I'm not claiming that we make the best pie crust in the world, but we just don't understand how a crust could be any better. Or maybe we just make the best possible pie crust for our particular, genetically-similar food-enjoying apparatuses.
So I embark on all pastry crust related endeavors with a crazy, possibly unfounded confidence.
Over winter break, I thought I would make handpies for myself for the upcoming term. Handpies are handy. Warm and savory, you can eat them with one hand and take notes with the other. Also, I wanted to relive a lovely, frigid fall weekend visiting friends in Boston a few years ago, when we made a butternut squash and carmelized onion galette.* (The galette was amazing, but I also won't forget serving up a beet that I had found that day, forlorn and frozen on the street several blocks away from an outdoor market.)
So the galette was recreated, with a combover of pastry to cover its bald top, and a little more crimping than galettes are used to. (I also filled a few rogue pies with some roasted winter veggies and reduced bone broth.)
I'm happy to admit that these handpies turned out to be several handfuls of delicious, messy, failure. The anticipation of eating them mostly just distracts me from schoolwork, and the pastry is way to delicate to hold anything inside it. As a handpie: not so much; as a belly filler, and smile-provider: two thumbs up, A+, high five! They should be served at dinner to friends who have access to forks.
The Graphic Designer and Daughters' Pastry
2 cups flour
2 sticks butter, room temperature (I mean, like a drafty house in the wintertime room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3 tablespoons cold water
Cut butter into the flour and salt with a pastry cutter or by slicing through the butter with a couple of opposing table knives. Once the grains of butter are all smaller than the tip of your pinky, add 1 tablespoon of the water, making an effort to distribute it as evenly as possible. Gently, bring the mixture together with your hands, aiming to form a ball, but try to handle it as little as possible. If needed add another 1-2 tablespoons of water, distributing it where the mixture is crumbliest, until the mixture becomes a dough. Divide the dough in two, roll, place, primp, fill, bake, beam. This amount will make two crusts--a top and a bottom or two bottoms for open pies--or several handpie crusts.
Next time on Pastry Crust Snobbery: homemade gluten free pie crust! Just for kicks!
*Awesomely, the charming Deb of Smitten Kitchen who provided the original galette recipe, also admits to her filling being merely a vehicle for her pastry. Sigh...blog crush!