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Making a Pie Crust

Article by: Allrecipes  |  Photo by: Allrecipes
Making a Pie Crust
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Don't let pastry intimidate you: homemade pie crusts are far better than the store-bought variety. Here we will show you the step-by-step techniques and give you tips on how to achieve the best pie crust.
A step-by-step instructions for making a pie crust:
We used the The Best Pie Crust recipe.

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There are four ingredients in a standard piecrust: flour, fat, liquid, and salt. Flour is necessary to form the structure and bulk of the crust, fat to add flavor and to create a flaky texture, liquid to bind the dough and keep it pliable, and salt to enhance the flavor and brown the crust.
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When making this type of pie crust, chill the fat (butter, margarine, shortening, or lard) and liquids (milk or water) before you begin. Chilling will prevent the fat pieces from getting creamed into the flour. •Stir the flour, salt, and sugar (if using) together in a large bowl. •Cut the chilled butter or shortening into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. •The resulting mixture should have fat lumps no larger than peas.
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Pour in the chilled water one tablespoon at a time, mixing gently with a fork after each addition. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Handle the dough as little as possible: you don't want to cream the lumps of fat into the flour, as a crust without discrete lumps of fat will be dense, not flaky.
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Split the dough into two equal amounts. Pat them into balls, flattening them slightly, and wrap them in plastic wrap. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Chilling lets the flour absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in discrete pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it is baked.
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Generously dust a clean, dry surface with flour; remove and unwrap one of the discs of dough from the refrigerator. •Flatten the dough slightly with your hands and dust the dough lightly with flour before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. •Start rolling at the center of the dough and work outwards. If you're a beginning pie-maker--or prefer easier clean-up--you can roll out the dough between sheets of waxed paper.
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Working quickly, roll the dough into a circle ¼-inch thick or smaller. The size of the dough round should be about four inches wider in diameter than your pie pan. Use a dry pastry brush to sweep away any excess flour.
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Gently fold the dough in half, and then into quarters. Carefully pick it up and place it into the pie plate so the center point of dough is in the center of the pan. Alternately, you can try another bakers' trick: roll up the pie crust around the rolling pin and unroll it over the pie plate.
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Carefully unfold the dough: it should be centered in the pan. Without stretching the dough, press the pastry firmly into the pan and trim any excess dough from the edge. Leave a ¾-inch overhang to make a decorative fluted edge or trim it to a half-inch if you're adding a top crust. If the dough cracks a little during this process, press it back together with your fingers or patch the cracks with a bit of dough from the outer edges.
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Once the pie is loaded with filling, unwrap the second ball of dough. Lattice tops, decorative top crusts made with cut-out shapes, braided edges, and other artistic touches all make a pie stand out. •To make a standard top crust, roll the dough and lay it carefully over the pie. •Tuck the edges of the top crust under the lower crust and press together lightly. •Using the rim of the pie plate as a guide, create a fluted edge with your fingers or the back of a spoon. •Cut vents with a sharp paring knife, or use a fork to prick a decorative pattern on the top crust. •Brush the surface with egg wash or milk, if desired, and bake as directed.
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Want to get fancy? Use mini cookie cutters to make cut-outs from extra dough; brush the cutouts with water to help them stick.
Article provided by:
Allrecipes

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