Quite a number of months ago when I was on the hunt for the perfect pastry dough I came across this post on Annalise’s blog Completely Delicious.
I remember at the time thinking it weird to put buttermilk into the dough, but that sort of addition no longer phases me. I decided that I’d have to try the recipe at some time. I even bought a pie plate in preparation. Briscoes was having one of their
many sales and I saw the pie dish and had grand plans of making loads of pies filled with fresh fruits that would soon be coming in Summer.
Well they might have come but they never reduced in price and the pies never eventuated.
Anyway I had it in my mind that I needed to make a pie with caramel. And I came across this post for a Salted Caramel Apple Pie on the blog A Cozy Kitchen. I have indeed made the pie and you’ll find my account of making it here.
Not only is the use of buttermilk slightly left field, so is the method in which you form the dough. You roll the cubed batter into long sections, into the flour. This is what makes it flaky and ensures it puffs during baking.
It was actually really simple. It took a bit longer than blitzing the whole lot in a food processor (my usual method), but I find the whole rolling out to be quite therapeutic and it’s fun to watch the dough form. If I thought about the time it would take for me to rearrange the appliances so I could get to the food processor, and the cleaning up, rolling the dough using this method is probably cleaner and quicker. And you get the satisfaction of saying you did it all by hand.
I was almost giggly seeing long strands of rolled butter.
For me I didn’t need to add any extra Vodka, or water if you prefer, to the dough. But then I’ve since found that our cup measurements are 10ml more than a US cup equivalent. So I probably did have just a little more liquid. Actually I see Annalise has her measurement as 118ml, I’ve just been making cakes from Rosie’s blog, Sweetapolita, where Rosie has the liquid measurement of a 1/2 cup as 120ml. It’s a little mind boggling when you’re making recipes from other countries where their measures are slightly different. And then sometimes they can differ within the same country!
I love using my rolling pin. I love the guides that ensure the dough thickness is even. I took the dough disks out about 5 minutes before I began to roll them. It takes a few strokes before it starts to give a little, so be patient, it will happy. I needed to give the rolling pin a light dusting every 12 or so strokes, but the dough never stuck to the bench, and I didn’t have to add any extra flour other than the relatively light scattering I gave it before unwrapping the dough.
As you roll you’ll rotate the dough every 4 or so strokes to make sure the disk still remains formed in a circle. I was generally rolling from the middle to the outer edge furtherest from me. But I knew I would never end up with the middle thinner than the rest so I guess I didn’t have to worry about that with the way I rolled.
You can still see bits of butter in the dough. And that is what makes the dough still puff up and become flaky as it’s baking.
For the top of my pie I cut the dough into heart shapes of two sizes. After making the shapes I put them on a baking sheet and popped them back into the fridge while I prepared the filling.
I had some dough left and gave it a light knead and covered it again in Gladwrap and popped it back in the fridge along with the hearts, just in case I needed more hearts to completely cover the top of my pie. And as it happened, I did need a few more hearts. The dough rolled nicely again but it was more pliable because it was no longer as cold. But I can’t see any difference in the way the top baked.
Yep, plenty of butter still tucked nicely into the dough. I didn’t trim the sides of the plate, I expected the dough would shrink as it baked. So even though there was a little overhang to where I placed my hearts, it doesn’t look too untidy. And the dough did shrink a bit during baking.
Now how about that for flaky dough. No doubt about the claims that this method will ensure the dough puffs. The small hearts had puffed within several minutes of the pie being put into the oven.
And there we have it.
How to make perfectly flaky pie crust by Annalise of Completely Delicious
- 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk, cold
- 1-2 tablespoons vodka or water, cold
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl so that the cubed butter is covered with the flour.
- Tip the contents of the bowl onto a clean bench.
- Using a rolling pin begin to roll the lumps of butter so they’re layered in the flour.
- If any of the butter clings to the rolling pin use a bench scraper or knife to coax it off.
- You may need to gather the flour into a mound. Continue to roll the butter cubes into the flour.
- If the butter begins to soften too much, scrape all of the flour/butter back into the bowl and put it in the fridge to chill the butter.
- Once all the butter has been rolled flat and mixed with the flour (it will still be a mostly dry mix) put it all back into a bowl, and place the bowl into the freezer for around 15 minutes to chill the butter.
- Once the butter is chilled pour the buttermilk into the bowl and using a large spoon begin to mix the buttermilk. After a few strokes you’ll more or less feel like you’re cutting through the mixture to help evenly combine the wet and dry ingredients.
- When you feel the spoon is no longer helping, get stuck in with your hands beginning to gather the moistened mixture into a ball.
- Add the extra Vodka or water if necessary to get the ingredients to cling together, but you don’t want the dough to be wet.
- Once you have formed the dough divide into two (use scales if you want to be accurate) and press each half into a round disc.
- Wrap each disc well in Gladwrap and return the dough to the fridge for a minimum of an hour, and up to three days.
- When you come to use the dough bring it out of the fridge around 5 minutes before rolling.
- Use as directed in your pie recipe.
- I rolled my dough out to a 4mm thickness which gave me a 12” dough circle which only just came over the sides of the pie dish. You can always roll a little thinner if you want a slightly larger covering allowing you to do something fancy with the edges of the pie.
- I made the dough Friday evening and used it Sunday morning.
Annalise has some really great step-by-step photos on her blog, if you’re a visual person like me you’ll find these photos really helpful.