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    CI’s Vodka Pie Crust

    Source of Recipe

    Cooks Illustrated magazine

    Recipe Introduction

    I had been promised great things if I tried this recipe. Raves all over the web about it and also (more importantly) from cooks that I trust. I am afraid of pie crust and have avoided making it much in the past. I told myself that the prepared ones were fine, that once you dumped all the good tasting fillings all over it, you couldn’t tell home made from store bought. The last time that I used a packaged crust, I couldn’t fool myself any longer. It WASN’T very good. It was leaden, soggy and bland. So I girded my loins and got to it. There is really nothing scary about this recipe at all. You do the entire thing in a food processor, pat out a disc and pop it in the fridge. As long as you use plenty of flour (up to 1/4 cup, they say), it is very easy to roll out (I did use a piece of plastic wrap between the crust and my rolling pin to aid things). My one and only complaint is that the amount is slightly skimpy. If I wanted a fancy crust edge, I’d probably increase the amounts by a quarter. As it was, a plain crust was fine and I had enough – but JUST. If you use this crust for a savory pie, just omit the sugar. Note that you have to have all of the wet ingredients cold and plan accordingly. I like the look of a egg wash on a crust, so before baking, I brushed the edge with egg wash and sprinkled with raw sugar. It really looked lovely. NOTE: It is VERY important to thoroughly chill this dough before rolling out. Even chilled it will be very sticky and hard to roll out. You may even have to press it into the pan rather than rolling out. I had no luck the last time that I made this recipe (October 2015) and asked for some help at eGullet. When I added all of the liquid, it would NOT absorb it. I ended up with a really gummy ball of dough and excess liquid. What they suggested was adding all of the vodka first and then adding as much water as it seemed to need.

    List of Ingredients

    1 1/4 c. (6 1/4 oz.) flour
    1/2 t. table salt
    1 T. sugar
    6 T. cold sweet butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
    1/4 c. chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
    2 T. vodka, cold
    2 T. cold water


    Place 3/4 c. flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until well mixed – about 2 one-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process again just until a dough starts to form – about 10 seconds (it should resemble cottage cheese curds – small bits of butter but no uncoated flour). Scrape down and stir dough then add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and pulse until the flour is mixed in and the ball of dough has broken up a bit – 4 to 6 pulses. Place in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the cold vodka and water. Fold together with a spatula until the dough is a little sticky and holds together. Press into a 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.

    When ready to place dough in pie pan, remove from the refrigerator and roll out on a generously floured surface (CI suggests that you might need up to 1/4 of a cup of flour for this). Roll out to a 12-inch circle (1/8-inch thick). Roll the dough around the rolling pin and lift gently into pan. Make sure that there is at least a one-inch overhang. Gently fit the dough into the pan, lifting the edge of the dough as needed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.

    Trim the overhanging dough to 1/2-inch beyond the edge of the pie tin. Fold under flush with the edge. You can press the edge of the crust with your fingers or a fork to flatten. Refrigerate again for 15 minutes.

    If you are using the crust for a baked pie filling, you can blind bake slightly and fill with pie filling and continue baking according to your recipe. If you want a baked crust to fill with an unbaked filling, you can line the crust with foil and pie weights, bake it at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, remove the foil and weights and back for another 5-10 minutes until browned and crisp.

    Makes one 9-inch pie crust.




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