Drum roll, please....I baked my own pie crust! Yea! And it was soooo good, I could have just eaten the crust. I wish I had baked two pies, one with filling and the other devoid of anything but the flakey, buttery, crust.
I learned a few things about pie crust. Number one: cold, cold, cold! That is the key. When you cut up the butter put it back in the fridge or freezer to keep it chilled. Add the flour, sugar, and salt to a chilled bowl. As you cut in the chilled or frozen butter put it back in the fridge if the butter starts to soften. In an Arizona kitchen that can happen quickly. You want the butter to stay cold so it will puff up as soon as it hits the hot oven creating a flakey crust.
Number two: let the dough rest for two hours in the fridge after forming it in a ball. Then after forming the dough in a pie dish slip it back in the refrigerator for another two hours, if possible. The gluten will relax and the crust will be more flavorful and flakey.
Number three: I have more to learn about making the pie crust pretty. It has no style since I just nervously placed it into the pie dish. I like to think of it as "rustic".
Below is the recipe for the pie crust and the Dutch Apple Pie (a blending of three recipes I liked). The apple pie received rave reviews from friends and family. I paid more attention to the crust so I cannot wax poetic about the filling.
1 cup ice cold water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
2 sticks of chilled unsalted butter, diced
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a chilled bowl (unless your kitchen is already cool, which means you must not live in Arizona)
Add the diced butter to the flour mix and cut in with a pastry blender until the butter is the size of peas
Drizzle about a 1/2 cup of the ice cold water to the mixture and quickly gather it together using a spatula. If you need more water (glue) add a tablespoon at a time. Once it is coming together, divide the dough and wrap it in plastic and place in the fridge for two hours. (If you are not making a double-crust pie you can freeze it for future use.)
Remove the dough and roll (roll, don't stretch) it out onto a floured board. When you have the size you want, fold it in half and place in pie dish. Unfold and gently press into place.
DUTCH APPLE PIE
5 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place apples in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine 2 tablespoons flour, white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix well, then add to apples. Toss apples to coat.
Place coated apples in pie shell. Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.
Mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of apples. Bake for one hour.