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Other Writings and Recipes

Pie Dough, A Project in Many Parts

Vidhi Dattani

Chefs prep dishes in steps to handle volumes of orders efficiently and well.  Home cooks can take cues from this professional system to streamline and personalize their own kitchen work.  Let’s take, for example, the making of pie.

Recipes generally assume the home cook will follow its sequence of steps in one or two sessions.  We do not.  In breaking down a recipe into increments suitable to your available and convenient time, you can make a once-ambitious project doable for everyday.  This is one way we teach to “Purple Kale” a recipe.  We particularly like doing this with pie.

PIE DOUGH, PREPPED

Below is a breakdown of various possible prepping points for a savory pastry dough, Pate Brisee.  What’s most impressive is not only how little time each individual step takes, but how far in advance you can begin–even as much as a season away.  Also, you can make many pie shells in the same total time it takes to complete one.  Lastly, with slabs of dough on hand, you are not only one step closer to pie, you’ll have options for other “quick” pastry dishes, too.

Notes:  The steps shown below may be done singly, over the course of days or months, or all at once, in an hour.  How you do proceed is entirely up to you.

PREP ONE: MEASURE AND STORE DRY INGREDIENTS

(up to 6 months in advance; store in freezer)

DSC_0568-600x398.jpg
Pouring flour into storage bag.

Pouring flour into storage bag.

Adding sugar/salt to each prepped package.

Adding sugar/salt to each prepped package.

The flour mixture ready to store.

The flour mixture ready to store.

PREP TWO: MEASURING AND CUTTING THE BUTTER

(up to 3 months in advance; store in freezer, but thaw in refrigerator before making dough)

Cutting the butter.

Cutting the butter.

Storing butter and dry ingredients together.

Storing butter and dry ingredients together.

PREP THREE: MAKING THE DOUGH

(Shown here, in food processor. 24 hours and up to 1 month in advance; store in freezer, but thaw in refrigerator overnight before rolling dough)

Butter/flour bag into food processor.

Butter/flour bag into food processor.

Finished dough.

Finished dough.

Formed into slab.

Formed into slab.

Divide into two portions.

Divide into two portions.

Dough wrapped and labeled for resting/storage.

Dough wrapped and labeled for resting/storage.

PREP FOUR: ROLLING AND SHAPING DOUGH

(up to 2 weeks in advance; freeze on a flat tray, but thaw in refrigerator for a couple of hours before shaping)

Rolling out dough.

Rolling out dough.

Resting/storing on parchment.

Resting/storing on parchment.

PREP FIVE: SHAPING TO PIE DISH

(up to 2 weeks in advance; if not using within 24 hours, freeze again and thaw in refrigerator before using)

Transferring to pie dish.

Transferring to pie dish.

Shaping pie dough.

Shaping pie dough.

Ready for filling/storing for later use.

Ready for filling/storing for later use.