Urban Farming

Pie Crust Failure

Note the fragile crumbliness of the crusts. Yes, you're reading correctly. Pie on left also contains pear. Didn't have quite enough Grannies for two pies.

Note the fragile crumbliness of the crusts. Yes, you’re reading correctly. Pie on left also contains pear.  The Urban Farmer didn’t have quite enough Grannies for two pies.

The Urban Farmer’s pie dough disaster started about 7:30 a.m. Her sister had left 10 almost softball size Granny Smiths on the doorstep. They were calling to be pared, cored, and sliced into succulent apple pie.

Outdoor temps were in the low 50s. The forecast was for sun and highs in the 70s.

She rolled out the bottom crust of pie 1. Incorrigible. It tore and stuck to her wax paper, despite liberal sprinklings of flour. The coup de grace (raw?) was when she attempted transfer to pie pan. Her crust didn’t even try. It crumpled and sagged and broke into continents.

She dumped it and the remaining dough ball into the trash. Then she started on dough batch 2, which wasn’t much better than batch 1. Don’t let the photos (above) fool you. Dough batch 2 yielded 4 barely serviceable top and bottom crusts.

Here’s what went into the Urban Farmer’s pie dough batches 1 and 2.

First batch (failed batch) used:
4 c white unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t salt
1 T sugar
1 and ½ c plus 1 T Crisco
4 T water that had been chilling in freezer.

Second (marginally better) batch: Exact same except used 3 T chilled water.

So why the failure?

Too much water? Vagaries of using Crisco?

In both batches she noticed a greasy quality to the dough. Like it was “sweating fat.”

Both batches required the addition of obnoxious amounts of flour to minimize adhesion to the waxed paper.

Both doughs were excessively soft. Not ready and raring to go, robust elastic resilient soft; We’re talking stressed out, temper tantrum, tear and crumple right here right now before rolling-pin can roll it into a 14 inch diameter circle kind of soft. She tried coaxing it into a pie pan. It did not go willingly.

Her dough lacked elasticity. It flattened without the minutest push back on the rolling pin. It did not practice good breathing, nor did it exhibit good posture. Rather than stretching and embracing the pie pan’s edges and curves, it flopped and collapsed.

Use ice water, the smug know-it-all pie makers said. Stick the dough ball in the fridge for twenty minutes and let it rest, they said. Mix and cut in the Crisco till you have pea size, they said.

The Urban Farmer did all those things and more. Including today when her dough zipped past Crisco peas and went straight to homogeneous glue. Almost like it was daring her to add any ice water. Like it had all the water it needed already.

No, dough, no. You’re supposed to wait till the Urban Farmer adds the water. Then you can come together in the mighty dough ball. Then and only then. She calls the shots. Not you.

And don’t tell her Crisco hasn’t changed their formulation. She knows what “zero-trans fats” means. It means no luck pie.
Her bad dough experience has driven her to the dark side, to artery-clogging, meat man pie.

Next time, she’s using lard.


One thought on “Pie Crust Failure

  1. Pingback: Pie Crust Failure | Neighbors North

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