Until recently I used to pretend like I was Martha Stewart when working away in the kitchen. These days, I find myself relating more and more to Paula Haney. While she may not be the queen of arts & crafts, the woman sure as hell knows how to make a pie! I bought Haney’s cookbook as an early birthday gift to myself and have since gone pie crazy. Off the deep end into a wonderful land of butter, butter, and more butter, plus some flour. And don’t you dare let your brain start along the path of Paula Deen.
I love this cookbook because it tells Haney’s story. Almost every recipe is accompanied by an anecdote about either her family way way back or something that happened in the shop. It’s very personal, and that Midwestern hospitality (it’s a real thing, y’all) is evident in her writing. The recipes are also very easy to follow, which is good for professional and novice bakers alike. She begins her recipes for pie dough with a warning: making good pie dough is hard. I made a perfectly poached egg on the first try. I was up for the challenge.
The Hoosier Mama’s All-Butter Pie Dough
To start things off on a good note, I absolutely loved making this dough. Honestly, I love making all kinds of dough, and the process for this crust was actually fairly similar to the one I used for my empanadas. (Would ya look at how much my blog has improved!!!) The key here is keeping things “chill”. My kitchen does not come equipped with a food processor, but fortunately for me, I have what they call pie maker hands! This means that my hands are cold. Actually, honestly, my hands are not cold during the summer months (June-September for Texas) so this is a half truth. Anyway. I had to mix the dough by hand for this recipe because I lack a food processor. I am totally alright with this though. My grandma and her mother and even her grandmother did not use a food processor, and pie has a long long history. What the hell, a dough blender and 10 fingers work just the same!
Before I begin relaying the recipe to you, please note that a good pie crust takes time. The dough must rest in order to be its best! The same goes for me!
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, divided
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 cup very cold water
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tbs granulated sugar
1. After cutting into cubes, freeze 5 tbs of your butter for any amount of time between 20 minutes and overnight. I went with an hour. Chill the remaining 1 1/8 sticks until ready to use.
2. Stir the red wine vinegar and water together and set aside as well.
3. In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients.
4. After your declared amount of freeze time, add the CHILLED butter to the dry mixture first. Work the butter into the flour with either your hands or a dough blender (or both!) until it resembles a coarse meal.
5. Next, add the frozen butter. Cut into the dough until the frozen pieces are pea sized. These pieces will eventually turn into butter pockets, making the crust ever so flaky, delicious, and, well, buttery!
6. Add 6 tbs of the chilled vinegar water to the dough and mix together with your hands. If the dough holds together in your hand after squeezing a small amount, you are good to go. If not, add more vinegar water to the mixture, little by little.
7. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough together until smooth. Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll each into a ball. You can then lightly flatten them and wrap in plastic wrap. From here they must rest in the refrigerator, preferable overnight.
8. After an extended period of time in the refrigerator, your dough will be ready to work with. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin liberally with flour.
9. Place your chilled dough onto your surface and partially flatten with the heel of your hand. To get the dough even flatter, beat with a rolling pin. This was a fun process!
10. Now you can begin rolling out your dough. Dust your pin and even part the dough with flour and make long strokes out from the center making sure the dough does not stick to the surface along the way. The final product should be about 1/8 inch thick.
11. Cut a 14 inch wide circle out of the dough. I guestimated with a dinner plate!
12. Softly settle the dough circle into a greased and floured 9 inch pie plate. You may have to tap the plate ever so gently on the table until it settles. Then, lightly press the dough into the corners of the pie plate.
13. If you are continuing on to make a single crust pie, begin the crimp process by folding the dough edges under. Work the edges in opposite directions, squeezing little points on the outer top of the pie plate. This did take a while to get the hang of. My later pies looked much better, and they all tasted equally amazing!
As you can see, I have definitely gotten better with practice!
Since purchasing this book, I have made 6 pies. Some were recipes straight from the Hoosier Mama, while others mere varieties. Each one has tasted delicious. I documented the process for a buttermilk pie (along with chocolate and berry variations) that will knock your socks off. Expect many recipes in the coming days, weeks, and months!
With a different work schedule and school back in session, life is a bit more hectic. But, I can always make time for pie! And so begins a new love affair!