Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thank You England for the Amazing Pie Crust

When I was in college I leaned how to make pie crust. I thought I had found the best pie crust recipe out there. Then years of cursing following while I struggled to roll out the dough. It was always either too wet or too crumbly. Why couldn't it just roll out easily like it shows on the Food Network?! Was that seriously too much to ask? Not to mention that it took quite awhile to get the perfect consistency of butter before adding in the liquid. For years I have been searching for an easy and delicious pie crust recipe that would solve all of my problems. Well, the search is over!! One night Mike and I were sitting down to watch TV and when we turned it on it was on PBS. It was a cooking show! I didn't know that PBS had cooking shows?! Because we are food lovers and the #1 station watched in our house is Food Network we kept watching. It was a show call Great Britain's Next Great Baker (or something like that). They had several challenges and one was to make a three tiered stacked pie...WHAT?! Didn't they know that you can't stack pie! Well paint me sheepish...they did. Their recipe was very different. Instead of using cold butter and breaking it in to pieces they melted it with water. I had NEVER heard of this before. I thought for sure it was going to be rock hard, you can only get a flakey crust with cold butter. When it came time for judging they kept saying how flakey the curst was...they were picking these pies up with no tin, and they were saying the crust was FLAKEY? I was intrigued. I wasn't very hopeful that it was going to turn out but I had to try. So I went to my faithful Pinterest and started searching for some hot water crust recipes. Not may were found...I guess this wasn't a very popular thing... not a very good sign, if it was as good as they said on TV than EVERYONE would be doing it. I found this recipe and the directions were a little different than how they did it on the show. I used the recipe for the quantities but changed the method. It came together in minutes and was the MOST DELICIOUS crust I have tasted in my life!! I will never make another pie crust in my life! The search is over and I am in LOVE. I have no complaints, it's practically perfect in every way! So with no further adieu, here is the recipe (along with my chicken pot pie recipe).

I have had a few people say that their dough was so sticky that they couldn't roll it out. I have attached a video at the bottom for you to see the process of making the crust. You really need to forget everything you know about making a pie crust when you make this recipe, it goes against everyone that you know to be true. Trust is amazing!

Chicken Pot Pie with Hot Water Crust

This recipe makes two pies (one for baking now and one for freezing and baking later)

For the Pie
frozen peas
frozen corn
1 stick butter
1/2 C. flour
4 C. chicken broth
2 cubes chicken boullion
salt and pepper
olive oil (EVOO)
poultry seasoning (or you can use herbs like sage, parsley, rosemary, oregano)
Chicken (you can cook your own but I like to get a rotisserie chicken and use the meat for the pie and boil the bones and skin for the stock. In this recipe I used left over turkey.)

For the Crust
2 sticks butter
1/2 C. water
2 1/2 C. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder

Cut the carrots, potatoes, and celery (you can also add onions too, but my husband doesn't like them so I don't usually put them in.) into half moon shapes. I don't usually do an exact count of these veggies, I just cut up enough to fill one sheet tray. You want to cut the veggies thin so that they cook faster. Zig zag down the pan pouring EVOO over the veggies. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Toss all the veggies to coat and smooth into a flat layer.
 Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 min. until the edges of the potatoes are browned and all the veggies are nice and soft. I do it this way so the amount of time it spends in the oven is greatly reduced. When you take them out of the oven they should look like this.
Next start the gravy. Melt one stick of butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. When it is melted add 1/2 C. flour. Stir with a whisk for a minute and then add chicken broth and chicken bouillon cubes that have been mashed. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to taste. Cook until thickened.

Start the pie crust. Put the 2 sticks of butter and 1/2 C. water in a small pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile add the flour, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl and stir to combine. When the water boils add to the bowl with the flour and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.

Divide dough in to 4 pieces and roll out. The dough will be oily, that is ok,(NOTE: the dough should not be sticky. If you look at the picture the dough has formed a ball and has pulled away from the bowl and the spoon. If the dough is still sticky add more flour. You don't want to add too much flour as it will create a drier, less flakey crust.). You should not need any extra flour to roll out the dough. I had to roll mine out pretty thin to get 4 pie crusts but it worked. Use a piece of parchment paper when you roll them out so you can easily move the crust to the pie dish. When I transfer the crust I take the parchment and turn it upside down and peel the parchment away from the crust. The crust is very forgiving so if it tears you can easily mold it back together.
Next take your chicken (or turkey) and put it on top of the sheet pan of veggies along with your frozen peas and corn. Stir to combine (you can use a bowl to stir everything together, but I am lazy and didn't want another dish to wash) then add to the two pie plates. Add gravy on top of veggie meat mixture and top with another piece of crust. Crimp the edges and poke a hole in the center for the steam to vent. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.