This easy piecrust really is foolproof! It gives you all the measurements that you need - no "add water until ready" instructions! The vodka makes it incredibly flakey and tender! You will not be disappointed!
As you all know, if my last pie making attempt were a Shakespearian play, it would have been a Tragedy. This time I switched up the piecrust recipe for one by Cooks Illustrated via The Smitten Kitchen. A good call if ever there was one!
I wanted to use a piecrust recipe from one of my heritage cookbooks but I needed a little more handholding and visual aid than they could provide. I will bring you a traditional (vodka-free) piecrust recipe at a later date when I have mastered this elusive skill.
This pie crust is flaky, light, and flavorful. I was one of those people who ate the filling out of the crust and left additional denuded crust for everyone else (sorry family) because I thought that I didn’t like a piecrust. It is probably fortunate for my waistline that I did not discover this recipe until my late twenties!
Foolproof Vodka Pie Crust
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks, cold, cut into ¼-inch slices)
- ½ cup vegetable shortening (cold, cut into small bits)
- ¼ cup vodka (ice cold)
- ¼ cup water (ice cold)
- Make sure ALL your ingredients and utensils are cold. Sift two cups of flour and re-measure 2 ½ cups into your mixing bowl. Add your salt and sugar to the flour, mix with a fork or pastry blender, cover and put bowl in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
- Cut up your butter and measure your shortening and put them back in the refrigerator while you measure your vodka and place some ice cubes into a cup of water (stay with me here, it’s genius, promise). Put that vodka back in the freezer!
- Remove your pre-mixed dry ingredients from the refrigerator and drop the butter slices into bowl, coating with the flour mixture as you go. Do the same with the shortening. Use a knife to scoop out little bits and plop them in the flour. Cut the shortening & butter into the flour mixture with your pastry blender until the dough looks like a streusel topping with no unincorporated flour.
- You can also make this in a stand mixer.
- Drizzle the vodka over the surface of the dough. Then measure ¼ cup ice water into the same measuring cup used for the vodka and drizzle this evenly over the surface of the dough. Using a sturdy spatula, mash the dough to mix the liquid into the crumbles. Scoop from the bottom and press against the sides of the bowl. This should come together very easily.
- Once it looks like this picture, scoop up the dough, pat into a ball, and divide the dough in two. I have a deep-dish pie pan, so I divided my dough into roughly ⅔ and ⅓ sized balls. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least an hour. This dough is sticky and moist, so I let mine chill for 3 hours but overnight is even better.
- At the very end of this chilling time, prepare your apples (or other fruit) and gather the ingredients for the filling.
- Rolling the dough for the crusts:
- Turn the larger round onto a floured work-surface to roll out the bottom crust. General wisdom says a lightly floured surface should be used, but common sense dictates that, for this recipe, a generously floured surface is necessary. Lightly flour the top surface and the rolling pin. With a light touch and a fluid motion, roll the dough from the center up and back to the center, then from the center down toward you and back to the center. Pick up the rolling pin and repeat going from the center to each of the sides. Lightly cup your dough in your palms and spin ¼ turn, counter clockwise. Repeat the rolling until your dough is large enough to cover your pan and drape delicately over the sides.
- If your dough begins to stick then lift the edge and throw some flour underneath. As your round gets larger, you will no longer be able to cup the edges and turn. At this point, gently slide your hands under the dough and then turn. For a regular 9” pie pan, your round should be approximately 12” in diameter. Gently fold the dough in half and then in half again and unfold it into your pie pan. Fill your piecrust with filling and then roll out your top crust. Slide your top crust over the filling. Tuck the edges under themselves pressing lightly into the edge of the pan and crimp the edges decoratively. At this point I must confess that I got to the crimping and panicked. What had my mother taught me about crimping?! She has showed me countless times! How could I have forgotten her instructions? Nevertheless they failed to come to me at that moment and she will be horrified by the result! A quick study of The Smitten Kitchen’s piecrust crimping tutorial could have spared me this shame. You know what they say…the third time’s the charm!
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