Simple Butter Pastry for Pie

Remember the week before when I shared our Rosemary White Sauce for Chicken Pie, I mentioned our butter pie crust? I’m sharing our recipe today! I failed to get peaches this week however, so I settled for apple tarts instead.

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The Recipe

One recipe makes one double-pie pastry, or two medium-size apple tarts.

Pie pastry is very delicate, and can be easily ruined if not handled correctly, which means very little. There are 3 ways to make pie pastry – bowl and fork, food processor, or mixer. Bowl and fork is how my Mom and I started making our own pie crusts (back in our Crisco days!) and I think it’s by far the best way to not have a tough, over-worked pie crust!

Food processors and mixers are best for cutting back on prep time, especially food processors. You need to pay careful attention though. Over-mixing pie pastry means you will have a nice piece of leather to work with for your pie. Yes, it’s very sad when it happens…

I will attempt to give you instructions for all three here. 🙂 If you are planning on making this in the mixer or food processor, just go ahead and measure your ingredients directly in that. I started with a bowl, but then decided to use my mixer for the first part of the recipe and then transferred back to the bowl to finish.

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I like to use both wheat and unbleached white flours for pastry. All white is unnecessary (but really flaky and yummy… you can’t complain about it), but all wheat is simply too heavy. A blend of both comes out just right. In a medium bowl, combine:

 1 1/4 cups soft wheat flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. sugar

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Blend together with a fork, or mix with the processor/mixer.

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Add 1 cup of cold butter, cut into pieces.

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Now, cut this by hand with a fork, or mix in the food processor or mixer until the mixture resembles crumbs. I put mine in the mixer with the cookie paddles.

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You can continue to use the processor/mixer or you can transfer the butter/flour crumb mixture to a bowl and finish – I highly recommend doing this. I did. 🙂

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Measure out a little less than a 1/2 cup of cold water. Add 1 ice cube it.

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Now, drizzle 3-4 tbsp. of the ice water over your mixture. Begin to bring the flour mixture and the water together with a fork, or pulse just a few times in the processor/mixer. The mixture will start to look like a dry dough…

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Add another 2-3 tbsp. of water. Gently mix or pulse again (careful with the processor/mixer!)

Is the dough sticky and coming together? If it’s still a little dry, add 1-2 more tbsp. of water. It should look like…

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The dough on the top-left is done, but needs just a tiny bit more working to make it smooth. If your pastry looks like this in the processor/mixer, I would take it out and work it together with your hands just until it’s smooth (like the pastry on the lower-right).

It doesn’t need much, don’t overdo it! Your pastry is ready. Divide into two portions and chill for one hour.

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How to Make a Simple Rustic Apple Tart

Makes enough filling for 2 medium apple tarts.

Peel, core and slice 8 medium apples (your favorite baking apple). Slice apples a little less then 1/4″ thick. In a large bowl, whisk together:
1 cup sugar
2 1/2-3 tsp. ground cinnamon (it depends on how much you like!)
1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
3 1/2 tbsp. corn starch

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Add sliced apples and toss to coat. Set aside while you roll out the pastry.

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Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. I discovered that I was out of parchment paper and ended up using foil. Yes, you can do the same if you are also out of parchment paper. You do need to line the pan, not only because the yummy, sugary juices can be difficult to wash off, but also so you can easily slide the tart off the pan after it’s baked.

  Take one portion of the pastry and press it with your hands to slightly flatten it. Roll between two pieces of wax paper with a rolling pin (I love my french-style rolling pin!) Roll a few times, then flip it over and roll a bit more. Continue to roll and flip the pastry until it’s a circle about 1/4″ thick.

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Peel off the top layer of wax paper. Flip the pastry over on to the center of your lined baking sheet, and peel off the remaining layer of wax paper. Dump 1/2 of your apple mixture into the center of the pastry.

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Begin to pull the pastry up around the filling.

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Until it looks like so…

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Repeat for the other apple tart. In a small bowl, whisk together one egg and 2 tbsp. half & half or cream. Brush tarts with the mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 35-38 minutes until golden brown, and juices are bubbling and apples are tender. Let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully use a thin spatula to go around the edges underneath the tart to loosen it from the pan. Careful! Once the tart is loose, slide it off on to your serving plate/tray. Serve warm with ice cream!

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