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first step of the sour cream raisin pie experimentation

As I mentioned yesterday, while I was at my parents' I was trying to recreate a thirty year old memory for my Dad:  sour cream raisin pie.  I had brought cookbooks to read with me, all baking type and actually had made an apple galette the day before.  I had used the recipe from the Violet Bakery cookbook for the pie crust.  It was the same actual recipe as my pie crust recipe but I did a few things differently that seemed to make a huge difference.

I used the best European cultured butter I could find.  I picked some up from the Brittany region of France while we were picking up Christmas wreaths.  There is something to be said for butter with a higher level of butter fat.  I also find that the cultured butter has better flavor.

Refrigerating the dough.  I had never done this before and I think it helped with the final dough texture as well as how easy it was to work out.  Even with my hurting shoulders, when it comes to doughs I have strength.  I can pummel most doughs no matter what physical shape I am in. 

The granite counter top that my parents have in their kitchen helped keep the dough cold during the whole rolling process.  This also made a difference.  I am now considering changing my mind on what I want to replace my damaged kitchen counter top with.  There may be a granite portion but it will probably not be the happy granite my parents have.  Huge crystals and many colors.  Makes a geophysicist happy to work in the space.  I do know of other places to pick up some interesting slabs though.

So . . . I am writing down the pie crust recipe so I do not forget everything I learned.  Thanks for bearing with me.

And can I also say, when you have not used a rolling pin with handles in thirty plus years it is completely odd!

pie crust

Note:  I used the Violet Bakery recipe, which is the same as the Joy of Cooking, which is the same as . . .  I am writing this down so I do not forget what I learned.  I remember tortilla recipe because you switch the water and butter portions from pie crust. That means I have been using this recipe for over thirty years.

1 cup flour

a pinch of salt (thumb, pointer, and middle finger)

a pinch of sugar (thumb, pointer, and middle finger)

6 tablespoons the best butter you can buy:  Pulgra, artisan, European cultured

3 tablespoons water

Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl.  Cut in the butter using a fork.  The consistency of the mix should be something similar to a very coarse cornmeal.  Some larger pea size chunks of butter are fine.  Mix in the one tablespoon of water and then another.  I always need the third but you may not depending on the humidity in your kitchen.  The dough should come together in a loose ball. 

Knead it a few times to bring it into a smooth ball.  Flatten and wrap in cling wrap.  Put in the refrigerator for at least a half hour.  More if you can.

At this point, the dough is ready to roll out.  Keep the surface you are working on as cold as possible and floured.  This rolls out easily into a single pie crust.

Fillings tomorrow!

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