This is Part 3 in a 4-part series on an Apple Pie Service Project, that has turned into 5 parts. Click here to see Part 1, here to see Part 2.
Rolling is easiest if you have a pastry cloth (an old pillow case will do) and a cover on your rolling pin. I use a tube sock with the toe cut out.
When you get ready to roll out, fill a pitcher with ice water. Take a large bowl and put in 4½ cups of mix. Measure ½ cup + 2 Tbsp. of ice water and sprinkle it slowly over the crust mix, all the while fluffing it with a fork. (You can do this with a Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle on. The problem is, you MUST NOT OVERMIX, and the amount of water you need varies with the flour you used. It’s easy to mix too long or get the crust too wet or too dry using a mixer.)
The mix will start to gather into small, moist, loosely packed clumps. When you’ve added all the water, gather some of the clumps together in a ball about the size of a hardball. This is your first crust. Let the rest sit while you roll it out. You may have to add a sprinkle of water as you stir and toss for crusts two, three and four out of this batch. Again, it’s best to use your hands only at the last as you gather crust to put in a ball, because the heat of your hand will cause the shortening to melt into the flour. If you’re only able to get 3 ½ crusts out of the 4 1/2 cups of mix, then put five cups in your bowl for the next batch you mix.
Dust your pastry cloth with flour and roll your rolling pin over it to gather flour on the sock. Place your ball of crust on the cloth and roll it into a long oval, probably about 4 inches by eight inches. Pick it up, dust the cloth with flour again, and turn it so it’s horizontal. Roll the sideways oval until it’s pretty round. (At this time, I usually go around the edges with my fingers and press all the little knobby things back into the circle so the end product will have a smooth outline.)
Keep rolling, turning your pin to the different points of the compass, so that the roundness will stay. Turn the crust over and dust the cloth again, if necessary.
When your crust is big enough to fit into your pie pan and hang over the edge about a half inch or more, roll it loosely around your rolling pin and unroll it over the pan.
Gently press the crust down into the pan and cut the crust about ½ inch away from the edge of the pan, all the way around.
If you plan on doing crusts quite a while ahead of time, you will need freezer space and waxed paper. As you put the crust into the bottom pans, you stack them ten high with a piece of waxed paper between each one. Then you put them in a large plastic bag, seal, and freeze.
Drop by next time for Part 4. I’ll talk about rolling top crusts and assembling. Part 5 will be about baking and delivering the final product.
If you have any questions, write them as comments and I’ll answer quickly.
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