Pie crust, three ways
One of my favorite things to make - and easiest things, fortunately - is pie crust. A really good pie crust is versatile and, well, really good.
My all time favorite pie crust comes from Martha Stewart and is so easy to make that I have the recipe memorized. Actually, I don’t even have to think to make it. Sometimes I’ll just find myself in the kitchen and a few minutes later, I have delicious pie crust…
The great thing about it is that you don’t have to make just pies with your pie crust. And you don’t even have to make it from scratch - store bought will work just fine. (However, if you DO want to - it’s super easy and the recipe I use is below).
Here are three pretty easy things to do with this flaky decadence:
1. Create lattice biscuits. It’s reminiscent of pie, but in smaller bite-sized pieces and no filling.
I take my dough, roll it out pretty thin, use a knife or pizza cutter to cut long 1/2”-1” strips, and then weave the strips into a lattice pattern. Then take a cookie or biscuit cutter (I used a 2-inch round one) to cut your shapes from the dough. You have to be somewhat careful that your intricate lattice work doesn’t fall apart - I’ve seen some people do the lattice work on the parchment paper, cut out shapes, then remove the excess dough. That way you don’t have to transfer your cookies; they’re already on parchment paper ready to go. Once you have all of your biscuits, use melted butter or an egg wash to brush on each cookie, and finish by sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on them; golden brown is perfect). The biscuits themselves are more on the salty side, so I usually serve them with something sweeter, like ice cream, jam, or mango mousse. Fresh fruit would probably be really good, too!
2. Make jar pies. Okay, so these are technically pies. But they’re so easy and cute! And the best thing is, you can hold off on baking and store them in the freezer - that way you can have fresh pie whenever you crave it.
Line a small canning jar (it must be oven-safe! You don’t want it shattering in the oven!) with your dough. Fill it with whatever fresh fruit you desire, or use canned pie filling. I chopped up half of a Fuji apple for my pie, and I made another with fresh, chopped peaches. Mix cinnamon sugar with your fruit, and fill your pie. I used the lid of the jar as a cookie cutter for the top of the pie, placed that dough over the fruit, and used a fork to crimp the edges. Cut slits in the dough to ventilate and either bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (again, keep an eye on it, as ovens differ) or put the jar lid on and freeze.
3. Make toaster pastries. I grew up on pop-tarts, so it makes sense that I would gravitate toward them as an adult. Homemade is always better, though, and with pie crust, you can easily make them!
Roll out the dough as thinly as you can and cut into rectangles using a knife or pizza cutter. Mine were about the size of a 3x5 card, so you could probably use those as a template if you wanted. I just eye-balled mine.
On your bottom pieces, fill with about a tablespoon or two of whichever filling you desire; pie filling, fresh fruit, jam, Nutella… you really have a lot of options! I opted for Nutella. Obviously. Keep the edges clear of any filling so you can seal the pastry.
Use an egg wash (I’ve seen some people use milk? I’ve never tried it) to brush around the edges of the bottom layer, and then place the top layer over everything. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal, and brush the top with the egg wash again. Use a knife to cut slits for ventilation, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the top (optional).
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Mmm!
Our Favorite Pie Crust (via Martha Stewart):
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 stick (8 teaspoons) butter, cold and cubed
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- Combine your dry ingredients in a bowl, and then add butter. Mix until it resembles a coarse meal with only a few pea-sized pieces remaining.
- Sprinkle in the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix well. The dough is ready when it is still crumbly, but will hold together when squeezed in your hand. Add more ice water if necessary, up to 2 more tablespoons.
- Transfer dough to your work surface and form into a 3/4” round disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (until firm).
- When ready to use, unwrap dough and roll out on floured wax paper.