How to make the best pie dough ever, and use it to make this strawberry pie

Here’s a quick pro tip when it comes to pie dough: Use a food processor. Add the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Then add cold chunks of fat and give the processor a couple whirs to incorporate, then pulse in the liquid ingredients just to combine.

If you've never made a pie dough, or other quick doughs in a food processor, it’s amazing how wonderfully simple and easy the whole process is. The steps may vary slightly depending on the recipe, but that's pretty much it. Even older recipes should work in a processor;  it just takes a little adaptation. And a food processor is especially great if you're pressed for time or are working in a warm kitchen.

Try the technique to prepare this fresh strawberry pie. Toss ripe, hulled berries in a quick cornstarch-thickened glaze combining fresh orange juice and rum steeped with a little mint as it cooks. Pile the berries high in a cooked pie shell, then chill the pie for a few hours to give the glaze time to set up before serving

Check out the video below for a quick pie dough demonstration.

STRAWBERRY PIE

Total time: 30 minutes, plus chilling times | Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

FLAKY PIE CRUST

1 1/2 cups (6.4 ounces) flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons cold shortening

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, more if needed

1 egg or egg white, for an egg wash, if desired

1. To make the dough using a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the shortening and pulse until incorporated (the dough will look like moist sand). Add the butter and pulse just until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and pulse once or twice until incorporated. Remove the crumbly mixture to a large bowl and gently press the mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

To make the dough by hand, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the shortening and incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork (the dough will look like moist sand). Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the vinegar and water over the mixture, and stir together just until incorporated. Gently press the crumbly mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a round about 13 to 14 inches in diameter. Place in a 9- to 10-inch baking dish, trimming any excess and crimping the edges as desired. (One trick I use is to roll out the dough onto well-floured parchment or wax paper, invert and center the pie dish over the dough and then flip the dough into the dish.) Brush the outer edge of the shell with the egg wash, then freeze the formed shell for 20 to 30 minutes before filling and baking.

3. To blind bake the crust, line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and foil, prick the sides and bottom several times with a fork and bake until the crust bottom is dry and lightly colored, 5 to 10 minutes more.

STRAWBERRY PIE

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water, divided

1/2 cup orange juice, from about 1 large orange

1/2 cup rum

1 sprig mint

3 tablespoons cornstarch

8 cups strawberries, about 2 1/2 pounds, hulled

1 baked 9-inch single pie crust

1. In a medium, nonreactive saucepan, stir together the sugar, one-half cup water, the orange juice and the rum. Gently crush the sprig of mint in your hand to release the oils and place the mint in the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, about 5 minutes, and continue to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to marry the flavors. Remove from heat.

2. While the liquid is coming to a simmer, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining one-half cup water to form a slurry. Stir the slurry into the pan, then heat the pan over medium-low heat and cook until the liquid thickens (it should just begin to bubble), 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and discard the mint sprig.

3. Arrange the strawberries in the prepared crust. Pour the thickened filling over the berries, then refrigerate the pie 3 to 4 hours to set the filling.

Note: The cider vinegar is used to help "shorten" the crust, improving the texture. Though you might smell the vinegar as you roll out the crust, you should not taste or smell it in the finished pie.

Each of 8 servings, without egg wash: 531 calories; 6 grams protein; 64 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 25 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 38 mg. cholesterol; 23 grams sugar; 442 mg. sodium.

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter

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