I did a cooking lesson the other day and was met with embarrassing failure. The dough I made for the chicken pot pies didn’t hold together. It was mushy. Soft. Stuck to the bench and just wouldn’t cooperate. Analyzing the situation, I realized that the butter was warm, the flour came out of the warm kitchen cupboard and the refrigerator just wasn’t cold enough.
Dumping the failure into the trash (I know, I could have recycled it into something,) I tried again. Cool (not really COLD) butter, refrigerated until I needed it, still warm flour and a good food processor turned the dry ingredients plus the butter and egg into a passable, but not terribly malleable, dough.
The lesson (especially if you live in a warm climate like Florida!):
…Keep your flour in the freezer.
…Keep your butter in a cold refrigerator.
…Keeping your eggs at room temperature doesn’t mean keeping them at 85 degrees.
Below is the wonderful dough recipe that never fails (usually.)
Mise en Place:
What You Need:
2 large eggs, whisked
300 grams all-purpose flour, plus extra for bench
½ teaspoon sea salt, “fine grain” if you can find it
1 teaspoon baking powder
225 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter. Chilled. Cut into pea-sized pieces, and chilled again
1 egg, whisked, for crust
Utensils and Tools:
Fork or small whisk
Paring knife to cut butter
With a fork, beat eggs together in medium bowl.
Flour. Salt. Baking Powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3 times to mix.
Add the butter pieces. Pulse 3 times to mix the butter in, then pulse again 3 times.
Add whisked eggs to processor. On low power or pulsing, blend until the dough forms a ball. It may take about 30 seconds, but it will eventually get there. The dough should be smooth and shiny.
Splash a little of the extra flour on the bench.
Remove the dough from the food processor and place on bench. If necessary, tip the food processor bowl onto the bench and remove the blade.
Press the dough ball together. With a knife, cut the ball in two. Pat the balls into two flat disks and wrap each with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
AFTER ONE HOUR:
Remove one disk from the refrigerator. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Flour the bench and sprinkle a little on the dough. Press the dough into the shape you want it, and then gently roll from the bottom third to the top third. Don’t roll to the edges. Keep turning it as you roll.
Wrap the dough over the rolling pin to remove it from the bench and place in a baking dish. Use fingers to pat into place, avoiding fingernails cutting into dough.
If you’re making a two-crusted pie, place the baking dish with the bottom crust into the refrigerator while you prepare the filling and roll the second crust. Be sure the filling is cool before adding it to the pie dish and that you flour the bench before rolling the top crust.
Swab the edges of the bottom crust with the egg before adding top crust. Place the top crust onto the pie.
When both crusts are together, trim the edges with a scissor and either crimp or press down with edges of a fork. Chill all for another hour before baking. Just before baking, use a pastry brush to egg wash the top of the pie and then place on baking tray. Bake according to directions.
And above all else… keep cool!