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Pie Crust Question

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
The other night I saw an Alton Brown episode in which he made a quiche, although he called his creations "refrigerator pie," so maybe they are somewhat different than a true quiche. Anyway, they looked to be very easy to make, and would probably fit in very well @ Casa Shel. AB seemed to use a prepared pie shell, which is the way I'd like to go. So, when buying a prepared shell, is there anything I should be looking for or be aware of? Are some partially cooked? Are all premade pie shells pretty much the same, or are there quality differences that would be obvious by reading the label or looking at the crust? Can they be purchased at a bakery instead of a supermarket? I think Whole Foods has 'em, but I'd have to check.

Anyway, I'm completely ignorant about these items, so any help, ideas, or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!

shel
post #2 of 13
Prepared pie crusts are invariably uncooked and unfortunately vary considerably in quality.
I recently tested a wide variety of them for a publication to find which was the best available.
Whole Foods does make a nice one with real butter and no artificial ingredients. It even comes in a whole wheat version which is nice, but a little too sweet in my view.
Of the wider commercially available ones the one I liked the best is the one made by a company called "Oronoque Orchards" . It contains no preservatives, is available in the freezer section and bakes up into a nice crispy and flakey crust.
Forgo the refrigerated Pillsbury dough that you just unroll into a pie plate. These are funny tasting, bake up kind of tough and don't brown as nicely as others.
The other one I like is the Betty Crocker pie crust mix where you just add cold water, mix it up and roll it out. Always great, flakey with good flavor but subject to the individual's skill in mixing and rolling.

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Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #3 of 13

Pie shells.....

I like to when I have time make pastry, both sweet and plain, roll it out and cut into 10 inch circles, place them in large Tupperware or similar containers, with a disk of kitchen parchment between each, and freeze, one for sweet and one for plain, I can then remove what I want let thaw a little and use. special pastry I make as needed.

Every day pastry, made in Cuisinart
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cold salted butter cut into cubes,
Pulse together to look like bread crumbs, add
1 cold egg and less than 1/4 cup cold water, pulse that all together till it starts to gather together, using a spot more water if needed.
tip dough onto floured counter, quickly gather together by hand to form a ball.
I roll out the pastry right away as it is already cold, cut to size wanted.
The same recipe apply's for sweet pastry just add 1/4 cup sugar to pulse in before adding egg and water. qahtan
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
A big Thanks! to you ... exactly what I wanted to know. Checked for the Oronoque Orchards and couldn't find the crusts on line or in my area, so I'll hit WF and buy a couple the next time in the area.

shel
post #5 of 13
Yeah, I kind of thought those Oronoque Orchards pie shells might be a product that is particular to the NE. Never saw them in Florida or NC when I lived and worked there.
The Whole Foods ones are good, I just object to the inflated pricing structure that they use.
I think Trader Joe's might have a servicable product too, but I've found that what's available in the east coast stores is not always the same as the product mix in the west.
Good luck

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Liquored up and laquered down,
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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
In general, I agree with you wrt WF prices, but at least around here some of their items are better quality and comparable or less than TJ's pricewise. I'll take a look @ TJ's and see if they've got crusts. They're closer than WF. Don't recall seeing them there, however, although they do sell various doughs that are readyto roll out. With TJ's what's available may vary from store to store in the same area, and from day to day in the same store. Their prices are starting to climb here, though, and the quality of some of their items is slipping.

shel
post #7 of 13
I live in the west-ish, and TJ's does sell a pie crust here, not too bad, although I think I prefer the Whole Foods one, which is a little more expensive I think.

Gee, and I thought I was the only one to think that!
post #8 of 13
It's okay in a pinch, but I haven't read the label lately.

I have used to use the ready-to-roll and bake Pillsbury crusts. They're not bad, but when I found out they have lard in them I stopped using them to make desserts I would bring to my synagogue. :eek:

Now I use the simple recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook: flour, salt, ice water and shortening or shortening plus lard. Actually, I used Fleishman's margarine. It was better than the boxed mixes I've used and worked up very quickly. After an hour in the fridge it rolled out great. I used it for homemade chicken pot pie. :lips:
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm gonna have to make my own crust some day. Seems simple enough ...

shel
post #10 of 13
DO IT !!! It's as easy as, welll, ....ummmm....pie ;) My personal recipe is also very "basic" , but includes a small amount of granulated sugar as well. Cut the butter or shortening into the flour, dissolve the salt (and sugar if desired) in the cold water, and mix gently - slightly undermixed is way better than overmixed - I hate prepared doughs/shells, as the dough has the feel of having been extremely mis-handled, which is likely due to mixing on a tremendously large scale, unfortunately. Making great pie dough is as much or more the mixing process as it is the recipe, really. easy does it :cool:
At the moment, I'm adding thyme and black pepper to my pie dough for savory 4" shells for a small mid-course salad for our current menu at work.
Bakers - we make a lot of dough, but not so much money
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Bakers - we make a lot of dough, but not so much money
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post #11 of 13

Pastry..

If you check back to #posting you will see I have posted my recipe for pastry. qahatn
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yes, I saw it - thank you. I'd just not gotten around to acknowledging your post.

shel
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions and ideas. At some point I'll make a pie crust, especially if I want something special or out of the ordinary, such as with spices or herbs or of a particular size.

I bought a couple of shells today. There is a "trendy-spendy" market across from a client's house, so curiosity got the better of me since A) Trader Joe's had no shells and B) Whole Foods is all the way across town, and getting there @ 5:00pm could take a while because of traffic.

This place had a Betty Crocker shell, which was out of the question, but it was good to see the size, texture, price, and ingredient list. Another was from Mrs. Smiths, which makes frozen pies that a lot of people seem to like, but I chose to avoid that one as well since it looked deeper than what I wanted and because the other two looked more interesting. They were organic, looked to be about the depth I wanted, and came in whole wheat or regular. All the shells were in 2-packs - I guess that's normal. So, for $3.99 (a bit on the high side?) I got two regular organic shells in which to make the "refrigerator pies." For the moment, mission accomplished. Next is the taste and baking tests. Can't wait.

Shel
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