I Baked a Basic Pie Crust (oh yeah! and pop tarts!)

My library has subscribed to an online continuing education program called Universal Class, through which anyone with a library card can sign up for classes for free.  Pretty awesome right?  Well, I volunteered to be a guinea pig and signed up for Pie Making 101.  This post is what I turned in to my teacher.  Today’s assignment was to make a pie crust.  I took it a step further, and OMG was that crust flaky!

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My mom always thought of making a pie crust as a meditative task.  After making one today, I can see why she would describe it that way.  There’s something about the rhythm of mixing the flour, shortening and salt that inspires an inner quiet.  Rolling out the dough is kind of similar as well.

I have to admit that I don’t have a pastry blender.  I also don’t have a stand mixer or special attachments for my hand mixer.  I remembered my mom using a fork with really long tines to mix her ingredients, so that’s what I ended up doing.

Little bits of dough

I mixed the flour, shortening and salt until it looked right: lots of little bits, no huge clumps of anything.  Then I added the water one tablespoon at a time, mixing slowly until the dough started to clump together.

Dough!

I formed the dough into a ball with my hands, then split it into two separate pieces and placed it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  I used that time to run to the store and pick up a rolling pin.

Unbaked Pie Crust

I used the wax paper method to roll out my dough.  The wax paper slid around too much on my table, so I dampened a towel to put down under it.  It worked pretty well.  I was able to transfer the crust to the pie tin with no problems.

I didn’t realize until after I blind baked it that I should have rolled the dough out just a little bit more.  I also over baked the crust just a smidge.  I’ll do it better next time.

Margarita Pie!

I didn’t want the dough to go to waste, so I chose to make a Margarita Pie  (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Margarita-Pie-II/Detail.aspx) with one half of the dough, and homemade pop tarts (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Home-Made-Top-Tarts/Detail.aspx) with the other half (photos below).  I just tried the pop tarts and those were pretty tasty.  The crust was so flaky my husband had to eat his pop tart over the sink!  I’ll call that a win.

I Cooked: Basil Bread

One of the things I received from my sister when she moved in to take care of mom was her bread machine.  She never really used it, and I thought it would be fun to play with so I happily took it home.  I’ve used it a few times to make white bread, onion bread, egg bread and whole wheat bread.  I thought I’d try something different, so I searched the internet for a recipe that would work.  It was a bit of a challenge because I didn’t have any eggs in the house – do you know how many bread recipes require eggs?  I finally found a recipe for Rosemary Bread.  Small problem though…  I was out of dried rosemary.  What’s a gal to do?  Substitute with a different herb of course!  I used basil and it turned out surprisingly good.

I was a little concerned when I tried it because the directions say to proof your yeast before adding any of the other ingredients.  My bread machine directions say to add the yeast last and let the machine do the work.  I followed the recipe’s directions and I’m glad I did.  The bread turned out fluffy, soft, and delicious!

The original recipe from All Recipes is below:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F (43 degrees C))
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary (I used Basil)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Pour the water into the pan of a bread machine, then sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture sit in the bread machine until a creamy foam forms on top of the water, about 10 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the salt, then add olive oil, thyme, garlic powder, rosemary, and flour.
  3. Use the basic bread setting with light colored crust, and start the machine.

I’ll definitely try making this one again with rosemary.  I think it would be awesome cut into smaller slices, toasted with bruscetta on top, or even a regular slice dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum!

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