Who would have thought that your leftover vodka could make a pie crust even more delicious? Not me, until this weekend, when a two dollar 5-lb bag of apples and pears at the Union Square Farmer’s Market basically twisted my arm into making pie. I quickly looked through some old Cook’s Illustrated magazines, and in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue (pages 22-23), there was a recipe for awesome pie crust that can be found here or on the Cook’s Illustrated site if you log in for a free trial.
These are my changes to the recipe, and I was very happy with them:
- I used all whole wheat flour.
- Skipped adding the sugar, and added less salt.
- I only used the 1 1/2 sticks of butter – no shortening. You don’t need it. Trust me. Besides, shortening is disgusting.
- I needed almost 3 cups of flour, instead of 2.5 they suggest.
These are my notes/suggestions for next time:
- I wish I used all vodka and no water, and slightly less than the 1/4 cup total. I bet it would be good.
- I wish I let the crust rest for longer than 45 minutes in the fridge.
- Wow! I rolled out the crust between two pieces of wax paper and needed no flour dusting and it was remarkably easy to deal with.
- Next time, I’ll start the pie at 375 for 30 minutes, turn and then 325 for 30. Even on the bottom rack, the top crust cooked too quickly. I had to foil cover my edges.
- Perhaps one of these pie-making days, I’ll actually blind bake the crust.
For the filling, I just used sliced, peeled apples that I heated slowly over low heat for 20 minutes in a covered dutch oven (as Cook’s recommends — don’t let them get above 140 degrees) with sprinkled cinnamon and a tiny bit of ginger on them. I added sliced pear to that mixture after it cooled down. I never add sugar to an apple or pear pie. Totally unnecessary.