Friday, November 16, 2012
Five tips for making a better pie crust: Tip #5 - Fats Are Your Friend
I've been baking pies from scratch for well over a decade, and my mom says I've mastered the perfect pie crust. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I'll share with you my five secrets for making the best pie crust around.
Some recipes call for vegetable shortening (Crisco) but I say that's a major no-no.
I like to use plain, unadulterated, full-fat butter. Not the salted kind, not the "light" kind (is there such a thing? Light butter is kind of like an oxymoron). Good ol' fatty fat FAT butter.
On occasion, though, I may be inspired to use a 50/50 split of butter and rendered bacon fat. The bacon fat can help keep down the moisture (and that is the secret to making a flaky, light pastry) and the smoky flavor profile can do wonderful things to pies that are both savory or sweet.
Two caveats: I won't use the bacon fat if I know vegans or vegetarians will be enjoying the fruits of my labor, and I wouldn't add it to something that contradicts the woody, caramel-y flavor of bacon.
Strawberry pie is a horrible choice to use your bacon fat, but pecan and Derby pies can transcend to a place that's in the neighborhood of nirvana with those salty, smoked notes.
Here's a look at my process for making Derby Pie (which my family politely demands every holiday season).
Next up: Chill Out.
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.