Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi Day--Strawberry~Rhubarb

March 14th...3.14 (159265359) is Pi Day and like so many years before, I love to bake a pie, whether it be sweet or savory.  Today, wishing spring would come back, I made a Strawberry~Rhubarb Pie.  It wasn't so much about the filling, but the pie crust.  Recently, I did an on-line class with American Test Kitchen on pies and especially, "Fail-Proof Pie Crust."  Isn't that what makes a great pie?  Anyway, I was intrigued by a new ingredient, vodka.  I had heard people say they always used it in their dough, but never tried it for myself.

My mom made good pies and her crusts were most always made with shortening, not butter, although a few times, I knew she used lard.  When I was first married, I used only shortening; the recipe from The Betty Crocker cookbook, but then I took a pastry course at the CIA and learned it was butter that made the best pate brisee.  Of course, you had to be careful not to overwork the dough and form gluten!  I developed my own recipe that I've used so many times before on my blog, incorporating vinegar, large egg, and baking powder to give a Never-Fail Pie Dough that even with over working, it's still flakey.  However, the use of vodka stilled "called my name" and after making up pie dough today, I will never go back to anything else!

Fail-Proof Pie Crust
12 T ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c (8T) vegetable shortening, cut into pieces

Place the butter and shortening on separate plates and chill in the freezer at least 30 minutes. Also, in a 1-cup measure, add cold water and ice cubes and allow to chill.
Note:  You don't need a fancy vodka, but you should be storing it in the freezer!

2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (divided)
2 T granulated sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 cup chilled water
1/4 cup chilled vodka

In a food processor, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and salt and pulse a couple of times to incorporate.  Take the butter and shortening out of the freezer and scatter on top of the dry ingredients.  Pulse until no uneven clumps exist.  Add 1 cup flour and pulse 4 to 6 times.


Do not add the liquid to the food processor, but rather transfer this mixture to a large bowl.  Pour the water and vodka over the surface and use a rubber spatula to stir until the dough sticks together.
Divide the dough in half and wrap the 4-inch disk with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Allow the dough to sit for 10 minutes before rolling out.  Makes enough for a 2-crust pie.

Lots of fruits and berries will be coming our way over the new few months of Spring/Summer; give this dough a try and see how wonderful it is.  Enjoy!


24 comments:

  1. Vodka, wow, I must give this a whirl. Sounds interesting, Susan. Your pie looks beautiful and I'm sure it's delicious. xoxo ♥

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    1. Recommend this recipe! No worries about the dough tasting alcoholic!!

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  2. This is one of my favorite pies, I am anxious to try your recipe ! It looks lovley too

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  3. Vodka in pie crust!!! wow..that sounds amazing and the pie looks sensational!

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    1. Most pie dough recipes call for using chilled water, but using the Vodka (which is 60% water/40% alcohol) it doesn't contribute to forming gluten which is what can make a pie dough tough! This recipe is amazing!

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  4. Well, we don't have Pi Day in the UK because we write our dates differently and don't have a fourteenth month! We're missing out! I have heard much, of late, about strawberry and rhubarb and admit it isn't a combination that appeals to me, but after seeing it so often I think I must try it this year, after all, I'm always telling people "don't knock it 'til you try it"!
    Agree about the vodka! I used to keep shot glasses in the freezer too, and beer mugs! Vodka pie crust is new to me, but I used to make a delicious pasta with vodka and tomato sauce.
    ~~~Deb in Wales xo

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    1. I make Penne a la Vodka too! I too encourage you to try this pie crust; my hubby thought it was amazing and it could just eat it. I will put the Strawberry~Rhubarb pie filling up so you can try it:-D

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    2. Will keep an eye out for it. Thank you xo

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  5. This is very interesting, never heard of using vodka before. I also was wondering if you would taste it in the crust. My hubby tried beer in a pizza crust once, but I didn't like the smell, we do not drink so to me the smell is a big thing also.
    Your pie looks delicious! Can't wait for the rhubarb and strawberries.
    Will have to think about trying your crust recipe
    Cheryl xo

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    1. Since Vodka is tasteless, no you don't taste the alcohol at all! However, it makes the best, flakey crust I've ever made.

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  6. Wow, that pie looks so yummy!!! Have to try your great recipe!! Thanks for sharing:)
    Jessi

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    1. You welcome; it really is worth trying!

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  7. Interesting! I can barely handle buying Vodka to make my vanilla. Ha! What is the science behind it? Behind adding the vodka to the recipe not my aversion to purchasing it.

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    1. The science behind it is that Vodka is only 40% water and it's water that causes gluten to form. By cutting down on the water, but still needing liquid, the result is a very flakey dough!

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  8. Really? Vodka? Now, I trust your baking skills to the max, so I may just work up my nerve to try this! Just WOW!

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    1. You won't regret it. I had some leftover scraps that I used for a mini-quiche two days later and it was still flakey!

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  9. Strawberry rhubarb pie is my favorite.

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  10. Replies
    1. Good excuse to bake Pie for sue!

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  11. Hi Susan! I tried the vodka pie crust recipe from ATK a couple of years ago. I guess I'll have to try it again, since it's been awhile. I'm glad you liked the results. Your pie looks absolutely amazing. Wish I could share a slice with you and we could talk recipes.

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  12. Never had that type of pic before but it looks amazing.

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  13. I sure do love pie. I will be giving this recipe a try. That is when winter passes us by.

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