Easy Pie Dough

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.  Super easy!  I know you can use both vegetable shortening and butter, but I didn’t have any shortening the day that I made it – and it tasted really good with just butter!  The best homemade crust I’ve ever made. Great for quiches and one crust pies. Make it in a food processor – it’s the only way to go!

Makes one nine inch crust.

INGREDIENTS
– 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1 Tbsp sugar
– 10 Tbsp COLD, unsalted butter (straight from the fridge!), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
– 4-5 Tbsp ice water

PROCESS

1) Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined.
2)  Add the butter pieces and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and clumps together (about 10 seconds).  Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.
3)  Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture.  With a spatula, use a folding motion to mix.  Press down on the dough until it sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water, if necessary.  Flatten the dough into a 4-inch disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour (or freeze for 30 minutes) of up to 2 days before rolling.

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 1:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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My Favorite Creme Brulee

Taken from Cook’s Illustrated.com.  I’ve made this recipe many, many times and it is delicious every time. It really makes a difference using a vanilla bean.  The critical thing is not to overcook the custard and to take it out of the oven just as it has set.

Serves 8.   Published November 1, 2001.

Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks after the cream has finished steeping; if left to sit, the surface of the yolks will dry and form a film. A vanilla bean gives custard the deepest flavor, but 2 teaspoons of extract, whisked into the yolks in step 4, can be used instead. The best way to judge doneness is with a digital instant-read thermometer. The custards, especially if baked in shallow fluted dishes, will not be deep enough to provide an accurate reading with a dial-face thermometer. For the caramelized sugar crust, we recommend turbinado or Demerara sugar. Regular granulated sugar will work, too, but use only 1 scant teaspoon on each ramekin or 1 teaspoon on each shallow fluted dish. If you don’t own eight individual ramekins, see the related Family Style version.

Ingredients

4 cups heavy cream , chilled
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
1 vanilla bean , halved lengthwise
12 large egg yolks
8 – 12 teaspoons turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse flavors.
  3. Meanwhile, place kitchen towel in bottom of large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange eight 4- to 5-ounce ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on towel. Bring kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat.
  4. After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined; repeat with another 1 cup cream. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and thoroughly combined. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.
  5. Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into ramekins, until water reaches two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until centers of custards are just barely set and are no longer sloshy and digital instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 170 to 175 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes (25 to 30 minutes for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.
  6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
  7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (1 1/2 teaspoons for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30 to 45 minutes (but no longer); serve.My F
Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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