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Everything You Should Know About Pies

Making Plain Pastry for Pies

Traditional Procedure in
Making Plain Pastry

The first step in the making of plain pastry consists in sifting the flour with the salt into the mixing bowl. After this has been done, the fat should be worked into the flour, an operation that may be accomplished in three ways.

1. The method very commonly adopted is to work in the fat with the fingers; but this plan has its disadvantages in that it is not a very agreeable way and the fat becomes so warmed by the higher temperature of the fingers that it is liable to impair the finished product.

Some people mix the fat with the flour by fork, using this utensil to crush the lumps of fat against the sides of the bowl. This method is much better than using fingers, but it takes longer and it is harder.

By far the most satisfactory method and the one that produces the best results is to put the required amount of fat into the bowl containing the flour and the salt, and then, with pastry blender cut the fat into the flour until the particles of fat are about the size of a small pea. As can readily be seen, this method, which is perhaps as speedy as any method that may be adopted, has the advantage of being entirely sanitary.

The second step in the making of plain pastry consists of adding the liquid to the mixture of flour and fat. Heap the particles up in the center of the bowl, make a depression in the mixture, and pour the water into this in a thin stream, stirring the mixture all the time with a knife or a spatula. Be careful to add just enough water to make the mass of fat and flour barely cling together. As soon as the water has been added, gather the mixture into a mass preparatory to rolling it out on the board.

At this point, flour the molding board or other surface slightly, shape enough of the dough mixture to cover a pie pan into a rounded mass, and place it on the floured space. Then roll it out with the rolling pin until it is about 1/8 inch in thickness, using a light, careful motion and keeping the piece of dough as nearly round as possible, so that it will fit the pan it is intended to cover.

When the rolling has been completed, roll the edge of the pastry over the rolling pin, hold it carefully over the pie pan, and unroll it gradually so that it will fall in the right place and cover the pan properly. With the paste in the pan, press it lightly with the fingers in order to make it cling closely to the bottom and the sides. Then trim the paste evenly by running a knife around the edge of the pan. When this is done, the pan is properly covered with paste for a one-crust pie or with the bottom crust for a pie that is to have two crusts.

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A perforated pie tin is an advantage in the baking of shells or single-crust pies, for it prevents the air from becoming confined between the pan and the crust and producing air spaces that would cause blisters to form as the pie is baked. If desired, the crust may be placed over the back of the pan and baked, thus forming a shell that may be filled with a cooked filling and served.
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