KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Fear the Pie! (And I do)
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Russian Shopping Trip
The end of a bubbly era
Forever Farro
Flock of Doug
Bale Grist Mill
Red-hot reds for your Fourth
Feeling Minnesota: Trygonometry
Bakesale Betty
Check, Please! Bay Area
Take 5 with Karin Campion
 
 
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
 
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Fear the Pie! (And I do)


A scant four days ago, I collected all my essential cooking gear, uprooted the cats, and trekked down to San Diego for the summer. My husband has a summer consulting job down here and we're all learning what it means to live in SoCal. Primarily malls and highways, it would seem. However, I admit that we have yet to really explore the place, and I was happily surprised to discover that we're surrounded by a juicy green freshness that was sorely missing when we drove through dirty, smoggy L.A. Where we are, it's all rolling green hills and highways a-flutter with riotous flowers. I'm planning hiking trips to Torrey Pines and Rancho Sante Fe every. Single. Weekend. We've heard there's a beach of lolling seals somewhere and I can't wait to pack a leftover lunch and find it.

We're squatting in a large rental place -- one of about four locations available to summer workers at my husband's work -- and for the first time, I have a comfortably sized kitchen with plenty of counter space to finally overcome my crippling fear of baking. Or, at the very least, if I can't turn myself into an acceptable baker, I won't be able to use kitchen size as an excuse any more. My first foray into that sphere -- making a pie crust for a luscious fresh strawberry tart -- hasn't been all that successful yet. My pastry cream is perfect and currently chilling in the fridge, waiting to be smoothed into that elusive pie crust that gives me nightmares and delirium tremens. What am I doing wrong? All my ingredients are chilled (even my food processor) and I work fast, yet I still have a problem getting the dough to come together. It's always crumbly and dry when I start to roll it out. And this is even AFTER I let it chill and come to room temperature again. I'm even using up to 4 tablespoons of water in conjunction with 8 oz. of butter and 3 cups flour. In fact, no matter what recipe and what proportions of flour to fat to sugar to liquid I try, I'm always seeming to go OVER the recommended amount of water because I just can't get the dough to come together.

People, I beg you: what is your no-fail pie crust recipe? Be it pâte sucrée or pâte brisée, I need your assistance. Please. I'm desperate. Come hell or high earthquake, I will conquer my pastry fear this summer.
 
 

7 Comments:

Anonymous chef 'em out said...

It seems like you are doing everything right. I mean, it's flour, butter, salt and water.The only thing I can think of is to practice.

7/07/2005 6:08 AM

 
Blogger Kim Goodfriend said...

First of all, take a deep breath. There is no need to fear the pie or the cake or the pastry. You are the master! Once you have regained control of your kitchen kingdom, I highly recommend that you try my pastry recipe which is posted in the KQED Kitchen: http://www.kqed.org/topics/home/cooking/kqed-kitchen.jsp

It seems to me that you are not using enough water to your ratio of flour. Especially if you are not used to making pastry. As you practice you can cut back a bit on it, but for now, add more water! And good luck, I expect you to perfect this and make me a pie when you return to the bay area!

7/07/2005 11:04 AM

 
Blogger Olga Katsnelson said...

I completely relate to your woes, as I tried to perfect the pie crust for years, to no avail...until this weekend when I consulted Mark Bittman's 'How to Cook Everything' [MacMillan]. His recipe for Flaky Pie Crust and supporting comments were very helpful, and I was able to bake my first peach pie, with a double crust. I was elated, and now can't wait to bake every fruit that appears in the farmers' market into yet another pie. Bittman's recipe calls for a lower flour quantity, 2 1/4 cups to 16 TBS butter, by the way. So in addition to Kim's recipe, you may want to try Mark's.

7/07/2005 12:26 PM

 
Blogger Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic said...

Ooh, this is all lovely! I can make several pie crusts a day. It's going to be the Summer of Pi.

7/07/2005 1:15 PM

 
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Ooh, hiking in Rancho Santa Fe: buncha golf-playin' Republicans. Not fun. (Also: very hot. Stick to Torrey Pines for the Pacific breezes.)
BUT: You will be only minutes from the Chino Farm veggie stand (actually in Del Mar) where they play classical music on the radio and are a bit snooty (and boy, is it expensive) but you'll never get better strawberries, baby turnips, corn. They are legendary for supplying Chez Panisse. But you knew that.
Oh, and pie crust? A trickle more water. Go, be brave, and good luck.

7/07/2005 5:12 PM

 
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/07/2005 5:17 PM

 
Anonymous mary g said...

One thing that might be helpful is that my crust (which is my mother's recipe), a simple flour, butter plus Crisco (I know, bad, but it's a wonderful crust), salt, water is in fact dry and crumbly-ish when I start to roll it out, and it comes together under the rolling pin. Also, I find it very helpful to roll with the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Some people use plastic wrap, but I think waxed paper is better because it has a little stiffness, and doesn't roll wrinkles into the dough.

7/08/2005 7:41 AM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
 
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
 
Tasty Food Sites
CHOW
Chowhound SF
Crushpad
CUESA
CulinaryCorps
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Epicurious
eGullet.org
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
KTEH Food
Leite's Culinaria
Locavores
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
 
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
agoodfoodblog
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Blogsoop
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Digesty-SF
Eater SF
Eggbeater
Extramsg.com
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
Gastronomie
Hedonia
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Jatbar
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
MeatHenge
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Nosheteria
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
Spicetart
The Amateur Gourmet
Tablehopper
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Vinography
VirgoBlue
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
 
 
   
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
 
Food Books
 
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
 
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
 
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
 
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
 
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
 
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
 
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
 
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
 
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
 
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
 
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
 
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
 
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
 
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
 
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
 
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
 
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
 
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
 
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
 
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
 
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
 
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
 
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
 
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
 
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
 
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
 
 
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
 
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
 
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
 
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
 
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
 
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
 
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
 
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
 
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
 
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
 
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
 
ChocolateChocolate
by Lisa Yockelson
 
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
 
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
 
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
 
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
 
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
 
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
 
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
 
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
 
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
 
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
 
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
 
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
 
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
 
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
 
 
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
 
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
 
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
 
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
 
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
 
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
 
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
 
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
 
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
 
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
 
Bouchon
by Thomas Keller
 
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
 
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
 
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
 
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
 
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
 
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
 
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
 
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
 
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
 
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
 
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
 
 
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.