we’re talking double-crust fruit pies), on the other hand, there’s no difference by region –it’s a bottom crust and a top crust, both of which are perfectly flaky, and the filling is juicy to varying degrees!

Upside-down cake is a fruit filling on the bottom with a cake top. It is not so much juicy, as it is a part of the cake itself!  Generally, when I make these, I serve these on their own with perhaps a brandied and sweetened whipped heavy cream on the side for guests to dollop a scoop upon their serving should they so desire.

This little chat is all about the fruit cobbler, given these wonderful berries and other fruits that I’ve been seeing at the fruit stands, and farmers’ markets. I’ve made three cobblers in the last six days!  I’ve included several photographs to go along with our chat, because I want you to note two things  — the absolute importance of a flaky crust; and the clear necessity of a juicy filling!  Let’s step into the kitchen.

For all three cobblers that we will chat about today, I did them as individual cobblers in custard dishes. You can use little ramekins, miniature pie plates, or custard dishes when you are doing individual cobblers.  This is easy for me being an empty nester; and it gives me a little bit of control of my gobbling up too much of a good thing in one sitting!  Of course, if you are making your cobbler for the dessert course of a family dinner, then by all means use your 9×9 square baking dish; or  your larger 9×12 rectangular baking dish.  My mother use to use a larger lasagna pan to make her cobblers because our family consisting of daddy, mommy,  one sister, and two brothers, plus me of course, was an army of six hungry mouths awaiting large dessert portions after dinner.  We won’t talk about my two younger brothers always saying “I want some more cobbler”!!!

I am showing three cobblers: (1) Apple, with a filling that is that of a luscious apple pie; (2) Cherry-Berry, with a very sweet filling of dark sweet cherries and luscious blackberries; and (3) Blueberry, with a very juicy filling touched with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest.  They have different degrees of juiciness as dictated by the fruits themselves.

First up are a couple of beautiful apples that were on sale. I pick up a Red Rome and a Granny Smith.  Both of these apples are just too wonderful for baking.

First, refer to the earlier blog on “Perfect Flaky Pie Crust”. As you know, my standard recipe for crust is what I use.  Take a look at the first photograph – this is the Apple Cobbler before breaking the crust.  Look at the tenderness and flakiness of the crust!  This is what you want to complement your wonderful filling.

Photo No. 1 – Apple Cobbler Crust

The cobbler is just enough for one person; goes well with that after-dinner cup of coffee; and prevents eating too much!

Photo No. 2 – Apple Cobbler Flakiness of Crust

Note the degree of flakiness in photo number two. I broke up the crust and photographed it to show you just how perfect the “Perfectly Flaky Crust” recipe is for your pies and cobblers.

Photo No. 3 – Apple Cobbler Filling

The filling of the apple cobbler should be nice and juicy as dictated by the amount of apple juice released during the baking process. It is not a runny type of juicy.  It’s a enveloping glaze of a liquid that complements the baked apples with a delicious accent of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and a hint of lemon.  It is not unusual for me to add a tablespoon of rum in my seasoning if I am including raisins in my apple-cobbler filling!

Take a look at this apple cobbler – all you need is a simple scoop of vanilla or rum raisin ice cream! Of course, I dared not to succumb to the additional indulgence!

Once you peel and cut your two apples, you need only add 3 tablespoons of sugar, about a teaspoon each of the spices, along with a tablespoon of cornstarch. You will be able to divide this among three ramekins (or in this case, custard dishes), add a top crust and bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  This is just a real quick, uncomplicated dessert that gives “miles of smiles”!

It’s summer time in South Carolina; and I’m driving on a secondary road on my way to Kingville. This is a lovely Saturday morning and I want to visit the cemetery of my great grandparents.  On the trip down are these wonderful fruit stands along the way.  I stop and get out of the car anticipating a particular fruit, but quickly notice these luscious blackberries, and some beautiful dark sweet cherries. I cannot make a decision as which “one” to get, so I get some of each! I quickly realize that I left my cherry pitter in Texas, so I’ll have to hand-pit each cherry if I’m going to use them in a cobbler!  The blackberries, no problem – just rinse and dry!

I used about 2 cups of cherries and a pint of blackberries. This combination yielded me 4 individual cobblers. The blackberries give off a bit more juice, and cherries not quite as much, but retains its juice within the flesh of the cherry itself; so I use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch as part of my seasoning for the filling.  I simply put the berries and pitted cherries in a medium-size steel bowl; add a quarter cup of granulated sugar, a teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and half teaspoon of cloves, then the cornstarch. I stir and divide it among the four custard cups; top each with a portion of crust and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Do keep in mind that if you are making a large family-size cobbler, your bake time will increase to 35-45 minutes, dependent upon size of cobbler.

Photo No. 4 – Cherry-Berry Cobbler Crust

 Photo No. 5 – Cherry-Berry Cobbler – Filling 

Photo No. 6 – Cherry-Berry Cobbler – Filling

 

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits. I am particularly fond of blueberry pie; and a blueberries and cream layer cake that I make. During my early years of summertime in NYC, my absolute favorite desert was the blueberry cream pie that one could get at the Chock-Full-o-Nuts lunch counters.  As they are long gone, it’s a memory that I bring to fruition at home during summer months.  My version of that delicious cream pie is included in volume one of “Ham Bones: Memoirs of a Southern Cook.”

As you can see below, blueberries also make a fabulous cobbler. They are the juiciest when baked and create the most delicious filling .  Note the difference in the liquidity of the juice that the blueberry cobbler has in the photographs provided below.  A little addition that I did with the blueberry cobbler was brush the crust with a little bit of melted butter and sprinkle some sugar atop it! Ohhhh, don’t get me started on describing how wonderful that was – sugary and flaky!

Photo No. 7 – Blueberry Cobbler – Crust 

Photo No. 8 – Blueberry Cobbler – Sugary Flaky Crust

 

Photo No. 9 – Blueberry Cobbler – Juicy Filling

 

Photo No. 10 – Blueberry Cobbler – Juicy Filling

Hope you enjoyed taking a look/see at these wonderful cobblers. I assure you that each was delicious! Its summertime – go get some beautiful summer fruit; make a cobbler!!!

 

 

The Best Roast Beef | Ham Bones Cooking Techniques

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The Best Roast Beef

You would be hard-pressed to find someone who loves roast beef more than me—though, I find myself eating a whole lot of chicken, and fish, and beef, and beef and beef!!!!!

Let’s have one of our little chats – grab a cup of coffee and let’s klatch if you will — just some thoughts back and forth on how to come up with the best roast beef in the kitchen!

Emma T and Isaiah always felt that if you’re doing a roasted piece of beef because company is coming over; or it’s the holidays and the family is gathering, then nothing but the best cut – a rib roast was the order of the day!  This calls for a lot of pennies at your local butcher!!! But the joy, of course, is the elation in the eating!

Bunch and Papa Joe felt that since they cook low and slow, the best roast been was a pot roast done with all the glorified accoutrements of potatoes, onions, carrots and celery.  And, if company was coming over, they’d splurge a little bit and add some beautiful mushrooms and a bit of the red wine in the bottle that was stoppered from last night’s dinner!

Growing up, I had the pleasure of enjoying all those versions of roast beef.  During my corporate executive days, when entertaining and presenting roast beef to my guest, if they were superiors I was trying to impress with my culinary prowess, it was Emma T and Isaiah’s presentation all the way:  Roasted Prime Rib of Beef, standing with bones up, French style with little white caps; and au jus laced with a hint of burgundy and finest of minced onion and garlic!  I’d bring it out on a silver meat tray, pat myself on the back and say ‘you go boy, you did it!!!’

When I would want to cook on a weekend, and have some leftovers for dinners during the week, I fondly remembered those wonderful days of my childhood, when on Tuesday my Mom would bring out the pot roast left over from Sunday’s dinner!  Nothing to do but take up a plate – a one-stop task — veggies and gravy included – just add bread! (Note:  Oh how I loved stopping in the deli and picking up a hard roll or a small baguette on the way home from a full day!)

Enter the period of my learning beef a bit better – cooking with the tenderness and flavor of a rib roast; with the economics of a chuck roast – welcome sirloin; welcome brisket!!!  But, careful mind you – I DO prepare them differently!

With a sirloin roast I will do one of two things – cut it up into large chunks and braise it with a lacing of an orange liqueur.  Le Bouef Cointreau is a recipe that I developed based upon my mother’s pot roast methodology.  (In volume one of the series “Ham Bones: Memoirs of a Southern Cook”, I include my mother’s pot roast as well as this wonderful liqueur-enhanced braised sirloin dish!)

Living in New York City, I had many a brisket sandwiches at the famous delicatessens with which we are all familiar.  Those brisket sandwiches were the juiciest, most tender and flavorful beef anyone could ever hope for! In fact, I don’t remember ever having brisket until I moved to New York City!  It wasn’t a very popular cut of beef that I remember while growing up in South Carolina.  I think those briskets sliced at the NYC delicatessens were slow-steamed/boiled until done!  Not having been introduced to brisket before then, I had no idea what part of the carcass from which the brisket came; and I had no idea if there was any other way to prepare it!

Ahhhh, but with travel comes a facet of sophistication – learning different ways of cooking by region!  Texans have a way of slow-smoking their brisket with a tremendous crust on it that they call a bark! Oh my, I had never considered bar-be-queuing beef before moving to Texas!  That brisket they make down there is so flavorful; so juicy; so wonderfully tender, it will make you wonder how is it that everybody does not prepare their brisket the exact same way!  Forget pastrami; forget corned beef; just give me some TX-style brisket!!! (Caveat:  No, no – wait just a minute – don’t throw out the pastrami and corned beef – that’s another chat on another day!!!)

Now, boys and girls forget New York; forget Texas – look at what I did!  Yeah, you guessed it – brisket prepared like I was a South Carolina boy with a new best friend for real – my roasted brisket of beef!!! Cowboys and cowgirls, hold onto you saddle, ‘cause this ride gonna be a Carolina Rodeo!

First, let’s think economics!  Let’s be thrifty!  Buy the WHOLE brisket!  (Oh stop ya’ crying, the $70 you spend will be a cheaper per serving cost in the end!!!) Now, when ya’ get home, cut it in half. Wrap one half and put it in the freezer; you’ll have love and joy for another day in another way!  (Maybe Texas-style next time out!!!)

Now that you’ve got that half still out on the counter, get yourself to the pantry and pull some all-purpose flour; and some spices!  Let’s not get too loose with the spices—specifically we want salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and dry mustard powder!  THAT’s IT – you don’t need nothing else – TRUST ME!!! Okay, here we go – riders UP on your saddles!!!

In a medium-size bowl, put in 1 full cup of all-purpose flour; 1 tablespoon each of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and dry mustard.  (Note:  I don’t go cheap on this – I love the imported dry mustard in the yellow can!  You know the one – its rich and will do your brisket proud!!! Splurge — buy it!!!)  Use a miniature hand-held whisk and blend that flour-spice mixture.  Now for the good part – totally dust and rub ALL of that mixture on your brisket.  Follow this technique:  Use only about one-quarter on the bottom of the brisket.  Use three-fourths of it on the top-side of the brisket where you have that wonderful adipose tissue that we call fat.  You know, that layer-of-flavor that’s gonna have our palates singing a song upon taste of the final product!  Yes, pour that three-fourths on there, pat in down good that you almost got a bit of a dry paste on top your brisket!  (Ohhhhhh, don’t you worry about how it looks – just wait until you taste it!!!)  Now, that you’ve prepared your brisket, let it be – just leave it on a rack; sit the rack in a rectangular roasting pan; pour in 2 cups of water; cover the whole thing with heavy-duty aluminum foil and leave it on the counter to rest for about 3 minutes!

Cowboys, cowgirls turn and wave your hats to the crowd! Now, turn around and light your ovens – 500 degrees please! Once your ovens reach temperature, Uncover your roast; put in the oven and let it get its game on for about 15 minutes!  Now, open your oven door, slide your roast out – cover it again with that heavy-duty foil; TURN YOUR OVEN DOWN to 225 degrees!  Slide your roast back into the oven and leave it alone; no peaking; no basting; just leave it alone for 3 hours!

Three hours later, add one more cup of water to the pan!  You should see a light gravy in the pan.  Add some finely minced onion and garlic; ½ cup of red wine if you’d like; put back in the oven for another 30 minutes!

Oh you grand chef you – your roast is ready to come out and make you a superstar!  But, before taking its bow, let it rest on the counter – it’s had a hot time in closed spaces!!!  Thirty minutes rest should be sufficient!

Turn ya’ bandana to the left; put your roast on a cutting board; get out your sharp slicing knife and make your incision!  Pour half your gravy onto the meat platter; add your slices of roasted brisket.  Pour the remainder of your gravy in a sauce boat for table presentation!

As your audience give praise and applaud you, enjoy the stardom! (Oh, I’m modest — you can thank me later!!!!!)

Joe2

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The Perfect Pie Crust (every time!)

HamBonesCookingTechniques

The Perfect Pie Crust

There is nothing better in eating than a terrific pie crust on a chicken pot pie; or an apple pie; or a wonderful custard pie.  I have friends who much prefer cake to pie because they don’t like eating a pie with a bit of a wet, soggy bottom crust.  Well, guess what – neither do I; and a bottom crust need not be wet and soggy!  I, especially love a good custard pie be it potato, coconut, lemon, etc.  The way I make sure I have a nice crust that’s flaky and dry is to pre-bake!  However, pre-baking will not correct incorrect ingredients or flaws in technique!

The pie crust was one of the most difficult lessons to learn because I had difficulty with “looking like peas”!  But, I could and still can visualize “rough” and “coarse” and “lumps”!

The pie crust recipe below is the one that I use for almost any kind of dish that I make that call for a crust.  I have three versions of it, which illustrates its flexibility!  It’s just flour, shortening, water and vinegar (i.e., flexible with sugar)!  I don’t waste a good egg on a pie crust! I don’t use good cream cheese on a pie crust! I don’t use up good milk on a pie crust!  Just flour, shortening, water and vinegar–perfection every time!

Let’s stop talking – let’s get to the kitchen and make a crust!  Now, I want y’all to use my recipe and follow my instructions!  This recipe is from my Aunt Emma T, and taught to me by Bunch (my mom)!

(You can read the wonderful story about these two amazing cooks and see this recipe in volume one of the series, “Ham Bones: Memoirs of a Southern Cook”!)

Perfectly Flaky Pie Crust

(Not just sometimes, but EVERYTIME!!!)

There are some basic tricks to a perfect pie crust –

  • the first and most fundamental – all ingredients need to be icy cold! So, here is what I do just as routine:  I keep a pint-size Mason or Ball canning jar with ½ water and ½ pure white vinegar in my refrigerator (at all times), so that I can make a pie crust on the spur of a moment! Once I cut up my shortening/butter pieces, I put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. 
  • the second being the technique of adding the liquid to the dry, and I’ve given a bit of comical details in the instructions below. 
  • the third – I’m old fashion, I do NOT use a food processor to make pie crust. I use a pastry cutter (a knife and fork can be substituted for a pastry cutter) and my fingers!!! 
  • I use one of my stainless steel bowls. Of course, I’ve had it in the freezer for 30 minutes before I begin to make a pie crust!

So, let’s do this y’all!

I make three different pie crust (i.e., plain, savory, sweet)!  And, of course, with many different additions of spices, the list could go on and on (i.e., cinnamon, etc.)!

As your base for a –

PLAIN PIE CRUST (for meat pot pies and the like and dessert pies when you don’t want a sweet crust)

4 CUPS plain flour

1 ½ cups solid vegetable shortening

water/vinegar mixture as needed

SWEET DESSERT PIE CRUST (for dessert pies when you  want a sweet crust)

4 CUPS plain flour

½ cup 10X powdered sugar

1 cup solid vegetable shortening

½ cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

water/vinegar mixture as needed

[SAVORY] PIE CRUST (for meat and/or vegetables when you  want a sweet crust)

4 CUPS plain flour

1 cup solid vegetable shortening

½ cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground thyme extract

water/vinegar mixture as needed

Preparation instructions:

  1. Take your stainless bowl out of the freezer
  1. Add the dry ingredients, and using a hand whisk, blend all dry ingredients (no blending required for a plain pie crust)
  1. Cut your shortening ingredients (solid vegetable shortening and/or butter) into cubes
  1. Using a pastry blender (or a knife and fork), cut shortening into dry ingredients.

Hint:  The trick here is do NOT cut the shortening in too fine!  You really WANT TO SEE LUMPS of shortening still remaining in the blended flour.  Lumps should be about the size of sweet peas (i.e., English peas) as my mother would say!  I like to say the flour should now look a bit coarse and rough as a result of the lumps!!!  Visualization your choice!!!

  1. Using only a TABLESPOON at the time, add your water/vinegar mixture! Now, take you hand and mash the liquid into the flour mixture!

Hint:  First time, it’s going to still be very dry.  Now, add the second tablespoon of liquid and repeat the finger-to-blend step!  NOW STOP! 

Take a look/see at your crust – it should just BARELY come together.  Should be crumbly just a tad!

IF it will not come together at all, a third tablespoon is required.

IF YOU HAVE ADDED MORE THAN A TABLESPOON at the time and your crust comes together like a biscuit dough, you are NOT going to have a nice flaky crust.

The difference between a pie crust dough and a biscuit dough –

You want your pie crust dough to be like a DRY “play putty” (that kids use), that when you roll it out, you want to be able to see the large pieces of shortening in the crust!  It should not roll out to easy–it should be just a tad bit stiff!

You want your biscuit dough, on the other hand, to come together well, be pliable a bit that it will stay together when rolled out for cutting into biscuits!

  1. Now, for the technique of rolling out your dough! If you do not have a large marble slab (which I do not!!!!!), I form my dough into two balls, wrap in wax paper and put it back in the freezer for 5 minutes or so to get cold again.
  1. To roll out my dough, I put down a sheet of wax paper on my counter, lay dough on top, and a second sheet of wax paper on top the dough. Using my rolling pin, I hit the dough a couple time to give myself an indention in the dough to get started with the rolling process.

Starting at the center of the dough, I roll to the desired size and shape such that I can lift from the bottom wax paper and flip the dough into my pie plate!  Now, I must say I use the wax paper so that I don’t have to dust my counter with flour.  It’s the one instruction from Aunt Emma T and Bunch that I don’t necessarily follow:  They dusted their counter with a bit of flour!)

But, all in all – Boys and girls, follow this technique and you’re gonna get a perfect pie crust EVERY single TIME!!!!

All best wishes; enjoy,

Joe

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