No-Shrink Pie Dough

No-Shrink Pie DoughUpper Crust
Thanksgiving can be stressful. That is no great revelation. The stress can come from many sources. For some, it’s having their entire family under one roof and the tension that can cause. For others, it can be the actual meal preparation. I’ve had numerous conversations over the years about what stresses people out about the Thanksgiving meal. For some, it’s the cooking of the turkey. For others, it’s having enough drippings for a really tasty gravy. But, without a doubt, the thing that causes the most stress, at least according to the people I have spoken to, is the pie crust.

I can’t really speak for other families, but in mine, the pie course of the Thanksgiving meal is extremely important so when the pie crust doesn’t work it’s a problem. Last year my daughter and I were responsible for the making of the pies and because I didn’t want to ruin Thanksgiving, I did a lot of research on pie crust. I tried A LOT of them. I basically landed on two that I thought were the best. One is a traditional half butter and half shortening pie crust. This is the pie crust I use year-round for everything from sweet pies to pot pies.

The other is a crust that uses a technique I had never heard of before that comes from Japanese bread baking that uses a cornstarch “gel” as the moisture for the pie crust. I was intrigued to say the least. The recipe was created by Christopher Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen fame but can be found along with a video on the Williams Sonoma website and on YouTube.

I used this crust for my pecan pies last year and the results were amazing! It’s very easy to work with and rolls out beautifully. The crust was flaky and tender but held up well to the filling. I have yet to try it on a two-crust pie, like apple. My sense is that it might be too “short” for that kind of pie but you never know.

If you are in charge of the pies this year and have some time this weekend to experiment, give this crust a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

No-Shrink Pie Dough
Adapted from Christopher Kimball and William’s Sonoma
Yields one 9-inch pie crust

3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold salted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

Whisk together the water and cornstarch in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the mixture for 20 seconds and open the oven to stir. Then microwave it again until set (about 10 to 20 additional seconds). Place the bowl in the freezer and chill for 10 minutes.

Cut the chilled butter into 1/2-inch cubes.

When the cornstarch mixture is chilled, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process until combined (about 5 seconds). Add the chilled cornstarch mixture and pulse until it is evenly distributed (about 5 pulses). Add the butter and sour cream and process until the dough comes together and begins to collect around the blade (about 20 to 30 seconds).

Remove the dough from the food processor and pat it into a 4-inch disk, wrap the dough int in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

If you opt for ceiling the dough for more than a few hours, it will need a few minutes on the counter to soften before rolling.

View the YouTube video here.

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