Pie crusts are a snap with your bread machine. Here are some of the great things you can do with them.
Pie crusts are an intimidating recipe ingredient for many people. Maybe that’s why so many folks buy ready-made pie crusts at the grocery store. Unfortunately, they’re a bit expensive. For a lot less money you can make your own pie crusts in your bread machine and then use them to create confections from fruit pie to pot pies and pasty’s.
The key to a pie crust is butter that’s been partially frozen in the freezer and ice water. You’ll also need to dice the partially frozen butter into small cubes to help it integrate into the dough. From a conceptual standpoint you’re trying to mix the still solid butter into the dough, while the ice water is helping to offset the friction of the kneading paddle to keep the butter from melting.
I’ll usually make more pie dough than I need and refrigerate or freeze the excess. Pie dough wrapped in plastic wrap will keep in your refrigerator for one week and in your freezer for up to two weeks. Make sure you take the frozen dough out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours before trying to roll it out. It’s great to have some pie dough on hand especially when you see how easy it is to improvise a recipe quickly and easily using the dough as a base.
The standard flour for pie dough is all-purpose flour. The other ingredients are butter, water and a bit of salt. No yeast or rising is necessary. Our goal is to demonstrate a range of recipes and styles that will let you incorporate pie crusts into a widening variety of recipes and tastes. Here’s the basic pie dough recipe.
Pie Crust Recipe:
(Makes two 9-inch pie crusts)
- 1/2 cup very cold water (allow the ice to sit in the water and then measure out the 1/2 cup)
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks that you should freeze for 15 to 20 minutes)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Add the ingredients in the order indicated and select pasta dough course. When the dough is done, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
Once you have your pie dough on hand you’re ready to explore all of the ways you can create meals and desserts with pie dough as a foundation. This strawberry pie recipe is simple and delicious.
Strawberry Pie Recipe:
(Makes a 9-inch pie)
- 2 pie crusts rolled to at least 9 inches in diameter
- 1 quart of fresh strawberries
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 3 tablespoons of corn starch
- 3/4 cup water
- egg yolk for glazing
- Slice the strawberries into quarters and toss with the corn starch in a bowl. Add the sugar and toss again. Add the water and blend and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Butter a 9-inch pie pan. Preheat the oven to 425° F./220° C. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is at least 9 inches or more in diameter and place over the pie pan. You can roll the dough around a rolling pin and then unroll it over the pan to make it easier to handle. Poke the bottom of the dough with a fork and add the strawberry filling. Top the pie with another sheet of pie dough. Press the edges of the dough together around the rim. Trim off the excess dough using a knife. Make an egg glaze from one egg yolk and a tablespoon of water. Mix the glaze and brush over the top of the pie. Poke the top crust with a fork and make a small hole in the center with a knife to let steam escape.
- Bake on a foil lined cookie sheet at 425° F./220° C. for 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is browned. The cookie sheet will catch any drips that emerge from the seams. Let rest for 30 minutes and slice and serve. Top with whipped cream or ice cream if you like.
- You can do many variations on this basic fruit pie with blueberries, peaches and apples. The recipes are easy to find and easy to make when you already have the pie dough on hand. But it’s not just about fruit pies. You can also make pot pies with chicken, beef or just vegetables using your pie crusts. Here’s an easy recipe for chicken pot pie.
Chicken Pot Pie Recipe:
(Makes one 9-inch pie)
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1/2 cup sliced celery
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
- 1 egg yolk for glazing.
Sauté the carrots, onions and celery in the butter until the onions are translucent. Stir in the flour and blend into the butter and vegetable mix. Add the chicken broth and milk and simmer until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and celery seed and add the chicken and peas. Stir and remove from heat. Preheat oven to 375° F./190° C. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan or 9-inch pie pan with butter. Put the first dough sheet into the pan and poke bottom with a fork. Add the chicken mixture to the pan and top with another sheet of pie dough. Crimp the edges with a fork and trim the excess with a knife. Mix one egg yolk with a tablespoon of water and glaze and then poke holes in top with a fork. Bake at 375° F./190° C. for 45 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes and serve.
While many pie recipes call for a pie pan, there are some variations that can create a hand-held pie that’s portable and fun to eat. They make for a great surprise in a school lunch, or a fun dessert after a casual meal.
Blueberry Pocket Pies Recipe:
(Makes 4 pocket pies)
- 2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 6-inch round pie crusts
- 1 egg yolk for sealing and glaze
Toss blueberries in corn starch and then toss in sugar. Let blueberries rest for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400° F./205° C. Paint a thin stripe of egg yolk around perimeter of 6-inch round pie crust. Spoon 1/4 of the blueberry mixture into center of the crust and fold over. Quickly seal the crust around the edges with your fingers and then crimp gently with a fork. Place the pocket pie on a buttered cookie sheet and glaze with the egg yolk. Do the same with the remaining three crusts. Bake at 400° F./205° C. for 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes and either serve or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one week.
The traditional Cornish pasty is made with puff pastry, but we’re going to keep it simple and use our pie crust. It’s similar to the pocket pie but with protein variations from eggs to ground beef similar to many Cornish Pasty recipes. We’re going to make a breakfast version with some classic breakfast tastes combined and sealed in the dough. This makes a great breakfast on the go before work or school, or a fun weekend breakfast treat.
Breakfast Pasty Recipe:
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 8 eggs
- 4 breakfast sausage links
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced sweet bell pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 6-inch round pie crusts
Cook the sausage and set aside, Sauté the peppers and onions in the butter until onions are translucent. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add to pan with peppers and onions and scramble. Preheat oven to 400° F./205° C. Paint a this stripe of egg yolk around perimeter of 6-inch round pie crust. Place a sausage in the center of the pie dough and spoon 1/4 of the egg mixture into center of the crust over the sausage and sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese and fold over. Quickly seal the crust around the edges with your fingers and then crimp gently with a fork. Place the pasty on a buttered cookie sheet and glaze with the egg yolk. Do the same with the remaining three crusts. Bake at 400° F./205° C. for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve immediately or wrap and go.
There are as many variations for pocket pies or pie crust pasty’s as there are for fruit and pot pies. Some people put sloppy joes into a pocket pie or cold cuts with cheese. There’s no limit whether you use a pie pan or simply fold the crust over for a pocket. Pie crusts are easy to make in your bread machine and offer you a versatile way to expand your everyday meals.