Pie crust, second try

183Happy pie/pi (3/14/15) day!

My contribution to the celebration this year was to try out another crust recipe recently given to me.  I volunteer for an organization and we have an event that is held at an annual quilt show.  Every year there are many attendees, mostly women, so it’s possible to get into all sorts of interesting conversations about quilting and other topics.  We happened to be talking about cooking challenges and I mentioned that I have two:  yeast dough and pie crust.  Coincidentally, one of the attendees within earshot of my comment came over and told me her recipe for making pie crust.  Unlike other doughs that use butter, shortening, or lard, Judith’s recipe uses oil and is mixed directly in the pie pan.  Rather than rolling it out, you press it into the crust shape and then you’re ready to make a pie.  She says it’s the only recipe she uses and it works for filled pies or when you need to blind bake (bake the crust without any filling).  The only time it doesn’t work is if you need a top crust.

We’ve been getting lovely new spring greens from the farm and last week we got the beginnings of sprouts on broccoli plants.  I wanted to use it for something like a quiche, so I figured now was the time to test the recipe.  I also had a red pepper and some turkey sausage I wanted to use up along with some spring onions and flat leaf parsley, so I thought even if the crust was a flop, I’d have a lovely quiche filling.

Timing was a bit of a challenge.  I wanted to have some caramelized onions, too, so I started there.  It seemed like a lot of onion so I started cooking them in their own pan with a bit of salt and sugar.  As they cooked down, I realized I could have made everything in one pan, but it wasn’t clear at the start.

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As the onions were browning, I made the pie crust.  As Judith advised, I mixed the dry ingredients together first.

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. sugar (I omitted the sugar since my quiche is savory)

In the middle I made a little well and added the wet ingredients.

  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 1-2 T. milk

Judith’s directions were to start with 1 tablespoon of milk and to add more milk if the dough doesn’t stick together.

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It looks a little sketchy at first, but eventually it does come together.  If I were to try this again, I would mix it in a separate bowl and then press it into the pie plate.  I get why the allure of one dish might be appealing, but I do think it could have used a little pressing/kneading to come together and that got harder in the pie plate.  At least for me.  I also think I worried it was too dry so I added in the second tablespoon of milk.  If I had been more patient, I think my end result would have been flakier.  As it was, mine was probably too wet and therefore a bit loose in end result.  Next time…

I was using a Mark Bittman recipe as the basis for my quiche recipe and his instructions say to freeze the pie crust 30 minutes before blind baking.  I went ahead and put my crust in the freezer while I worked on the filling.

In a second saute pan I sauteed my red pepper, turkey sausage, green onions, and parsley.  When the caramelizing onions were done, I added them into the mixture.

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In another bowl, I mixed up Mark Bittman’s quiche formula:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups cream, half-and-half, or milk.

I used some leftover milk and then cream.  Given the size of my pie pan, I could have halved the recipe.  Next time….

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I added in some dried dill and thyme and plenty of black pepper.

Then it was time to start cooking.  Into a 425 degree oven, I blind baked (foil and dried beans in my crust to weigh it down) for 15 minutes and then removed the beans and baked the crust about 4-5 minutes to dry it out.

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I had forgotten to put fork holes into the bottom to keep it from puffing up, so I did this when I removed the beans.

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I then let the crust cool about 10 minutes on the counter.

I then put a small layer of cheese on the bottom, topped it with some of the cooked veggie mixture, more cheese, more veggies, and then cheese.  I overfilled my filling, so I’d use less when I do it again.  Next time…

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I then ladled in the egg/cream mixture.  I could only get about half into the shell, so the other half will be very decadent scrambled eggs tomorrow, probably.

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I put the quiche into a 325 degree oven (again using Bittman’s general directions) for about 35 minutes.  His recipe said 20-30 minutes, but I think mine took longer because my filling was too heavy with veggies.  Next time…

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It was flaky, but I think it would have been flakier without the extra tablespoon of milk.  It doesn’t get a lovely crust edge like other pie crust, but maybe that doesn’t really matter most of the time.  For home cooking, it’s super simple.  Super fast.  If I wasn’t thinking presentation, I’d surely make it again for a quick dinner if a crust was needed and I didn’t have the time or energy to make a proper crust complete with chilling and rolling time.

I was thinking it might be really nice for a tomato tart with a little cornmeal in the crust.  Next time…

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