Monday, September 14, 2009

Another little milestone

I'm referring to a milestone for me in the kitchen. For me, it's pretty significant because one of my biggest fears is pastry dough. It seemed so scrupulous to me, almost unattainable. Silly thinking I suppose. Dad would always make the pie crust because it turned out so light and flaky and I noticed he had to make sure the butter was cold and the water even colder.

This weekend I decided to prepare a traditional Maltese dish called Timpana for mom after we returned from the airport (plus it's a one dish meal so easy clean up). Saturday dad offered to help me with the crust, but it was crazy at the house and we didn't get a chance to work on it. Let me rephrase that, the kids were crazy at the house...

Sunday I started early and made the baked macaroni elements. Chris was done with his projects and started watching football with the kids so I had plenty of time before leaving for the airport to see if I could attempt a crust and make it a true Timpana. I picked a basic pie crust from online (Martha Stewart of course) and just followed the directions.
The recipe called for 2 sticks of butter and I only had one. So I used that stick plus the equivalent in shortening. After letting the dough rest in the frig an hour, I spread it with a well floured rolling pin on the counter and then placed it on top! I left Chris with instructions that I would call him when it was time for him to brush the egg wash on top and place in the oven so that it would be ready when we returned.

Basic Pie Dough
Makes 1 double crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse briefly. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not over mix.

Divide dough in half, and turn out onto two large pieces of plastic wrap. Fold plastic over each portion of dough; press to shape into two 3/4-inch-thick disks. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days); dough can also be frozen up to 3 months (thaw before using).

On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll one disk of dough to a 14-inch round. Wrap dough around rolling pin; unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and sides of plate (do not stretch dough). Using kitchen shears, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang all around; refrigerate until ready to use. Reserve and refrigerate remaining disk of dough for top crust.
It turned out really well! Chris baked it until the crust was nice and golden and we let it rest for a while. Being able to cut it in almost perfect squares is what I was striving for. Just like aunt Vivian and my Nanna used to make. The crust came out flaky and light. I am a happy girl.

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