Pie crust has intimidation written all over it. So let's bring it down to where it belongs — you only need a few key pieces of information. For me it comes down to one formula plus three tricks. Trust me, you can do this.
So when you make this crust, fill it with sweetened fruit and you have homemade pie. Just take it step by step — and then show off like crazy.
For one single-crust 9 to 10 inch pie, which holds 4 to 6 cups of fruit, you'll need:
1. For a food processor, put all of this into the bowl with steel blade (if they've been chilled, all the better). Pulse until you get a really rough mixture that looks like big peas on steroids in crumbles of flour.
2. If you're doing it by hand, put everything into a mixing bowl, and smoosh the butter chunks and flour mix together quickly with your fingers (work fast because you don't want to melt the butter, you want it in big flakes) until the mixture looks like what's described above.
Next, we add something wet:
TRICK #1: Don't overmix. Toss the wet and dry together with a fork (in the mixing bowl) or with a very few pulses (in food processor). You want it clumpy. You do not want it to look like cookie dough.
TRICK #2: Chill, Chill, Chill. Every time you mix or handle the dough, chill it again. That's how it gets tender. This means once it's mixed, gather it in a ball and flatten it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes to overnight. Once you've rolled it out and put it in a pie pan (use shiny metal, not dark or glass), or a cookie sheet, chill it again 30 minutes to overnight.
TRICK #3: Don't let the dough get warm until it's in the oven.
That's it — you have pie crust dough.
To make a pie, you don't even need a pie pan. You could use a skillet, or cookie sheet, or upside down roasting pan — yeah, any flat metal surface will do.
Roll out the dough, chill it, then pile lots of sweetened fruit in the center (4 to 5 cups), flip over the sides, and you have a pie ready to bake. Bake at 400ÂºF until the juices are bubbling, and the crust is rich golden brown.
And there you have it — the pie crust formula with three tricks.
© 2010, Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, is studying whether the experience of being a virtual cow will make people feel more empathy. "[Our previous work] showed that if you had occupied the avatar of another person, you showed empathy toward them," Bailenson says. "But no one had ever tried this with another species."