Weather: 19 degrees, fiery sunrise over snowy landscape
What I’m listening to: Let Her Go, Passenger
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s the time of year when we in the U.S. make the most pies – pumpkin, apple, and pecan being the seasonal favorites (feel free to chime in with your favorites; I have a soft spot for berry pies with vanilla ice cream, banana cream pies, and any pie involving peanut butter. I also confess to having a soft spot for all sorts of pies in general). However, a lot of home cooks cringe, shudder, and run away crying at the thought of making pie dough from scratch and opt, rather, to buy a store-bought pie crust either from the freezer section or the pre-packaged dough section near the biscuits and cookie dough. I get it. I really, really do. I have had plenty of pie crust failures in my day. But, thankfully, today is about pie crust success.
Two of my tricks are: 1) Greek yogurt and 2) Using my stand-mixer. If you are a regular reader of my blog, I’m guessing that neither of these tricks are all that surprising to you, coming from me – a person perhaps obsessively committed to the use of Greek yogurt and stand-mixers for just about everything under the sun. True to form, right here, true to form.
Let’s discuss the mixer first. It’s faster and easier than doing it by hand. Can you make this recipe by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer or if you’re a pie dough purist and are opposed to making it in a mixer? Absolutely. I have done this by hand myself (and sometimes I find the process of cutting the butter into the flour therapeutic and grounding), so by all means, if you’d prefer that, then do it. But, if you’re making quite a few pies this holiday season and are hoping to make your life easier, but still produce delicious pies from scratch, bust out the mixer.
As for the Greek yogurt, it brings moisture (you’ll note that the recipe doesn’t call for any ice water like traditional recipes), acidity (think replacing the vinegar from some other recipes), and an elasticity to the dough that makes it nice and easy to work with. Plus, it’s quite a bit better for you than using a combination of butter and shortening, or just shortening alone, to achieve a flaky crust.
I baked up the remnants of the pie crust with cinnamon sugar so you would be able to see the results. Nice, flaky layers and pockets of air, a little brown and crisp on the edges and tender otherwise. Try it yourself and let me know what you think!