From now until Thanksgiving, we’ll be answering some of the most commonly asked holiday meal questions. Have one you’d like us to consider? E-mail us or join our weekly live Web chat on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m.
For complete Turkey Day coverage, visit our Thanksgiving Central page.
Q: What’s the easiest way to make a good pie crust without much fuss?
A: Confession: Making pie crust is still something I have yet to completely master, at least according my own perfectionist standards. So for the most part, I will defer to an expert: Tiffany MacIsaac, the former executive pastry chef at Neighborhood Restaurant Group who has ventured into business for herself with Buttercream Bakeshop. In 2011, she shared with us her strategies and recipe for “the perfect pie crust.” Read, and learn!
That being said, I have a few additional pieces of advice gleaned from cookbooks, the Internet and my own personal experience:
• Heat is one of pie dough’s worst enemies. Take too long rolling out the dough and the butter will start to melt, making for an unhappy crust. To help keep your counter cool, cover a baking sheet with ice cubes and place it on the area where you intend to roll out the dough. That tactic will buy you a little extra time.
• Rotate the crust 90 degrees periodically as you’re rolling it. That will give you a more even circle and keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Re-flour the work surface if things get tacky.
• Make your crusts in advance. The disks of dough or even the rolled-out crust pressed into the pie dish can rest in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll take one thing off your to-do list, and you’ll have plenty of time to start over if something goes awry (been there, done that).
• If something does go wrong, roll with it. I mean, it’s the bottom of the pie, right? (Okay, there are those pesky double-crust projects. . . .) Do your best, and call it a day. Smile, because, hey, you’re going to be eating pie!
Today’s plan-ahead tip from deputy Food editor Bonnie S. Benwick:
Dig out that cooler from the summer and clean it thoroughly. A day or two before Thanksgiving, you can pack the bottom with frozen water bottles. Kept on the deck or in the garage, the cooler will provide extra cold storage for pie crust dough and other make-ahead holiday foods. (You can also transfer your already-frozen, non-holiday foods there, to make room in your freezer or refrigerator.)
More Thanksgiving FAQs:
Cranberry Apricot Pie (pictured above)