The Basics: Classic Pie Crust

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Baking & Pastry Essentials

The Technique

Classic Pie Crust

Making homemade pastry dough from scratch has almost become a lost art & quite possibly a bit intimidating. With prepared items ready for cooks in the refrigerated grocery case, the convenience to pick up a box & unroll it into a pie plate is hard to resist. However, you should certainly try your hand at crafting your own & I’m here to guide you every step of the way. There are many ways to prepare a dough from scratch. It can be blended by hand or in a food processor. Some use all butter or all vegetable shortening. The ingredients can be combined with a fork while others have you cutting in the fat with a pastry blender. Buttermilk-Cornmeal Pastry Dough features the best of both worlds by combining two types of fat & the addition of yellow cornmeal for good, gritty texture resulting in a flaky, rustic crust. The dough is versatile enough for saucy fruit filled favorites or simple chess pies. You may be reluctant to try making your own at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be fluting your way to the next holiday gathering with grace & style.

pie crust

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickButtermilk-Cornmeal Pastry Dough
makes 1 {10-inch} pie crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp plain yellow cornmeal
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup cold shortening
3 to 4 Tbsp whole buttermilk

Whisk together the flour, the cornmeal & the salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter & the shortening into the mixture using a fork or your fingers until crumbly in texture making certain to leave some of the fat in large bits. Drizzle the buttermilk over the mixture & shape the dough into a disc.

Place the dough disc between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Remove the top piece of plastic & invert the dough into a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Remove the second piece of plastic wrap. Fit the dough down into the pie plate. Lift the excess dough hanging over the sides & fold it under so that it rests on the lip of the pan. Crimp the dough around edges in a decorative pattern. Secure a few pieces of the dough underneath the lip of the pie plate. Chill 1 hour. Use as directed in recipes.

Baking Instructions

Partially Baked Crust

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the unbaked crust on a half sheet pan. Place a piece of parchment paper into the crust. Top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the middle oven rack 15 minutes. Remove the partially baked crust from the oven. Remove the pie weights or dried beans. Cool 10 minutes before filling & baking further according to recipe instructions.

Fully Baked Crust

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the unbaked crust on a half sheet pan. Place a piece of parchment paper into the crust. Top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the middle oven rack 15 minutes. Remove the partially baked crust from the oven. Remove the pie weights or dried beans. Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before filling according to recipe instructions.

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{testing notes}

How To Make Classic Pie Crust

Pastry dough isn’t difficult to prepare. It can be made in a food processor but that method tends to over blend the fat. It takes the same amount of time to prepare by hand with a much flakier result. Leave a few larger chunks of fat throughout the mixture. The majority should have fat pieces the size of peas. A few kidney bean-sized pieces will bake & melt to create extra flaky pockets in the crust.

Buttermilk-Cornmeal Pastry Dough By Rebecca Gordon TV Cooking Personality Editor-in-Chief Buttermilk Lipstick Writers Food Stylist Pastry Chef Recipe Developer Author Tailgating Expert Southern Hostess Tide & Tigers Today Tailgate Host Raycom News Network WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham Alabama Sports Entertaining Cooking Lessons How To Southern Recipes & Craft Ideas

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A few pieces for equipment will be necessary in order to complete the task. Read through the recipe before beginning. Here’s what you should know.

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No. 1

Once the rolling process begins, the larger fat chunks will flatten throughout the dough. These flattened pieces, coated with flour, are what create the flakiness desired in a crust. The fat must also be large enough so as not to melt instantly in a hot oven. The key thing to note when rolling dough is to prevent gluten development. When flour is over worked, the proteins bond together forming gluten. This will result in a tough crust. Although not a traditional method, rolling the dough between plastic wrap is smart. Since the fat hasn’t firmed back up yet, it’s much easier to flatten quickly. If your kitchen is warm & the dough texture becomes soft, place the dough in the refrigerator a few minutes to firm the fat back up. You can then proceed with the step at hand.

Place the flattened dough onto an inverted sheet pan. The flat surface will make it easy to transfer from the counter top. Remove one piece of the plastic wrap. Invert the pie plate over the exposed dough & quickly flip it. Once in the pie plate, remove the second piece of plastic wrap. Press the dough down into the bottom & along the sides for a more snug fit. Take the excess dough hanging over the edge & fold it under so it rests on the lip & crimp. Attach a few pieces of dough underneath the pie plate to secure as it bakes.

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No. 2

Blind baking is a step that prepares the crust for the filling. The most straightforward method calls to line the unbaked crust with parchment paper. It’s then filled with pie weights or dried beans – about a pound or so will do the trick. The weight over the dough will yield a flat bottom crust ideal for a variety of fillings. Docking the dough is another method that can ensure a level baked crust. A fork or dough docking tool is used to prick small holes into the dough. Although not used in this application, it’s an interchangeable alternative to using pie weights.

Buttermilk-Fudge-Pie-Online-Cooking-Class-Rebecca-Gordon-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Entertaining-Techniques-Southern-Entertaining-Southern-Hostess-Rebecca-Gordon-Pastry-Chef-TV-Cooking-Personality-Birmingham-AlabamaNo. 3

Cold ingredients are key to achieving the flakiness desired in an exceptional pie crust. Butter, in particular, needs time to firm back up before going into a hot oven since the fat in pastry dough serves as a separator. As the crust bakes, the dough will begin to set above & below the fat that was cut into it. When those pieces of cold fat finally do melt, the liquid in the dough creates steam. When the steam expands, the result is the flaky texture desired. Once blind baking is complete, remove the weights & fill the crust. Follow individual recipe instructions to yield fully baked or partially baked crusts.

The Tune
“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” Johann Sebastian Bach

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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