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.
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
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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by Judy Kim
Plum Tomato and Gruyère Tart
Yield: 1 (9.5-inch) Tart
This is a tart that you will want to make multiples of. It is great as an appetizer or a light lunch served with a green salad. I use the step sister to the popular heirloom tomato variety, the plum tomato. While heirloom tomatoes are beautiful due to their interesting shapes and colors, plum tomatoes are equally great during peak season and more often found off-season.
Single crust Buttermilk Pie Dough
All-purpose flour, for rolling
1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes (about 5 to 6), sliced thinly, about ¼-inch rounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh basil, for garnish
Prepare the double pie crust recipe, which can be made in advance, save the other half for later or make 2 tomato tarts. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Let pie dough come to room temperature, about 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out round disk to ¼-inch thickness. Keep dough moving and apply just enough flour to prevent it from sticking. Gently fold into quarters and transfer onto 10-inch tart pan. Carefully push the pastry into the corners and sides of the tart pan using the flat side of your index finger while avoiding stretching the dough. Use rolling pin to trim excess pastry, transfer excess to refrigerator for an optional decorative design.
Lay sliced tomatoes in a single layer on a prepared half sheet pan with paper towels, season with salt; set aside to drain excess water, about 10 minutes. Blot top of tomatoes just before using.
Place oven rack in middle with Baking Steel or a pizza stone and preheat oven to 400°F.
In a medium bowl, combine cheese, garlic, thyme and ½ teaspoon black pepper; spread cheese mixture evenly inside the tart shell. Place tomatoes in an overlapping design until the surface is covered.
Place the tart on a rimmed sheet pan and just before baking, lightly brush pastry with egg wash. Cover only the crust loosely with foil and bake directly on the Baking Steel or pizza stone. Bake for 10 minutes and remove the foil; continue baking until tomatoes are tender and crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Finish with drizzle of olive oil, cracked black pepper and chopped or torn fresh basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Leave crust plain, place in freezer until ready to use.
Using a butter knife, score edge of pastry on a diagonal all the way around. Place in freezer for 15 minutes or until ready to use.
Before freezing the tart pan, flatten the top rim of the pastry by pushing your thumb and index finger around the edges; chill in freezer. Roll chilled excess pastry to 1/8-inch thickness, cover both sides generously with flour and cut with pie cutters in various leaf shapes. Place leaves in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan sprinkled with flour. Chill until frozen. Apply frozen pastry leaf cut outs with egg wash; partially cover the edge in a loose pattern of leaves or create a full wreath crown over the entire circumference. Place in freezer until ready to use.
by Judy Kim
Korean Mung Bean & Kimchi Pancakes
An update to my Mom's Bindaeduk, mung bean pancake recipe. This an easy recipe to modify to your taste. I added ramps because they are in season and the addition of a Korean perilla leaf to each pancake gives it a fresh grassy flavor and a pretty presentation. But to simplify the steps, chop the perilla leaf and add it to the batter. When in doubt, always add more kimchi! For meal prep, make extra batter and make them fresh easy day. It will keep for a couple of days.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
12 ounces yellow skinless mung beans
2 tablespoons white short grain rice
¼ pound pork (shoulder, loin or boneless pork chop), roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup low sodium bone broth or chicken broth
1 cup chopped kimchi
1/4 cup reserved kimchi liquid
1 onion, diced
4 scallions, finely sliced
4 ramp leaves, finely sliced (optional)
Grapeseed or canola oil for pan frying
1 bunch perilla leaves (or shiso leaves)
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
4 scallions, finely sliced
Wash mung beans and rice in a colander until water runs clear. Transfer drained mung beans and rice into a bowl and fill with filtered water until just covered, soak overnight in the fridge.
In a large bowl season pork with ½ teaspoon salt, set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor add drained mung beans, rice, garlic, broth and 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse until slightly smooth but leaving some texture. Transfer to large bowl with pork, fold in kimchi, kimchi liquid, onion, scallions and ramps.
In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, add drizzle of oil. Add large spoonful of batter and spread into a thin 3-inch diameter pancake. Fry until golden brown on the bottom, place and press perilla leaf on top and flip; fry again until golden. Make pancakes in batches and add oil as needed. If batter is too thick, add splash of broth or water. Transfer pancakes to a plate.
Combine all sauce ingredients with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and serve with warm pancakes.