|Can't keep people away from this one, so the photo was taken in a hurry|
How to make the perfect pie crust without using vegetable shortening like margarine...which obviously make the pie crust flaky but also bring along with them loads of trans fat.
The answer is simple....use butter and an egg to make the pie crust delicate, crispy yet tender and flavourful...You can skip the egg completely and replace it with ice cold milk or water and still get a beautiful pie crust with a slightly different texture.
Long life vs. Flaky Pie Crust...the winner is obvious...
Baking a Pie Crust is really not so difficult and once you do it you will be tempted to try it out again...and it is all about following the instructions to the tee. Go by the rules and you will get what you desire...So here is how...
100 gms butter
10 and 1/2 fl oz Whole wheat flour (Atta)
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
You can add spices to give it more flavor like chilli flakes, pepper or pizza seasoning.
Interestingly, on two earlier occasions, I tried to make the dough with Maida (Cake flour/bleached flour) I could not roll it out...so I went back to my good old healthy Atta ..:-)
Till some time ago ( and even in a few of my cooking classes) I have not given any importance to chilling the butter before making the dough, I did not think it made any difference...but actually it does make a lot of difference. So chilling your butter and egg( or liquid) is an absolute must. Chilled butter makes sure that the butter does not get creamed into the mixture. We don't want a fluffy crust.
- This dough will need a pie dish 10 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches in height.
- Cut the chilled butter into small cubes and put it along with the flour and other dry ingredients like salt, spices) in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour, meaning that press the butter into the flour using all your fingers, till it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. It will take anything between 8- 10 minutes.
- This can also be done in a food processor or using the hook attachment in an electric blender.
- Beat the egg briefly, just to blend the white into the yellow. Remove a tsp of this and keep it aside.
- Add the remaining egg to the butter-flour mixture little by little and bring it together to form a dough. The dough should not be too sticky and neither too dry, either ways you cannot roll it out. You should be able to press a finger into the dough and not form any cracks and also not have more than a few bits of dough sticking to your finger.
- Cover the dough in a cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- This dough can be refrigerated for about a month, wrapped in cling film and stored in an airtight container.
- Pull out the dough from the refrigerator.
- Flatten the dough first and then start rolling out on a very well floured surface. Dust the dough with flour when ever it sticks to the rolling pin.
- Keep turning the dough 90 degrees or as much as you think is required to get an even crust. you don't want it thick on one side and thin on the other. try to roll it out uniformly.
- The thickness of the rolled dough can be customized as per your taste, depending on whether you want a thin crust or slightly thicker crust. It can vary from anything between 4mm to 8mm.
- The size of the rolled out dough should be more than your pie dish so that you can cover the sides(walls) of the dish as well. Take the rolled dough carefully and place it on your pie dish. Press the dough against the walls so that the crust gets the shape of the pie dish after being baked.
- Place the rolled out pie crust in the fridge for 30 min, so that the dough can firm up and the gluten can relax. Gluten is the protein in the flour. When you overwork your dough, gluten (protein bonds) is formed making the finished product more elastic. that is why certain breads require kneading, resting and re-kneading.
- Also, chilling the dough before baking makes sure there is no or very little shrinkage of the pie crust.
|This one has chilli flakes in it..just mix in with the dry ingredients.|
- Now comes the baking part...
- You would need to Blind Bake the pie. This means that you bake the pie crust without the filling. And that would be done when the filling requires no baking time or very little baking time compared to the crust.
- Blind Baking can be done by piercing the rolled out dough with a fork or by placing pie weights...or cover the crust with cling wrap and place beans ( any beans / raw rice) in it. Roll up the cling wrap and use it as a pie weight. I have always re-used the beans...though some recipes do claim that these beans cannot be re-used.
- But, by far the best way to Blind Bake is to use a fork like in the image shown below.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius.
- Bake the crust for 18 min at 180 degree Celsius.
- Take it out and brush it with the remaining egg. This gives a crisper crust and prevents the filling from seeping into the crust.
- Put it back in the oven and bake at 160 degree Celsius for 3- 5 minutes till the surface browns and the crust is crisp to touch.
And this is what you do with the left over dough. Make mini Quiches, fill it up with anything that comes handy and your kids will love it.
|Bake them for slightly lesser duration (around 5 min lesser) than the large Pie crust takes in your oven|
This is a Sicilian(Italian) style of cooking aubergines. It can also be served as an accompaniment to a main course.
2 Large Aubergines
2 Medium Sized Tomatoes
1/2 cup Raisins ( soaked in water for at least 2-3 hours)
1/2 cup capers ( Optional, but capers are a part of authentic Caponata Vegetables)
1 Small sized Green Capsicum
1 Small Red Bell Pepper
1 Large Onion
1/2 cup Green Stuffed Olives (4 fl oz.)
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
5 tbsp oil to shallow fry aubergines
2 tsp Red Chilli flakes
1 tsp Dry oregano + 1 tsp while assembling
1 tsp pizza seasoning (optional)
Splash of Tabasco
- Thinly slice aubergines. sprinkle salt over them and leave it aside for 10 min. This is called Sweating.
- Chop onions, bell pepper and capsicum into cubes.
- Roast the Tomato on a low flame till charred and set aside
- Peel off the skin from the tomatoes once it cools and chop coarsely into cubes.
- Take the aubergines and wipe them with a kitchen towel to wipe out excess moisture.
- Sprinkle Pizza seasoning on them and shallow fry them.Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add cooking oil.
- Add onions and saute for a min on high flame till the onions start to turn translucent.
- Drain the water from the raisins and add them to the onions.
- Add capsicum and red bell pepper. Saute for 2-3 min on a high flame.
- Add tomatoes, capers, olives and saute for another 3-5 min on a medium flame.
- Capers and olives might be salty because they are stored in Brine/Vinegar in Jars. So adjust the salt accordingly.
- Add oregano, chilli flakes and salt to taste.
- Turn off the gas stove and do not cover while still hot.
Time to assemble the Quiche...
- Preheat the oven to 200 Degree Celsuis.
- Add the prepared filling to the baked pie crust.
- Arrange the aubergines on top of the filling in a circular manner.
- Top off with grated Parmesan.
- Sprinkle oregano and splash some Tabasco over the cheese.
- Grill the Quiche for around 5 minutes or till the Parmesan starts to melt and bubble away.
- Serve hot..very hot...