Vodka Pie Crust

Rustic Pear Galette by Judy Kim

by Judy Kim


Rustic Pear Galette

Yield: 1 (10-inch) Galette, 6 - 8 servings

This is a rustic dessert perfect for any occasion, especially because it's easy to make and looks super impressive. I made this last minute for a photoshoot and only had about 90 minutes to make it. I kept the ingredients and steps simple. It's perfect for the holidays when there's never enough time to prepare for a last minute dinner party. If you have pre-prepared pie dough in the freezer, that's a big time saver. You can easily substitute the pears for any seasonal fruit, although I'm partial to these Starkrimson pears. If vibrant fruit isn't available, finish the baked galette with a dusting of powdered sugar for a pretty presentation.

INGREDIENTS

Single crust pie dough, such as Buttermilk Pie Dough

1 /2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

3-4 Starkrimson or red Anjou pears

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt or flaky sea salt crushed by hand

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and frozen

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare the pie crust recipe, which can be made in advance. Line 10-inch tart pan with parchment paper, leave over hang (see photo for reference) to make it easier to remove later. Set aside.

  2. Before rolling, let the pie dough come to room temperature, about 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out round disk to thickness between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch. Keep dough moving and apply just enough flour to prevent it from sticking. Gently fold into quarters and transfer onto parchment lined tart pan. Gently push the pastry into the corners of the tart pan. Trim pastry with scissors or a sharp paring knife, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold excess pastry backwards into the tart pan and press into the sides, it will make a nice imprint from the crimped edge. Chill tart pan in freezer or refrigerator.

  3. Place oven rack in the middle fitted with a Baking Steel or a pizza stone and preheat oven to 375°F. I like that it ensures a crispy bottom.

  4. Prepare pears by cutting around the core into four pieces. Cut vertically parallel to the core and continue around all sides. Carefully slice the pears thinly about 1/4-inch. I recommend a mandoline, used with a protective cut resistant glove, or cut by hand. Keep the slices in groups.

  5. Dust bottom of prepared pastry evenly with cinnamon. (I like using OXO’s Bakers Dusting Wand because it gives great control). I prefer dusting the bottom so you don't cover up the beautiful color of the pears. Arrange pear slices in slightly fanned out groups by keeping one of the pointy ends slightly together (see photo for reference). Alternate directions of the pears until the tart pan is filled. Use more pears for a denser filling. Sprinkle sea salt and sugar evenly all over the pears. Finish with pieces of frozen butter.

  6. Place the tart pan on rimmed half sheet pan and bake directly on the Baking Steel. Bake until golden brown, for about 1 hour. Rotate midway if needed for even browning.

  7. Transfer to a cooling rack. After cooled, lift the pastry out of the pan by holding the parchment. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Vodka Pâte Brisée Pie Crust by Judy Kim

by Judy Kim


Vodka Pâte Brisée Pie crust

Yield: One 8 to 10-inch double-crust pie or two large half sheet pan galettes

This is a far cry from the pie dough recipe I remember as a kid. We used a recipe my Mom saved from a school bake sale, the recipe card was so cute. It was written on red construction paper in the shape of an apple and the recipe was made with pure Crisco. It guaranteed flaky results, but now I expect more from pie crust. Luckily I spent a fair amount of my previous career traveling to France, and like anyone that visits the Pâte Brisée motherland, you'll never turn down an all butter pastry. I wanted to create my own version of an all butter pie crust recipe, one that takes the anxiety out of pie making and is friendly for decorative pie making. Vodka is certainly not traditional to French baking, but I now use it regularly. This recipe yields an unusually pliable dough that is so much easier to roll out and handle. My first pie dough, Vodka Pie Crust is made with butter and shortening is even more fool proof, but similar, so it's really a matter of preference in terms of texture and flavor.

INGREDIENTS

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks, up to 2 sticks for extra buttery pastry), cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen in advance. I prefer Vermont Creamery European butter  

1/2 cup vodka

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, crushed by hand

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and freeze overnight, minimum of 5 minutes if you're short on time.

  2. In a liquid measuring cup pour vodka, then add several ice cubes. Wait until vodka is chilled and remove ice. Most likely you'll reach 3/4 cup measurement from the melting ice cubes, but if not just add a touch of chilled water. If your vodka is frozen, just add 1/4 cup iced water.

  3. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add frozen butter and toss together quickly until each piece of butter is coated with the flour mixture, this will ensure an even dough. Break butter pieces apart if they are stuck together. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse 2 to 3 times until the size of chickpeas.

  4. Pour vodka mixture through feed tube in a steady stream while constantly pulsing until dough begins to pull together. Avoid running the machine automatically or it may overmix. Butter and shortening should be about the size of dried lentils. Pro tip: Pour all the liquid into the feed tube, it's designed to stream an even amount and will help absorb all the flour evenly.

  5. Carefully turn dough out onto a very lightly floured work surface and remove the blade. Try to use no more than 1 tablespoon bench flour as flour can make the dough tough. Working on marble or granite countertop will help keep the dough cool. Note, the dough is slightly wet and more elastic than typical recipes. It's not necessary to knead the dough, just enough to pull it together with a few turns at the most.

  6. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and shape the dough into a round or rectangle. I find the dough will stay cooler if I shape it after wrapping and it reduces the need for additional bench flour. If you are using a round pie dish, shape dough into a flattened disk or rectangle if you are making a galette or lattice strips; this will help eliminate wastage. Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight.

  7. You can freeze the dough up to 3 months, just wrap well. If you have left over scraps I cut them into manageable pieces and wrap them in parchment paper and stack the pieces. The parchment will prevent them from sticking. Wrap in plastic wrap tightly and freeze to use for cut outs on a future pie.

**For decorative pie tips, read the notes written on my Vodka Pie Crust recipe.

 

 

Vodka Pie Crust by Judy Kim

by Judy Kim


VODKA PIE CRUST

Yield: Two 8 to 10-inch single-crust pies or one double-crust pie

I've been working on this recipe for years and love the results. It's been rewritten and improved every few months. It's particularly great for decorative pies or anyone new to pie making because the vodka makes it very pliable. By using both butter and shortening, it creates a silky consistency. Vodka may seem to be the star, which does help reduce the formation of gluten, but I think technique reigns supreme for success. The key is evenly distributed butter and flour, which is easy to control in a food processor if you use the pulse feature. Big butter chunks may seem ideal, but they create an unevenly textured pie.  For another simple dough I prefer to make by hand, try my Buttermilk Pie Dough.


INGREDIENTS

12 tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen in advance. I prefer Vermont Creamery European butter

1/2 cup vodka

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons shortening, frozen

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour vodka into a liquid measuring cup, then add several ice cubes. Wait until vodka is chilled and remove ice after a few minutes. Vodka water mixture should reach 3/4 cup measurement. (If you prefer to use less vodka, try 1/3 cup vodka with 1/4 cup ice water.)

  2. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl; add frozen butter and shortening. Toss together quickly with your hands to coat each piece of butter and shortening with flour mixture, helps ensure an even dough. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse 2 to 3 times until the size of chick peas.

  3. Pour vodka mixture through feed tube in a steady stream while constantly pulsing until dough begins to pull together. Avoid running the machine automatically or it may overmix. Butter and shortening should be about the size of dried lentils. Pro tip: Pour all the liquid into the feed tube, it's designed to stream an even amount and will help absorb all the flour evenly if you keep pulsing.

  4. Carefully turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and remove the blade. The dough is very hydrated, so use bench flour when needed. Working on marble or granite countertop will help keep the dough cool. Knead dough until smooth, turn 5 to 6 times.

  5. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and shape the dough into a round or rectangle. I find the dough will stay cooler if it's shape after wrapping and it reduces the need for additional bench flour. If you are using a round pie dish, shape dough into a flattened disk or rectangle if you are making a galette or lattice strips; this will help eliminate wastage. Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight.

  6. You can freeze the dough up to 3 months, just wrap well. If you have left over scraps I cut them into manageable pieces and wrap them in parchment paper and stack the pieces. The parchment will prevent them from sticking. Wrap in plastic wrap tightly and freeze to use for cut outs on a future pie. Or cut out decorative pieces using a pie cutter and freeze in a single layer, when frozen solid keep in air tight plastic container.

NOTES FOR DECORATIVE PIES:

If you desire a decorative pie using cut out shapes, try purchasing pie cutters at a local specialty store, Williams Sonoma or online such as Amazon . Cookie cutters are another favorite. Generally I prefer pie cutters since they give a detailed impression mark due to their plunger design. The texture will give a rich detail to your pie.

Using pie cutters is a great way to use excess dough. Keep pastry cut outs in the freezer and bake them off as needed. Brushing with cream or an egg wash will make them golden. I suggest using them for a topping on desserts like ice cream or berries with whipped cream. I've even been known to put them with skillet eggs and arugula. 

If you want to layer a lot of cut outs on your pie such as a fallen leaf layout, roll the dough a bit thinner since they will overlap. Cut out the shapes and place in a single layer on a parchment lined quarter sheet pan or any tray that will fit in the freezer. Once frozen use the them right away or stack the shapes into an airtight container for future use. The shapes can be scattered all over a fruit pie in place of a top crust.

For a custard pie that requires blind baking, create the pie cut outs a few hours in advance or the day before and freeze them solid. This will help them resist heat to maintain their shape and placement while baking. Roll the bottom layer 1/8-inch thick, place into a pie dish and trim neatly with scissors or a sharp paring knife. The shapes can be attached to a simple crust and form a wreath by brushing the backside with heavy cream. Freeze pie crust for about 5 to 10 minutes before blind baking. Pro tip: preheat oven with Baking Steel or your favorite pizza stone. There's no need to blind bake the pie! Place your pie dish on top of a rimmed sheet pan and place on top of the Baking Steel, and your bottom crust is be crispy. Eliminating blind baking is a huge time saver. I bake all my regular and custard pies on the steel, I just left it in the oven.

* recipe updated August 2018

Apple Cardamom Cable Knit Pie by Judy Kim

by Judy Kim

Apple Cardamom Cable Knit Pie

Yield: 1 (9-inch) Pie

This cable knit design was inspired by Aran Irish Sweaters, something I learned about during my first job as a design assistant at Ralph Lauren when I worked in Men’s sweaters. Not surprising as we used to make knit downs of cable knit designs all day long, always looking for new combinations. I use a similar approach when designing this pie crust.

INGREDIENTS

1 egg

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 double crust, buttermilk pie crust recipe

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling pastry

2 meyer lemons, zested and juiced

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Jacobsen

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 (about 3 1/2 pounds) medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced on mandolin

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and frozen

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place Baking Steel on the middle rack of your oven. Preheat oven 425°F. The pizza stone ensures a crispy bottom crust. Preferably preheat oven for 30 to 60 minutes. In a small bowl beat egg with heavy cream; set aside.

  2. Prepare the buttermilk pie crust recipe, cut into one third and two thirds ratio, wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Shape smaller piece into a flat round disk and shape other half into a narrow flat rectangle. Let dough rest 20 minutes or overnight in refrigerator. Note: This dough makes more dough than average recipes, great for decorative pie crusts.

  3. Let the dough come to room temperature for 5 minutes before rolling out to prevent cracking. On a lightly floured surface, roll out round disk to thickness between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch. Keep dough moving and apply flour as needed to prevent it from sticking. Gently roll onto rolling pin and transfer to pie dish. Trim with scissors or a knife along the rim leaving a 1/2-inch border. Note: Be careful not to stretch the dough or it will shrink back. 

  4. Cut second rectangular pie dough in half lengthwise. Roll one half (Dough A) to 9-inches in length and 1/4-inch thick. Roll remaining dough (Dough B) to 9-inches in length and 1/8-inch thickness. Work quickly to prevent the dough from getting warm. If needed, place them in the fridge to firm up during the process.

  5. Dough A: Use a ruler to cut long even strips. For a square edge braid, cut into 1/4-inch strips with a sharp paring knife. Braid together keeping both ends loose; transfer to a sheet pan. For rounded edge braid, cut dough into six 1/4-inch strips and roll against floured board to round edges. Repeat braiding technique and transfer to the sheet pan, keep in the fridge while you roll the remaining dough. Separate layers with parchment if needed. Dough B: Cut four 1-inch strips. Loosely twist 2 pieces together to create a cable knit effect and repeat; transfer to the same sheet pan. Cut three diamonds from any leftover dough and score with a knife in a diagonal direction. Roll four balls of dough and flatten slightly to create 4 small buttons; score with a curved fork to mimic a leather football button. (Fashion is clearly still in me). Transfer sheet pan back to the fridge. NOTE: If you are having trouble with the dough breaking while braiding, the butter pieces may be too large or the dough is too warm. For decorative pies, I formulated a pie crust that is ideal and hopefully breakage won’t be an issue.

  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine zest of 2 Meyer lemons, 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice, sugar, sea salt, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Fold in apples until well coated; sprinkle 3 tablespoons flour and toss again. Transfer apple mixture into pie dish, try to keep the mixture even. Scatter frozen butter cubes evenly all over the apples.

  7. Remove sheet pan with pastry from the fridge. Start in the middle and place cable knit pieces tightly next to each other. Try to avoid large gaps between pastry. Trim pieces to fit within the pie dish. Fold edge of pie inward neatly and crimp together by pinching. Chill in freezer or fridge for 15 minutes.

  8. Brush evenly with light coating of egg wash and cover loosely with foil. Adjust oven to 425°F, gently place pie dish directly onto Baking Steel or pizza stone and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375°F, remove foil and bake until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 1 hour more. If necessary, rotate the pie for even baking. For best results, let pie cool for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Note:

You can use leftover dough for decorative cut outs. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Dip pie cutters or cookie cutters in flour and cut out shapes. Lay them evenly on a quarter sheet pan and layer using parchment paper. I didn't use any cut outs for this cable knit design, but you can keep these in the freezer for a future use. Suggestion: Bake and add them to a bowl of ice cream or berries and cream.