Thursday, March 31

Buttermilk Pie Crust


There is something incredibly relaxing to me about getting my hands in a bowl of flour and butter. Making batches of pastry is probably my favorite thing to do. I am a firm (FIRM) believer in making my pastry doughs by hand and with butter. No vegetable oil. No margarine. No shortening. Lard is acceptable on occasion... but butter is best. I also believe that the food processor or stand mixer are not ok while making the dough. It is way too easy to over process and you end up with a brittle cracker like crust, rather than flakey tender pie crust. Though it may be a messy job, doing it by hand will result in a superior end result.

A few years ago I took a class at King Arthur flour while on a baking retreat, they taught us how to make perfect butter crusts that will never disappoint. The techniques I learned in that class have stuck with me, and I will never stray. A  year or two after I visited for that particular retreat, I returned to King Arthur to take a pie baking class taught by the spectacular Joy the Baker. She used the same classic pastry making techniques that I had been taught previously, however she did one thing different. She swore by using cold buttermilk in the place of water in her dough, and you know what? She was spot on, the buttermilk just adds a bit of flavor to the crust, and you still end up with the same flaky buttery crust that you would if you used cold water like most recipes call for.

So trust me on the recipe and method that I have written out below. At times during the making, you will think.... "this looks too shaggy", or "my hands are sticky," or "this can't be right".

 Just chill out..... it will work.












Buttermilk Pie Crust:

Ingredients: 
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (additional for dusting)
1 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (use a quality brand like Kate's)
1/4-1/2 cup cold buttermilk

Directions:
Whisk flour, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl.

Cut butter into 1 tbs pieces, add to the flour and then lightly toss, coating all the butter in flour. 

Quickly but carefully work the butter into the flour, press the pieces of butter between your index finger and thumb, creating thin little butter disks. 

Once all the butter has been worked in, mix in 1/4 cup of buttermilk, and quickly and carefully work the dough until it just starts to come together. If it is way too dry and crumbly (this can vary depending on the humidity in your kitchen) add in additional buttermilk 1 tsp at a time. A little bit of moisture can go a long way. So be careful not to add too much buttermilk. If for some reason, your dough becomes too wet, add in more flour also 1 tsp at a time. 

Pour shaggy dough out onto a pastry board and give it a couple kneads, just enough so that it is holding together. It should still look a little bit shaggy. 

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Remove dough from the refrigerate and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. 

Roll it out on slightly floured pastry board or countertop.

Press and crimp into your pie plate and use as your pie recipe directs you to. 


23 comments:

  1. I've never dared to make my own! Isn't that awful? I always use the Immaculate Baking Company crust or buy pies and pastries from experts! If you were closer Id pay good money to try a taste! You definitely have great tips my friend! I love your new banner by the way, adorable!

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    1. It's so easy to do! Some day lets meet up... I'll teach you. I'm only 40 min form the Seacoast!

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  2. I *love* making pie dough, and it took me forever to get it right. I love this buttermilk idea. That bit of acid must help to keep things tender. No matter what recipe I use (and sometimes I just go with a standard 3:2:1 ratio w/out a real "recipe") I always give mine at least a couple rolls and folds like I was making puff pastry. It does increase gluten formation, but that toughness is countered by incredibly thin layers of dough that keep it from seeming tough in your mouth. Instead, you get nice crisp layers that sort of shatter when you bite into them. Next time, I'm adding buttermilk to my repertoire.

    (PS Why so many hand shots? ;) LOL)

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    1. Good idea with the folds! Will do that tomorrow when I make more. As for the hands, 2 reasons. 1- I'm trying new styles out, attempting to get better at photography. 2- a not so subtle jab at an egomaniac!

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  3. You're photography and blog design are ao pretty! -Tammy

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  4. When I was little my grandma actually used to make separate mini pie crust. Like, no filling, just crust. That is how much I love crust, so I NEED this!

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    1. I take all my scraps and bake them up with sugar for one of my sons. He lovescrust so much too.... But could skip filling all together!

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  5. I am in love with these gorgeous photos!

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    1. Thanks! I get tips from one of the best ! ;)

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  6. Buttermilk...I like the thought of that in a pie crust!

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    1. When Joy shared that tid bit, I was skeptical, but it's the best liquid I've ever tried in my crusts!

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  7. Oh I'll try this. I've never been a good baker.

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    1. Anyone can bake armed with a decent recipe.

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  8. These photos!! Also, your tat makes me smile!!

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    1. Thanks Lauren! It makes me smile too. I love my tattoos.

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  9. These photos, those vintage tins - I just can't even handle it al!!

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    1. Lol! Thanks, my dad bought those for me years ago, I love them!

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  10. Love this and buttermilk is an awesome ingredient!

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  11. I'm intrigued! Never thought to add buttermilk to pie crust.

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  12. What are your thoughts on using buttermilk powder instead of fresh buttermilk? Would you reconstitute it or add it with the dry ingredients then use water as usual? Or have you tried souring milk with lemon juice or vinegar and using it? I hate to buy a quart of buttermilk just for 1/2 cup or so. Thanks! I usually make pastry in the food processor so next time I'm going to try your method!

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    1. You would have to reconstitute the buttermilk powder in place of the actual buttermilk. I've actually done this many many times. Buttermilk powder is a staple in my house, where buttermilk isn't something I always have on hand! I have also made my own buttermilk by doing the quick lemon and milk trick and it works nicely too.

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