Pie Crust 101 - Bake a Difference with OXO #Sponsored #OXOgoodcookies

How many of you are intimidated by making pie crusts from scratch? I'll readily admit that up until recently I hated the idea of rolling out my own dough, which is why more often than not I'd pop up to the store, pick up a box of refrigerated pie crusts and call it a day.  The thing is, I was never quite happy with my final product because ready made pie crusts lack the flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture of a made from scratch crust.

Ultimately I decided it was time to tackle my pie making fear, so I locked myself in the kitchen and made pie crusts over and over again until I got it right. Do you know what I learned from that experience? Pie crusts aren't nearly as hard as I had imagined. That's why I thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned along the way and while I'm at it spread the word about the Cookies for Kids' Cancer 4th Annual 50 State Challenge.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today we're partnering with OXO in support of this wonderful event. Did you know that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Your mission, should you choose to participate, is to help us promote childhood cancer awareness and raise funds to help develop new, and less toxic pediatric cancer treatments.

How can you help? Host a neighborhood bake sale, run a race, throw a fundraiser at your school, or come up with an event of your own. You can join in the challenge by registering your event online today; if you mark that you were inspired by OXO when you register, then OXO will match proceeds from your event up to their annual commitment of $100,000 (see notes at the end of this post for more information.)

Want some recipes to help you get started? Make sure to check out our desserts section! We have all the basics covered: pies, cakes, brownies, and cookies or check back later this week for two new pie filling recipes: Cardamom Peach and Blueberry Peach.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Fool Proof Pie Crust

 

I've tried a variety of pie crust recipes over the years, but the one I always keep coming back to is my great-grandma's fool proof pie crust recipe. It's the the same basic recipe I use for making Lemon Meringue PieCaramel Apple Pie, and even Chicken Pot Pie (although I omit the sugar for savory pies.) The recipe has been modified a bit over the years, swapping out lard for vegetable shortening and butter, but no matter what fat you decide to use this recipes works perfectly every single time. 

Ingredients

double crust

3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
½ cup salted butter, cubed
8 - 10 Tablespoons cold water

single crust

1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
¼ cup salted butter, cubed
4 - 5 Tablespoons cold water

Directions

There are a number of ways you can approach mixing the ingredients. I prefer to keep it simple using a mixing bowl and my hands, but you can use a food processor or KitchenAid mixer if you prefer. 

  • In a bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients once, then add shortening and cubed butter. 

  • Slowly add cold water, two tablespoons at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Keep in mind that adding too much water will make a sticky mess of your pie crust. You may not need the full 10 Tablespoons of water, so don't just dump it all in at once to save time. 

  • To check the consistency of your dough try pinching a small piece between your fingers, it should hold together; if it falls apart you will need to add more water. If you've accidentally added too much water try adding a tablespoon or two of flour to help bind the crust together.

  • Once mixed, divide the dough into two equal parts, form into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. If you have a kitchen scale now is a great time to pull it out to make sure your top and bottom crusts will be equal, if you don't have one you can just eyeball it.

  • Cover your work surface in parchment paper (to make cleanup a little easier), flatten the ball of dough and roll it out on a well floured surface. Make sure to cover your rolling pin with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking.

  • Start at the center and using your rolling pin work your way out until the dough is about ⅛ inch thick and circular in shape. If you notice your dough sticking, dust it with a little more flour. Work the dough lightly and quickly since over-handling the dough will make the it tough.

  • Transfer your dough to your pie plate and gently push it into place, be careful not to stretch the dough, since it will pull apart. Repeat the previous steps for your second crust or if you want to get fancy you can follow the steps below for a lattice top.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Lattice Crust




 

  • Roll out your second crust, then use a pastry wheel (as pictured above), pizza cutter, or sharp knife to cut one inch wide strips of dough. Use a metal ruler to help make equal-sized strips of dough or just eyeball it for a more rustic look.

  • Lay out one strip of dough horizontally and the other vertically so the two strips form a cross in the center off the pie. Add additional strips weaving them in and out as you go along.

  • Once finished trim the edges of the lattice strips so they're flush with the outer edge of the pie dish. Fold the lower crust up over the top, then use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edge. 
     

Blind Baking

 

  • If your recipe calls for pre-baking the bottom crust (sometimes referred to as blind baking), prick the bottom of the pie crust in several places with a fork, place a piece of parchment paper over the crust and add rice, beans, or pie weights to the center before baking it. This will prevent bubbles from forming on your crust as it cooks.

  • You may also want to put aluminum foil or a pie crust shield around the edge of the crust to keep it from become overly dark.

  • Let your bottom crust cool slightly before adding your filling to the crust. To add the top crust lightly moisten the edge of the bottom crust, gently add the top crust, and press into place along the edges. Trim off any excess dough around the edge.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Filling Ideas

 

Cherry Almond

Peach Cardamom

Caramel Apple

Blueberry Peach

Lemon Meringue
 

Notes


This year, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies fund pediatric cancer research. Visit OXO or cookiesforkidscancer.org for more information.

This crust recipe is very flexible, so I've been known to vary the ingredients slightly depending on what type of pie I'm making and what I happen to have in the kitchen. The original recipe calls for lard, which is fine for savory pies, but I prefer a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. You can easily turn this into an all butter or all shortening crust with fabulous results, so keep that in mind if you ever want to make a pie, but find you don't have a drop of shortening in the house.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Tools

 

To facilitate today's recipe OXO sent along a handful of pie making tools. Keep reading for more information on the tools featured in our post today and where you can purchase them.

Glass 9" Pie Plate OXO Glass Bakeware is made of thermal shock resistant borosilicate glass, which means it can go from freezer to oven without the need to thaw.  Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Double Pastry Wheel - This two-in-one tool has straight and fluted wheels made of sturdy stainless steel. The straight wheel is great for cutting pastas and dough, and the fluted wheel is perfect for lattice-top pies and lasagna noodles. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons - The Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons' unique magnetic feature keeps the spoons neatly stacked together and allows you to easily remove one at a time. The soft, comfortable, non-slip handles feature permanent, etched measurement markings. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

4-Cup Angled Measuring Cup The patented angled surface allows you to see measurement markings from above as you're pouring, so you can better measure ingredients without bending or lifting the cup to eye level. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Silicone 1" Pastry Brush - The Silicone Basting Brush's multi-layered bristles work as if they are natural but have heat resistance and quick-clean convenience. Gaps in the center bristles hold liquid as you transfer, and tapered outer bristles let you brush delicate pastries with ease. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Blueberry Peach Pie | Pie 101 | Not Starving Yet

Disclosure

 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Almond Cookies #fbcookieswap

Today happens to be one of my favorite days of the year, do you know why? It's time to reveal my recipe for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil. This is, without a doubt, the highlight of my year. I get to bake and eat cookies while I help support an incredibly important cause. My job is so cool sometimes! This is my third year participating in the swap which partners with Cookies for Kids' Cancer to raise money to fund new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer.

For the swap I made a batch of traditional almond flavored butter cookies and sent them out to my three partners in crime: Rachel from Bakerita, Reneé from Kudos Kitchen by Renee, and Elizabeth from Food Ramblings. I've always loved the simple flavor of these cookies and the fact that you can dip or drizzle them in dark chocolate for a little something extra. They're one of the few cookies that go in the cookie care packages I send out to my friends every year—they're always a hit!

Now in return I got to snack on some pretty amazing cookies, so if you're looking for something new to bake you may want to try out these Ginger Crinkles from Shana at Shana Was Here, Chocolate Dipped Walnut Butter Cookies or Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies from Susan at A Life Less Processed, and Egg Nog Shortbread from Tracy at Pale Yellow.

Or you can check out some of our other popular cookie recipes from years past:

If you are a food blogger or know a food blogger who might want to participate the swap next year you can sign up for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap mailing list for updates.

Almond Cookies - Not Starving Yet

Almond Cookies
makes approximately 36 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup almond slivers 

Directions

  • In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then add the egg and almond extract. Slowing add flour, baking soda, salt and almond slivers then mix until well combined. The final dough will be very course.
  • Place finished dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, roll into a large ball, and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before continuing.
  • Preheat oven to 325ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Using a cookie scoop form 1¼ inch balls and place then 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Press the balls flat with the palm of your hand, then bake at 325ºF for 14-16 minutes or until edges and bottoms are lightly browned.
  • Allow the finished cookies to cool for several minutes before transferring to wire racks.

Notes

With butter cookies it's important that you don't place your dough on a hot pan or leave it out on the counter while you're working—the cookies will lose their shape. Make sure you refrigerate your dough until you're ready to bake and allow your cookie sheets adequate time to cool down between batches.

For the most accurate results you'll want to roll all of your dough into balls at the same time. Otherwise you can form them as you go, but your may find your yield varies slightly.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies #FBCookieSwap

The cookie gnomes were at it again this year. I made three batches of these cookies (translation: 108 cookies) and out of those I only got to eat a small handful. Every time I turned around the cookie canister was empty again. Ok, so this year I probably shouldn't blame the cookie gnomes, but rather the toddler with a sweet tooth (he's so much like his mama!) Every time I turned around I noticed he was munching on what I had wrongfully assumed were his bell pepper slices. It wasn't until later I would find the cookie crumb trail he left from the kitchen to my bed, where he was sneaking off to eat his ill gotten gains. 

I've raised a sneaky kid, that is for sure, but at least the kid has good taste. These cookies, which are a modified version of my grandmother's sour cream sugar cookies, are absolutely delicious. They're slightly crisp on the outside, nice and chewy on the inside, and pretty much everything you would ever want in a cookie. This year I decided to send these beauties out during the Great Food Blogger Cookies Swap hosted by Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil. This is my second year participating in the swap which is partnered with Cookies for Kids' Cancer to raise money to fund new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer. As part of the swap I sent out cookies to Garlic + Zest, CopyKat Recipes, and The Greek Glutton. In return these lovely ladies sent me cookies:

Brown Butter Chocolate Butterscotch Cranberry Cookies from Steph's Bite by Bite

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies Dipped in Chocolate & Crushed Peppermint Cookies from Omeletta

Brown Butter Brown Sugar Cookies from That Susan Williams

So many sugar cookies! It almost made up for the cookie gnome running off with all of mine... almost.

VanillaSugarCookies.jpg

Vanilla Sugar Cookies
makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1½ cups vanilla sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons sour cream
½ teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup vanilla sugar or colored sanding sugar (for rolling)

Directions

  • Before you begin you'll need to make 2 cups of vanilla sugar (keep in mind it won't be ready to use for at least two weeks.) You can also purchase it pre-made from Penzeys, but it's very expensive.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and vanilla sugar until fluffy. With the mixer still running slowly add in eggs, sour cream, and lemon extract. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; stir until well combined. The dough should be dense and sticky.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Shape dough into balls and roll in colored sanding sugar, vanilla sugar, or a mixture of both. Press balls flat with the palm of you hand and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 9 - 11 minutes, or until cookies are a very light golden brown.

Notes

If you don't have unsalted butter, use can omit the salt and use salted butter without any issue.

Sign Up Now for the 3rd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

My dear readers, you may not realize this yet, especially since I haven't posted a single cookie recipe on this blog, but I love to bake cookies. In fact, I go a little nuts around Christmastime, last year I went through over 30lbs of flour baking cookies for friends and family. I try to bake a different kind every other day throughout December and this has been a tradition of mine since I was a child. This year you'll reap the benefits of this because I hope to post my top 4 favorite recipes for you.

Now that you know this it should come to no surprise when I tell you that I just signed up for the 3rd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. If you are a food blogger who is interested in signing up you can do so through Monday, November 4th. Even if you don't sign up, check back on Wednesday, December 11th to see what I decided to send the three lucky bloggers I was paired up with.

Want to know more?

The GREAT FOOD BLOGGER COOKIE SWAP brings together food bloggers from around the world in celebration of all things scrumptious. The premise is this: sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year’s cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.

This year we are again excited to be partnering with COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease. By participating in this cookie swap you are not only contributing to the food blogger community, but also supporting a great cause.

HOW IT WORKS:

Step 1: SIGN UP. Fill out the sign-up form to participate. Be sure you meet the basic requirements for participation (listed below).

Step 2: DONATE. Once you complete the sign up form, you will be re-directed to PayPal to make a $4.00 tax-deductible donation directly to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. 100% of this donation goes directly to CFKC. You MUST complete this payment to participate in the swap (Why do we require this?) Once your payment is approved you will receive an email confirming your donation and your participation.

Step 3: MATCH. We will send you the names and addresses of three other food bloggers. These are the people to whom you will be sending cookies! It’s important you keep these matches a secret until they receive your cookies.

Step 4: BAKE & SHIP. Now comes the fun part! Whip up a batch of delicious cookies and ship one dozen to each of your three matches by the shipment deadline. Don’t forget to photograph your cookies for your post before you send them off! :)

Step 5: POST. Post your cookie recipe on your blog and submit the post along with an image (if you have one). We will then collect and compile all participants’ posts and publish them in one huge roundup!

Now head on over to Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap website and sign up. The required $4 donation goes directly to Cookies for Kids' Cancer