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      RECIPE TITLE "Flaky Pie Dough" recipe from Baking with Julia: Sift, Knead, Flute, Flour, And Savor...
    © Copyright 1996 by Julia Child, Contributing Baker Leslie Mackie

    ... more great recipes by  Julia Child on our GREAT CHEFS page!

    yields Makes enough dough for four 9- to 10-inch tarts or open-faced pies or 2 double-crusted pies. time--- difficultyeasy

    Bakers like to talk about the "secrets" of making great pie crusts. In truth, there are tips, but no unknowable secrets and nothing daunting enough to explain why cool, calm, collected types turn nervous at the thought of tackling a pie crust.

    Like the fillings they cradle, crusts have personalities: crisp, tender, and flaky—or some combination thereof. Which traits are dominant is, in good measure, a result of ingredients: Butter is the great giver of flavor and vegetable shortening the flake maker; together they produce a crust both flaky and tender, sweet and full-flavored, the kind most prized by American pie hands. This mixed crust (the best example of which follows) can be used for pies and tarts, sweet and savory, American- or European-style.

    An all-butter doughwill give you a crisp, sturdy crust with little flakiness (unless the butter is left in largish pieces). When prebaked on its own, a butter crust will stand firm against juicy fillings. Handled properly, a butter crust is strong enough to be rolled out and molded into a free-form shape or a galette. For most bakers, an all-shortening crust is usually not an option, because, although it produces lots of flake, it delivers almost no flavor.

    If you could have only one pie dough in your repertoire (heaven forbid), it would have to be this one, the classic dough that earns blue ribbons at county fairs and stars at esteemed pastry shops. The mix of butter and shortening guarantees that the dough will be flaky, flavorful, and tender. You can use this dough to makeany kind of pie or tart, sweet or savory, plain or fancy. It is easy to roll and crimp and is made quickly by hand, in a mixer, or food processor. The recipe is large and can be cut in half or even quartered, but since the dough can be frozen for up to a month, it's practical to make the full batch. You can freeze the dough in disks, rolled out in circles, or already fitted into pie pans or tart molds, ready to go into the oven-without thawing—when you're in a crunch for a crust.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    5-1/4 cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon kosher salt
    1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    1 3/4 cups (11 ounces) solid vegetable shortening, chilled
    1 cup ice water

      RECIPE METHOD

    To make the dough by hand, mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender (or your fingers, if you prefer), cut it into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Be patient—this takes a while. Break up the shortening and add it in bits to the bowl. Still working with the pastry blender (or your fingers), cut in the shortening until the mixture has small clumps and curds. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water, stirring to incorporate it. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself a few times—don't get carried away. The dough will be soft, but it will firm sufficiently in the refrigerator.

    To make the dough in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, put the flour and salt into the bowl and stir to mix. Add the butter and mix on low until it is cut into the dry ingredients and the mixture looks coarse and crumbly. Add the shortening in small bits and continue to mix on low. When the mixture is clumpy and curdy and holds together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers, add the water and mix only until it is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself two or three times, just to finish the mixing and to gather it together.

    To make the dough in a food processor, start with very cold ingredients and take care not to overwork them. Place the dry ingredients in the food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse just to mix. Take the top off, scatter the chilled cubed butter and shortening over the flour, cover, and pulse again, working only until the fats are cut in and the mixture resembles slightly moist cornmeal. Add a little of the liquid and pulse a few times, then add more liquid and pulse again. Continue until the mixture has curds and clumps and sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Don't process until the dough forms a ball that rides on the blade—that's overdoing it.

    Chilling the Dough: Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for as long as 5 days. When the dough is thoroughly chilled and firm, it is ready to roll out and use in any recipe calling for flaky pie crust.

    Storing: The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 5 days or frozen for 1 month. It's a good idea to divide the dough into quarters for freezing since one quarter of the recipe is generally enough for one pie crust or tart shell. Defrost, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.


    HOT!We recommend:

    book coverJulia and Jacques Cooking at Home
    The companion volume to the public television series Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home

    Two legendary cooks, Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, invite us into their kitchen and show us the basics of good home cooking.
    What makes this book unique is the richness of information they offer on every page, as they demonstrate techniques (on which they don't always agree), discuss ingredients, improvise, balance flavors to round out a meal, and conjure up new dishes from leftovers. Center stage in these pages are carefully spelled-out recipes flanked by Julia's comments and Jacques's comments--the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime of honing their cooking skills. Nothing is written in stone, they imply. And that is one of the most important lessons for every good cook.
    So sharpen your knives and join in the fun as you learn to make . . .

    *--Appetizers--from traditional and instant grav-lax to your own sausage in brioche and a country p'té
    *--Soups--from New England chicken chowder and onion soup gratinée to Mediterranean seafood stew and that creamy essence of mussels, billi-bi
    *--Eggs--omelets and "tortillas"; scrambled, poached, and coddled eggs; eggs as a liaison for sauces and as the puffing power for soufflés
    *--Salads and Sandwiches--basic green and near-Nioise salads; a crusty round seafood-stuffed bread, a lobster roll, and a pan bagnat
    *--Potatoes--baked, mashed, hash-browned, scalloped, souffléd, and French-fried
    *--Vegetables--the favorites from artichokes to tomatoes, blanched, steamed, sautéed, braised, glazed, and gratinéed
    *--Fish--familiar varieties whole and filleted (with step-by-step instructions for preparing your own), steamed en papillote, grilled, seared, roasted, and poached, plus a classic sole meunière and the essentials of lobster cookery
    *--Poultry--the perfect roast chicken (Julia's way and Jacques's way); holiday turkey, Julia's deconstructed and Jacques's galantine; their two novel approaches to duck
    *--Meat--the right technique for each cut of meat (along with lessons in cutting up), from steaks and hamburger to boeuf bourguignon and roast leg of lamb
    *--Desserts--crème caramel, profiteroles, chocolate roulade, free-form apple tart--as you make them you'll learn all the important building blocks for handling dough, cooking custards, preparing fillings and frostings
    And much, much more . . .

    Throughout this richly illustrated book you'll see Julia's and Jacques's hands at work, and you'll sense the pleasure the two are having cooking together, tasting, exchanging ideas, joshing with each other, and raising a glass to savor the fruits of their labor. Again and again they demonstrate that cooking is endlessly fascinating and challenging and, while ultimately personal, it is a joy to be shared. More info...

    book coverMastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Fortieth - 40th - Anniversary Edition)
    "Anyone can cook in the French manner anywhere," wrote Mesdames Beck, Bertholle, and Child, "with the right instruction." And here is the book that, for forty years, has been teaching Americans how.

    Mastering the Art of French Cooking is for both seasoned cooks and beginners who love good food and long to reproduce at home the savory delights of the classic cuisine, from the historic Gallic masterpieces to the seemingly artless perfection of a dish of spring-green peas. This beautiful book, with more than one hundred instructive illustrations, is revolutionary in its approach because:

    • It leads the cook infallibly from the buying and handling of raw ingredients, through each essential step of a recipe, to the final creation of a delicate confection.
    • It breaks down the classic cuisine into a logical sequence of themes and variations rather than presenting an endless and diffuse catalogue of recipes; the focus is on key recipes that form the backbone of French cookery and lend themselves to an infinite number of elaborations—bound to increase anyone's culinary repertoire.
    • It adapts classical techniques, wherever possible, to modern American conveniences.
    • It shows Americans how to buy products, from any supermarket in the U.S.A., that reproduce the exact taste and texture of the French ingredients: equivalent meat cuts, for example; the right beans for a cassoulet; the appropriate fish and shellfish for a bouillabaisse.
    • It offers suggestions for just the right accompaniment to each dish, including proper wines.

    Since there has never been a book as instructive and as workable as Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the techniques learned here can be applied to recipes in all other French cookbooks, making them infinitely more usable. In compiling the secrets of famous cordons bleus, the authors have produced a magnificent volume that is sure to find the place of honor in every kitchen in America. More info...

    book coverThe Way to Cook
    In this magnificent new cookbook, illustrated with full color throughout, Julia Child give us her magnum opus--the distillation of a lifetime of cooking. And she has an important message for Americans today. . .

    --to the health-conscious: make a habit of good home cooking so that you know you are working with the best and freshest ingredients and you can be in control of what goes into every dish
    --to the new generation of cooks who have not grown up in the old traditions: learn the basics and understand what you are doing so cooking can be easier, faster, and more enjoyable
    --to the more experienced cook: have fun improvising and creating your own versions of traditional dishes
    --and to all of us: above all, enjoy the pleasures of the table.

    In this spirit, Julia has conceived her most creative and instructive cookbook, blending classic techniques with free-style American cooking and with added emphasis on lightness, freshness, and simpler preparations. Breaking with conventional organization, she structures the chapters (from Soups to Cakes & Cookies) around master recipes, giving all the reassuring details that she is so good at and grouping the recipes according to method; these are followed--in shorthand form--by innumerable variations that are easily made once the basics are understood.

    For example, make her simple but impeccably prepared sauté of chicken, and before long you're easily whipping up Chicken with Mushrooms and Cream, Chicken Provençale, Chicken Pipérade, or Chicken Marengo. Or master her perfect broiled butterflied chicken, and next time Deviled Rabbit or Split Cornish Game Hens Broiled with Cheese will be on your menu.

    In all, there are more than 800 recipes, including the variations--from a treasure trove of poultry and fish recipes and a vast array of fresh vegetables prepared in new ways to bread doughs (that can be turned into pizzas and calzones and hamburger buns) and delicious indulgences, such as Caramel Apple Mountain or a Queen of Sheba Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Leaves. And if you want to know how a finished dish should look or how to angle your knife or to fashion a pretty rosette on that cake, there are more than 600 color photographs to entice and instruct you along the way.

    A one-of-a-kind, brilliant, and inspiring book from the incomparable Julia, which is bound to rekindle interest in the satisfactions of good home cooking. More info...

     

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