First, here is the crust recipe (courtesy of REAL SIMPLE with Chuval commentary):
Hands on time: 10 min Total time: 1 hour, 40 min Makes one 9-inch pie crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling the dough 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (I used Land O Lakes...or whatever has the Indian on it...healthier) 1 tablespoon of sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used regular salt, worked just as well) 3-4 tablespoons ice water
Step 1: In a food processor, pulse the flour, butter, sugar, and salt until the mixture resembles course meal with a few pea-size clumps of butter remaining. OK, not all of us college kids HAVE food processors. We have our hands. And then soap and water. Still works. Judge me.
Step 2: Add 2 tablespoons of the water. Pulse until the mixture holds together when squeezed but is still crumbly (add more water, a little at a time, as necessary). Avoid over-processing, which will make the dough tough. Still just use your hands. It helps in not over-processing anyway.
Step 3: Place the still crumbly mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap. Or tinfoil, if resources are short. :) Shape it into a 1-inch-thick dick, using the plastic (tin foil) wrap to help. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. (The dough can be frozen at this point up to 2 months.)The "disk" is going to look pretty small. Don't be discouraged! It really thins out.
Step 4: Place the disk of dough on a floured piece of parchment or wax paper. Using your knuckles, make indentations around the perimeter of the dough (this will help prevent cracking when you roll the dough out). False. It does not help the cracking. The cracking is still an issue, and it's just one you have to deal with. Play with the dough like puddy where the cracking occurs and just push the cracks together to make it smooth again. Oh. And tin foil also works instead of the other kind of paper, just make sure you sprinkle flour on it.
Step 5: With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 11-inch circle (work from the center outward, and use the parchment paper to rotate the dough). Flour the rolling pin, parchment paper, and dough as necessary to prevent sticking. If you don't have a rolling pin, like me, I used an old wine bottle, I just sprinkled some flour on that old Riesling bottle and rolled away!
Step 6: Loosen the dough from the parchment and carefully and I mean CAREFULLY transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. I used the throw away tin foil pie maker things. Fill the dough into the plate (avoid stretching). Trim the dough to a 1-inch over hang and tuck it under itself to create a thick rim. My rim was actually a little thin, and I didn't roll it out wide enough, so there wasn't much to trim...but don't fret! It still worked.
Step 7: With the index finger of one hand, press the dough against the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand; continue around the perimeter of the crust. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days before using. This makes it pretty.
Ok, now that is complete, you can move on to making your pie crumbles while you wait to go on top of whatever filling you have. Obviously, if you are making a pumpkin pie, or a chocolate whatever, you don't need a topping, except maybe some whipped cream. This is a great top for fruit pies though:
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 cup granulated sugar (huh? I just used sugar)
In a food processor, pulse the butter, flour, and sugar until large clumps form. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. I found that the harder it got from staying in the fridge, the easier it was to crumble in the end. I know it doesn't look like a lot, but when the pie is ready to be filled with the filling, then crusted, this will be the perfect amount. Just crumble the mixture all over the surface of the pie. It doesn't have to be perfect or thick. Make sure it meets the edges of the pie though.
Pre--heat your over to 350 degrees. I let mine cook for about 40 minutes, but everyone's oven is different. Check it at 30 min and then judge by then how much longer you need. The crust should be golden.
OK! Want to see pictures of my adventure?