My first attempt at pie crust was about 35 years ago. IIRC, it was hard to do and not worth the trouble; this was before food processors, my mother had no clue what to do, and I did the whole “cut with two knives” thing and somehow produced something edible if not great.
Since then I’ve stuck with store-bought crusts. Usually the refrigerated sort where you let it soften, then carefully drape it into your own pie dish. That’s fine, but I keep hearing that only philistines use that stuff and I might as well poison my guests as serve them store-bought crust.
So… this fall I had a butternut squash to use up and did so using this recipe. And the pastry was actually OK. The shape wasn’t great - more of a lumpy oval than anything round, but the texture was OK, rolling it was OK, etc.
So, emboldened, I made this apple pie recipe.
Attempt 1: The dough seemed to come together OK (at least it held together OK when I tried molding it into a ball) but when I tried to roll it out the next day, it simply fell apart. I wound up patching it together enough to line the pan, and making something lattice-like for the top.
The following week, I tried it again. I added a bit more liquid than the recipe called for, and it was slightly easier to roll but still crumbly.
Most recently, I tried a recipe from the Bubby’s Pie cookbook. Did that all by hand (vs. food processor) using a pastry cutter (possibly the butter chunks were too large that time, I’ll use the food processor next time). The mixing, also done by hand per the cookbook (they insist you do that by hand even if you use a processor to do the cutting). I added the full half-cup of water it called for, and it was still not coming together. I added more - probably another quarter cup or so - and it seemed to be mostly coming together, there were a few blobs of pure glutinous stuff (obviously flour that wasn’t tied to any butter) but when I pressed it all together, it held together.
So I chilled it overnight, and rolled it, and could see lots of butter marbling in the dough but the edges were cracking badly and I probably left it too thick. Fortunately there was plenty of it so the cracked edges were only a very minor problem on the bottom crust (I had to patch a couple of spots on the rim) and not at all on the top crust.
Anyway - the resulting crust looked quite flaky coming out of the oven, but it was rather hard to cut (due to being overthick I assume). It tasted fine.
galette: 1.25c / 4 oz / 2-3 oz
Alton: 2.75c / 8 oz / 2.5-3.5 oz
Bubby: 3c / 8 oz / 4 oz
In all cases, the ingredients have been well-chilled before I try anything (in fact I usually put the butter and flour in the freezer for a bit first).
I’ve told my family that I am GOING to learn to make decent pie crust come hell or high water and they’re just going to have to eat my mistakes.
What am I doing wrong? What should I try next? The one thing I notice is that the galette crust had a higher ratio of water to flour, and a higher ratio of fat to flour, than the other two.