On the quest for the perfect pie

I am always on the quest for the perfect pie – the holy grail of baking.

We have three blueberry bushes that were loaded with berries, perfectly ripe, so it was time to give it another try.  I used 4 inch quiche pans to make tarts for the experiments – making several small pies.

Cook’s Illustrated has an incredible recipe for the pie dough that they call “Foolproof Pie Dough for a Single-Crust Pie.  It uses vodka, which makes the dough easier to roll out.  But as good as the recipe is, I can’t resist tinkering a bit, and that’s where the problems start.  I insist on making it with only butter – no lard or shortening.  What can I say – butter just tastes better.  In the past, I have been able to make the change with a few other adjustments and make a perfect free form tart – a tart that I would put up against any.

This time, I wanted to make a perfect pie, complete with decorations.  But butter spreads, making decorations difficult.  So the experimenting began.  I froze the flour, the vodka, and the butter pieces, and then added 1/2 tsp of vinegar and 1/8 tsp of baking powder (my Grandmother’s secret weapon).  Then I refrigerated the dough whenever it got too soft.  It worked well enough that I was able to cut out decorations for the top, freezing them for a few minutes before putting them on the pie.

The result was fair.  Not the gorgeous pie decorations I have seen on Lokokitchen, but a place to start.






Santa Cruz, CA, USA

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