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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

{Super Easy Pastry Dough}

After posting my salsa recipe last night, I thought to myself that there could be (and probably is) a blog completely devoted to uses of a food processor.  Don't get me wrong, you can survive in the kitchen without one, but for all of those people who have one, or have even thought about it, I would love to inspire you!  For instance, those of you - like Amber - who have had one (and have celebrated their 5 year wedding anniversary...for which they received this wonderful appliance as a gift) and have never used it, I hope to coax you to bring it out of the cabinet.

Trying not to sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump, you could make....
Pastry dough
Lettuce wraps
Salad components (in a flash!)
Ground meat
Shredded cheese
Puréed soups
and so much more!

It slices, it dices, it chops, it Purées .....  You get the picture.  The BIG picture though is that it makes life easier.

Tonight I am making pastry dough.  This is another recipe that works just fine without the food processor, but it is wonderfully easy with this appliance.

I learned to make pies from my grandmother before I even started school.  This is what we used to cut in the shortening then. 

There is considerably more work involved with a pastry cutter, but when my grandmother was my age, she used two butter knives.  I would say the multiple wires and one hand operation is a huge improvement from that torture.

For the recipe you will need the following:
1 cup - Flour
1/2 tsp - Salt
1 tsp - Sugar (Optional for sweet pastry dough) 
1/3 cup - Shortening (very cold)
2-3 Tbls - Ice Cold Water

Food processor, pastry cutter or a couple of butter knives

The ingredients above make one crust.  Adjust accordingly if you need a top and bottom crust or multiple pies.

First, measure a level cup of flour

Add your salt and optional sugar and mix into the flour

And 1/3 cup of shortening.

Next, pulse or cut the shortening into the flour.  If you are using a pastry cutter, Cut down and across into the mixture.  For the butter knives, position them into an X and cut across to a V with the knives through the mixture, repeat, repeat, repeat....

The mixture should be somewhere between peas and cornmeal.

When the shortening is fully cut in, add the first two tablespoons of water.  This is where the "you can add more, but not take it back" comes in again.

Pulse or mix in the water until the dough starts to come together.

If necessary, you may need to add a little more water.  Add just a bit at a time.  You are looking for the dough to hold together when you press it lightly, but not wet.

Since this dough is for a dinner tomorrow night, I am wrapping it in plastic wrap.  Many people suggest letting the dough chill and rest, but if you use really cold ingredients and work quickly it will come out just fine (or maybe my grandmother was just impatient, so that's how I was taught).

That's all there is to it!

I know Kimberly, I need to show how to roll the dough out without being a steamroller. :)
Tomorrow night, I promise!

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