Today I am going to share with you how to make a flaky pie crust, even if you don't have or don't want to invest $200+ dollars to get a food processor.
I have never owned a full sized food processor. I chop ingredients quickly and uniformly using a kitchen knife, and I know how to make a delicious, flaky pie crust (100% success rate) without using one.
In my opinion, food processors are expensive, heavy, hard to clean and take up too much room in a kitchen. Without a food processor, we are left with two choices when it comes to pie crust dough: 1) Buy the ready made crusts from the store, which is filled with shortening and artificial flavorings. The texture is also poor. Or 2) Resort to using traditional methods like using a pastry cutter (or the two-knives crisscross method) to cut the butter into the flour. It is labor intensive, and you have to have a lot of experience in order to work quickly or the results are simply too variable and unreliable for a home cook.
|Cuisinart Elite Collection Food Processor- List Price is $299.|
|The Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Processor- List Price $39.99|
And here is the secret- you can make a flaky and delicious a pie crust with the MUCH cheaper, Mini-Prep Processor. Here is how you tweak ANY pie crust or short crust pastry recipe when using the mini-prep processor:
Most pie crust recipes are written for two x 9 inch pie crusts, one crust lines the pie plate, the other one tops and seals the pie. You process all the ingredients together in a large bowl of a normal food processor, and at the end of the recipe, the final step involves dividing the dough in half and shaping into two balls and flattening into two disks. The two disks gets chilled before they get rolled out. All you have to do to tweak any pie crust recipe is to divide the ingredients prior to processing and process it in two batches in a Mini prep processor.
Let me give you an example of the pie crust recipe I use most often and how I have modified it. The original recipe is in written in black text and the modifications for processing with the mini prep processor are written in red. Obsolete steps are struck out.
Pie Crust (Can be store bought or use the recipe below)
2 ½ cups all purpose flour (1 and 1/4 cup)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces (1 stick or 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon salt)
¼ cup ice water, plus more if needed. (1/2 of 1/4 cup or about 2 tablespoons of water)
(Put only the amount highlighted in red)
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. There will be some larger pieces remaining, and that is ok. Pulse for about 10 seconds.
The dough should be a perfect balance of not being too wet or crumbly. You can adjust a wet dough by adding a little flour, and a crumbly dough by adding just a little water.