Hi there– I have to admit I’ve made some terrible pie crusts over the last few years. I grew up eating tender, flakey crusts laced with Crisco. So trying to be a bit more healthy, making a crust that is Crisco-less, using butter, things ended up pretty thick and tough and tasteless. Until now…
Over Thanksgiving week in SF, we popped into Chef Aaron’s pie making demonstration at the William-Sonoma store on Union Square. He is enormously entertaining and a darn clever cook. He passed out loads of good pie tips as he put together pies and popped them in the oven so we could sample hot and delicious. I used his crust recipe for this apple pecan tart last week and it was just lovely. I think you should try it…
APPLE PECAN TART
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, but in smaller chunks
4 or 5 tab. ice water
Mix the flour, sugar and salt. With a pastry blender or food processor cut in the butter until all the buttery pieces are the size of little peas. Then stir in the icy cold water. It will seem like the dough is still a bit crumbly. You will want to keep adding water, but stop! If you add more water to make it solid, the crust will be tough. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it up–and refrigerate it for at least one hour (up to overnight). The idea is that the butter should stay cold so that it doesn’t melt into the flour, but stays in tiny bits for a flaky crust.
After it’s chilled, roll out the dough on a floured piece of waxed paper. When it is the size of your tart pan (pie pan) lift it carefully into the pan and trim off all the extra around the edges of the pan.
5 or 6 apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
Peel and core the apples, cut them into slices until you have about 6 cups of apples. Then stir in the sugar flour, spice and salt. Turn it all into the prepared crust.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or food processor until the butter is in tiny bits. Then stir in the pecans. Spoon this all over the apples in the pie crust.
Bake it all up at 375 degrees or 35- 40 minutes, until the crumbly top is browned and the apples feel tender it you poke it with a fork.
P.S. – The photo is Aaron the most inspirational cooking teacher around, with a young apprentice.