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!
Flaky Butter & Greek Yogurt Pie Crust
A flaky all-butter pie crust using Greek yogurt. Adapted from [Salad in a Jar|http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/flaky-all-butter-pie-crust-with-yogurt].
Yields: 1 pie crust
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- 4-5 tablespoons* non-fat Greek yogurt
To the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Turn the mixer on low for a few seconds, to combine. Add the butter. Turn the mixer on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 45 seconds.
In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and the Greek yogurt until combined and smooth. Add the mixture to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed again, for about 15 seconds (being careful not to over mix at this stage), or until the mixture is moist and shaggy and forms into a ball when squeezed with hands.
Shape the mixture into a ball gingerly with your hands and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Shape the dough into a round disc, then roll the dough out into a circle with a rolling pin until it is 1 ½ inches larger than your pie plate. Carefully place the dough into the pie plate, trim the edges, and crimp the edges as desired all the way around. Freeze the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Use the pie dough as desired for your favorite pie recipes.
!To Bake without Filling:
Preheat oven to 425. Either prick the dough with a fork, or line the inside of the dough with foil and weigh it down with beans or pie weights. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown (remove the foil and weights, if using, at the 10 minute mark, then return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes).