For my Beef Wellington Dinner party, we had a red theme going so along with my Beet Soup I made some little Red Raspberry Tartlets. It didn’t take long and they tasted delicious served with a little Brandy and powdered sugar in the whipped cream. I love America’s Test Kitchen Pie dough, so made a double crust recipe.
The most important thing in a pie crust is to not use too much liquid or to work it too long. So pulsing it to mix together the butter and shortening works as it is fast and does not warm up the dough. Doing it by hand from then on makes it perfect.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
We wanted to make pie dough that was tender, flavorful, and consistent. Since water bonds with flour to form gluten, too much of it makes a crust tough. But rolling out dry dough is difficult. For a pie dough recipe that rolled out easily, we use a unique mixing method that “waterproofs” much of the flour so that it can’t be hydrated and form gluten. We also use some vodka, which is just 60 percent water, and therefore produces less gluten. It contributes no alcohol flavor, since the alcohol vaporizes in the oven.
|2 ½||cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)|
|1||teaspoon table salt|
|12||tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices|
|½||cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces|
I use this rather than Crisco or Lard and it always comes out beautifully. I keep this in the freezer so it last longer and is cold when I need to use it.
|¼||cup vodka, cold|
I keep a small bottle in the freezer just for making pie crusts.
|¼||cup cold water|
FOR ONE 9-INCH DOUBLE-CRUST PIE
Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute extra water. The alcohol is key to our recipe; if you don’t have vodka on hand, you can use another 80 proof liquor. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (1/4 cup must be used to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter).
1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Key Steps to Foolproof Pie Dough
1. MAKE A FAT AND FLOUR PASTE:Completely blending part of the flour with all of the butter ensures a consistent amount of fat-coated flour in the final dough.
2. ADD MORE FLOUR: Pulsing in the final cup of flour ensures a consistent amount of uncoated flour in the final dough.
3. ADD WATER AND VODKA: Sprinkling with water and vodka ensures even distribution. No need to skimp—unlike water, vodka won’t make the dough tough.
Making Foolproof Pie Dough Without a Food Processor
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also prepare this recipe in a stand mixer: Start by bringing your butter and shortening to room temperature. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar to bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on medium-low speed until just combined, 4 to 5 seconds. Add butter and shortening to mixer and mix on medium-low speed for another 15 seconds, until dough starts to form around paddle. Scrape down sides of bowl and paddle with spatula. Add remaining cup flour and mix on medium-high speed until dough has broken into smaller pieces, 2 to 3 seconds. Empty contents into medium bowl and continue recipe from step 2.
The Tart Part
The tart part for this is very simple. Make or buy the best raspberry jam you can find. Put it through mesh, to remove all the seeds. Put a little in each baked tart. I baked on the lowest rack at 350 degrees, cover with parchment and pie weights and cook about ten minutes, checking for a light brown color. Arrange the biggest raspberries in a pretty circle and heat the remaining, now seedless raspberry jam and over the the raspberries. Wha La – easy tart for desert.