Easter is finally here, and I have been dying to try pie making for a while. The recipes in the next few posts have come from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. I read about their Brooklyn shop in the second issue of Cherrybombe Mag and immediately fell in love of the idea of pies.
This post will just cover the pie crusts. I made their “All Butter Pie Crust” using the original recipe for the Double-Crust and slightly changed Single-Crust. I have an Aunt who does not like butter; so to appeal to her preferences, I substituted butter for coconut oil. It also gave me a real side-by-side comparison for the two crusts.
Pies are extremely involved, so best be sure to read all the directions first to have a clear understanding before diving in!
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (original recipe: 1 stick cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 Tbs cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbs granulated sugar
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup ice
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter pieces and coat them with the flour mixture with a spatula. Cut into the butter with a pastry blender until pea-sized pieces remain.
Combine water, cider vinegar and ice in a measuring cup. Sprinkle 2 Tbs of the ice water mixtures over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it’s fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1-2 Tbs at a time, using the scraper or your hands to mix the dough until it comes together in a ball, with some bits remaining. Bring all the dough together, sprinkling the dry bits with more small drops of the ice water. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. For the double crust, divide the dough in half before shaping each portion into flat discs.
When the dough is fully formed, it is supposed to be somewhat dry. In the book, they showed the picture with the caption: “The dough should be marbleized with streaks of butter.” However, using the coconut oil made the dough a bit more wet. I was hesitant to continue with the crust but I wasn’t ready to give up yet. I wrapped the crust and placed it in the fridge.
The Double-Crust recipe, though I followed the directions fully, it is was slightly wet compared to the image shown and I didn’t use all of the water/cide mixture. But the crust did have the “streaks” of butter. I noticed the butter crusts were slightly darker than the coconut oil. Also, when rolling out the doughs, the one with the coconut oil was more sticky than the butter and needed more flour.
Rolling Out the Dough
After the dough has sat in the fridge for an hour, it must sit in room temperature for at least 5-10 minutes before rolling. If the dough is still too cold, cracks will form. Sprinkle flour on the work surface and rolling pin. Using a flat pin, start below the center for the disc and roll away from you, putting even pressure on the dough. Turn the dough counterclockwise and repeat the above instructions. The dough should be 2-3 inches larger than the pan and about 1/8 inch thick.
Fold the dough in half and lay it across on side of a greased pan. Unfold the disc and gently slide and fit the dough to the pan. Do not pull or stretch the dough, and make sure there are no gaps between the dough and the pan. If there are air bubbles, burst them with a fork. Trim the dough but allow 1 to 1 1/2 inches of excess. Cover the crust and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
For the one pie I made, called for a partial prebaked crust. Pull the crust back out of the fridge and with a fork, prick all over the bottoms and sides (at least 15-20 times). This helps prevent the crust from shrinking. Place crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425F and have racks on the bottom and center positions. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack. Have an egg wash ready using 1 egg and 1 TBS water to brush during baking. Place aluminum foil over the crust and use a pie weight. I didn’t have weights or beans so I used coins positions around the outer edges of the shell. Place the pan on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 20 min.
Remove the pan and baking sheet out of the oven. Remove the foil and weights, using a brush to coat a thin layer of egg wash on the crust and return the pan to the baking sheet and place it back in the oven’s middle rack to bake for three more minutes. Remove and cool completely before filling.
The coconut oil crust did shrink a bit which could have been a couple of factors. There might not have been enough weight on the crust. It also could have been the fact that it was coconut oil instead butter. Whatever the reason or reasons, it was still going to be used for the pie.