Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hot Water Pastry

I made pumpkin pie the other day.  From scratch.  It's not hard.  In fact, once the sugar pumpkin was cooked and cooled, the whole process took about an hour, including the baking of the pie.  I highly recommend it.  And while pumpkin pie from scratch is high fat, it's fairly low in sugar, so it was our baked good breakfast on Saturday morning.  Pumpkin is healthy, right?

But making the pie reminded me that I needed to post my pastry dough recipe.

I'm not one for high maintenance cooking, and with two small boys, I really can't be.  If traditional pastry with ice water and repetitions of rolling and refrigeration were the only way to make pastry, I wouldn't do it.

One of my favorite vintage cookbooks, The Royal Guide to Meal Planning, mercifully includes a recipe for pastry dough's low maintenance sibling:  Hot Water Pie Crust.  Since the book is now in the public domain, here's the recipe:

Hot Water Pie Crust
  • 1.5 C flour
  • 1 stick butter or other solid fat, softened
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ~1/4 C hot water
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.  Cut in the softened butter.  Combining the butter and dry ingredients works best when done with one's hands, and will produce a crumbly mixture.  Pour in a little hot water at a time until the mixture becomes a soft dough.  It will be very sticky when it first comes together, but continued handling will make it more manageable.  Roll out on a floured surface.

This recipe produces enough dough to make a covered pie, so I use a half recipe for a pumpkin pie or a quiche.  

I usually start with butter straight out of the freezer, so I put the butter on my stovetop (in its wrapper) near the burner where I keep my tea kettle.  I then boil a pot of water.  By the time the water boils, the heat has softened the butter enough to be usable, and I have hot water for the crust and for my tea cup :)

I have made this recipe with vegetable oil (a liquid fat), and it turned out alright, although I did need to use more flour, and it did not cooperate as well with the rolling pin.  But using butter just works so much better that it's really not worth doing anything else.  I've also made this recipe with everything from white to whole wheat flour, and it works fine.

This pie crust is not flaky.  Skipping the work involved in traditional pie crust costs flakiness.  However, that texture just isn't that important to me.

This post has been linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT FamilyWelcome Home at Raising Arrows, Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy's Recipes, and Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy.

1 comment:

Lori said...

I'm intrigued, and a lazy enough cook to try it! thanks for sharing :)