Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cranberry Pie, Part 1: Crust(s)

If Americans agree on anything it's that it's not Thanksgiving without pie. But I wanted to go beyond pumpkin this year, and after finding a recipe for cranberry pie I knew that it was what I was meant to make. I could have picked-up a pre-made pie shell, but I decided to be old fashioned (and thrifty) and make my own piecrust. Looking in The New Laurel's Kitchen I came across two easy-enough-sounding recipes. I couldn't decide between them, but since the cranberry recipe called for a two-crust pie of 9", I just made both and used one for the dish and one for the lattice (two taste-tests in one pie!).

uncooked crust

Recipe one:
Whole Wheat Piecrust    from The New Laurel's Kitchen 
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ (or 1/4 cup flour)
3/4 tsp salt
10 Tbls butter, chilled
4 to 6 Tbls cold water
Stir together flour, wheat germ, and salt. Grate the cold butter on a coarse grater or cut into small pieces, tossing it with the flour as you go. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to combine the flour and butter until it is the consistency of rolled oats. Sprinkle with the water, using just enough to hold the dough together. 
Using cupped fingers, form the dough quickly and gently. As soon as it will hold together, make it into a ball.  
Press the dough out into a thick disk. Roll to size on a lightly floured surface, or between sheets of waxed paper, or on a pastry cloth. Gently roll the dough over the rolling pin and onto the pie plate, easing it loosely into the plate. (...)  
Gently press the dough into the plate so there are no air pockets. Cut off the excess with a sharp knife, but make the rim double thick to keep it from burning. (...) 
If you are making a  pie with a top crust or lattice, preheat the oven to 400 F. Fill the bottom shell and put the top crust or lattice in place, baking according to the directions in the recipe you are using. 
Makes one 10" bottom crust or crust and lattice for one 8" pie.

And recipe two:

Lighter Whole Wheat Piecrust    from The New Laurel's Kitchen
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbls oil [I used coconut]
1/4 cup water
Stir dry ingredients together. Mix in oil and enough of the water to make the dough form a ball. Roll flat between sheets of waxed paper and lift into pan. Make decorative edge. Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, or until slightly browned and crisp. Makes one 9" shell.

Our vote:  we enjoyed both! The crust was a little thick and brittle for my preference, but I chalk that up to chef's error (I realize pie crusts are an art). But the taste was good, both bottom and lattice. The "lighter" version was easier to make (spooning oil is so much easier than grating butter!) so if I were to try making it again I'd try that recipe first.

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