I was really, really hoping I would have the time to make something strawberries-and-cream-y this year in honor of Wimbledon, because I love everything about Wimbledon and you can’t go wrong with strawberries and cream. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. It got ridiculously hot here, which I think probably was bad for the strawberries, plus we’re going on vacation today. So, if you’re looking for something lovely to eat while watching Wimbledon, take a look at the strawberries and cream cake over at Frugal Feeding. It looks fantastic. Or try his strawberries and Pimms clafoutis.
However, if you’re looking for something a bit more American, I can help. Fourth of July is rapidly approaching, and what’s more American than pie?
I’ve had some trouble with pie crust in the past, and I’m still not exactly a pro at lattice tops. But I have I workaround for you that looks even cooler. And more patriotic.
You’ll see that I used a food processor to make this crust. It’s just easier. You can do it without one, but I would recommend using a pastry blender if you’ve had trouble with pie crusts in the past. The key either way is to just blend the butter a tiny bit — you want little chunks of butter still visible in there, so just a few pulses of the food processor are plenty. And notice that this pie crust is all butter. No shortening.
If you’re using a food processor, you can just pour the icy cold water in through the little tube thingy at the top to turn it into an actual dough.
See the chunks of butter in there? That’s a good thing.
That’s right. My secret to a beautiful two-crust pie? Skip the second crust and just cut out a bunch of little stars (or hearts) and scatter them on top of the pie filling. It looks fancy and is way easier (at least for me) than trying to roll out and match a second circle.
Pie crust (Makes enough for two single crust pies or one double-crust pie, adapted from Epicurious)
1 cup (2 sticks) COLD unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or pastry flour, or a combination of both)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup ice water (you may not need this much, but might as well ice extra!)
Cut the butter into small cubes and set aside (or stick in fridge). If you have trouble cutting the butter up, place a little bit of flour on the cutting surface you’re using.
Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together to add air, or blend it in a food processor. Add the butter pieces to the mixture and press the “pulse” button a few times. If the butter pieces aren’t distributed, press the pulse button 2-3 more times. The butter pieces should be about the size of small peas, but a bit larger is fine (as long as they are distributed throughout the flour.
Pull the tube thingy out of the top of the food processor lid and pour 3 tablespoons of ice water down into the dough. Pulse a few times. If the dough, still seems very dry add another tablespoon or so of water and press the pulse button a few more times. Continue until mixture starts to come together as a dough — although it’s OK if there are still some floury bits.
Gather the dough together in your hands and divide into two balls, one a little larger than the other. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes (I have actually gone ahead and rolled out the dough at this point, but it is a little easier to chill it first).
Once dough is chilled, lay down some parchment paper or a silicone mat and lightly sprinkle flour over the paper/mat. Rub a little flour on your rolling pin. Take the larger dough ball out of the fridge/freezer and place on the floured surface and sprinkle a little more flour on top (you don’t want to add a ton of flour to the dough here, so if you have problems with dough sticking your the rolling pin, put another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough to roll out).
Roll out the dough into a circle, changing the direction of the rolling pin as you go (e.g. don’t just roll back and forth in one direction). Once the circle is large enough that it will hang over the edge of the pie plate, loosely roll the circle around the rolling pin and unroll into the pie plate, making sure you don’t pull and stretch the dough as you settle it in. Cut off any edges that hang more than 1/2 inch or so beyond the edge of the pie plate.
After you’ve added the pie filling to the first crust, put some more flour on the work surface and take the second dough ball out of the fridge/freezer. Roll out into a similar circle, if desired, or just roll out to desired thickness and use a small cookie cutter to cut several hearts or stars, then scatter the shapes around the top of the pie, making sure some of them overlap. Bake the pie as directed.