Friday, March 16, 2012

Pâte Brisée

Pâte Brisée is just a fancy way to say pie crust. It is also one of the EASIEST things to make. There are only three-ish steps, see? Cooking is really nothing to be intimidated about. As we used to say at [neighborhood grocery store of employment], it's just food, folks. Ok, really we said "It's just groceries." We had to remind our customers of that, because sometimes they confused grocery shopping with high drama, life and death situations. Anyway, it's just cooking! We're just taking foods that are friends and making them a nice happy family. In your belly.

So, piecrust. You can use this with savory dishes like quiche (QUICHE!!!) or chicken pot pie, or sweet dishes like fruit pies, but it's not a particularly sweet crust. It's kinda neutral. Like the Romulan Neutral Zone. Can you tell I haven't slept in a week? It's this stupid cough.

This recipe makes 2 crusts; one for the bottom, and one for the top. If you only need a bottom, just make half. I did this by hand and it didn't take more than 15 minutes. Martha's original recipe says you can use a food processor, but honestly, it takes me longer to setup, use, take apart, and wash the food processor than it does to just do this by hand. See also: my lonely bread machine collecting dust. I just don't like doing dishes. So, it's easier for me to just use a pastry blender and go at it by hand. 

A pastry blender

Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe
For flakier crust, make sure all ingredients are cold before use. (Martha suggests refrigerating the flour, but I couldn't be bothered. You can try it.)

You will need: 
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. Wash your hands, please!
  2. In a big pyrex bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and use a pastry blender or fork and knife until the mixture resembles coarse meal or sand. It should be lumpy.
  3. Add ice water, using your above tools or hands until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. It took a few minutes of me coaxing this mess into a ball, rolling it around the bowl to collect more flour, and squeezing it into a ball again. It's kinda like packing a snowball, after enough forming it'll become a solid mass, not just a flaky, falling apart dry floury mess. Promise I'll start posting pics soon. 
  4. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in saran wrap. Put them in the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month, but really, who's gonna do that?
  5. Take out, flatten, roll, and form according to your recipe. Enjoy!

    My last post also promised a pesto soup recipe - it just really wasn't that good. I'll work on it some more and post it when it's delish! Additionally, my tomatoes are looking very sad, so no pics for you.

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