How to Make the Perfect Pie Crust: A King Arthur Demo and a Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Look what I made for you:

Pumpkin Mousse Streusel Pie

Pie!

But not just any pie!

Pumpkin Mousse Pie:

Pumpkin Mousse Streusel Pie

With an Oat Streusel topping:

101_2201 (Small)

But before I tell you more about the pie I first have to tell you about the King Arthur Pie Crust and Tart demo I went to and what prompted me to go.
It was all because of this:

Ugly Apple Pie

Ugly Pie!!
Is that not the ugliest pie you’ve ever laid eyes on? It’s an apple pie and the filling was delicious, that I can’t deny. The empty pie plate proved it. But the crust! Ugh. I don’t think I need to say more. I’m an excellent baker, but apparently pastry is not my forte. I haven’t baked a lot of pies, and when I do I almost always use a graham cracker crust.
Just a few days after the ugly pie incident there was a King Arthur Pie Demo that I desperately needed to attend!

King Arthur Pie Crust Demo

A lot of people had the same thought because the room was packed! I was surprised that some people had driven for hours to attend. I picked up a lot of useful tips and I won some door prizes – a cheese cutting board, a rubber ‘bench’ scraper, and a 20 dollar gift card to the King Arthur web site. With all the pie-baking that goes on for the upcoming holidays I thought I would share what I learned.
Tips before you get started:
-Refrigerate your rolling pin, mixing bowl and flour; especially during the summer.
-You can substitute whole wheat flour for up to half the amount of all-purpose in a recipe.
-Unsalted butter will give your crust a ‘fresher’ butter flavor.
-To measure flour use the “fluff, sprinkle, and sweep” method. Flour settles and can become compacted. Stir the flour to fluff it, sprinkle it into the measuring cup and sweep excess off the top with a straight edge like the back of a butter knife. Or use a scale. One cup of flour = 4 and 1/4 ounces.
Preparing the Dough:
-Never use your fingers. Use a fork, two knives, or a pastry blender. Your fingers will make too much gluten, make it warm and greasy, and over-tenderize.
-The degree that you combine the butter and flour will determine the texture of the crust. Barely will give you a flakier crust, thoroughly combining will give you a crisp non flaky crust.

-Form the dough into a disk, not a ball. If making a bottom and top crust, form into two discs, one just slightly larger for the bottom.

-Refrigerate the disk for 30 minutes. This will help the gluten to relax and it won’t shrink as much during cooking.
Rolling the Dough:
-Have your filling ready before rolling, or store the entire pie pan in fridge while preparing the filling.
-Roll from the center outward like the spokes on a wheel, or the sun’s rays. Rolling from one end to the other toughens it and will cause more shrinking during baking.
-Don’t roll off the edges, it pinches the dough.
-Measure an extra inch around the pie for crimping.
-Fold the crust in quarters before transferring to the pie dish. Fold in half, then in half again. Place the point in middle and unfold.
Filling and Baking:
-Brush the bottom crust with milk or beaten egg white before filling to help seal and to prevent sogginess.
-Brush the top with milk or an egg wash, only the middle, not around the edges, and sprinkle with sparkly sugar.
-Make sure to slit the top for steam to escape.
-If crust becomes too dark before the pie is finished baking tent the edges of the crust with aluminum foil, shape it before baking and set aside.
-Bake your pie on the lowest rack, it won’t cook quicker but will prevent the bottom from getting soggy. You can also bake the pie on a preheated baking stone.
-Freeze and save scraps for chicken pot pies.

Printable Tips

After the demo I put these tips to good use and made this Pumpkin Mousse pie with an Oat Streusel topping. You can see a big improvement with my crust – still nowhere near perfect – but getting closer. The pumpkin mousse was delicious! Both my Mom and I agreed that a chocolate graham cracker crust would taste better with it. But I needed the practice and it’s all ugly pie’s fault!

Pumpkin Mousse Streusel Pie

Basic Pie Crust
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)
2 and 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter(2 sticks)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Ice Water
Medium-Flake Method
Mix dry ingredients:
Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Cut in half of the butter, combining thoroughly. You should have very small, very even crumbs.
Cut the remaining butter into small bits. Cut the stick into 4 lenghtwise slices one way, flip it on its side, cut 4 slices the other way, then cut across the strips into 1/4 inch pats.
Toss the tiny bits of butter into the flour mixture, mixing just enough to coat them with flour.
Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork to moisten the dough evenly. To test for the right texture, squeeze a chunk of it together, it should stick together easily. If it falls apart add more water.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface, divide in half, pat into flat disks about an inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To roll out:
Flour your work surface. Roll out quickly from the center outward, adding an extra inch for crimping.
Transfer crust to pie pan by folding in quarters.
Add the pie filling.
Roll out top crust, and center over filling. Wet the edges with milk or beaten egg white to glue together and prevent the hot juices from bubbling out.
Pinch the edges together and flute it with your fingers by pressing inward with one finger and outward with two.
Shape an aluminum foil tent over the edges and set aside until needed.
Bake as directed.

Pumpkin Mousse Streusel Pie

Pumpkin Mousse Streusel Pie

(by Reeni)

Filling:
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Cloves
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 large Eggs, beaten
1 – 30 ounce can Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 – 9-inch deep dish Pie Crust or Graham Cracker Crust
Streusel topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Oats
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup cold Butter
Crust:
2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust:
In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Spray a deep-dish 9-inch pie pan with baking spray. Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base, use your fingers to press it to the sides. Refrigerate.
For the streusel:
In a medium bowl mix together the dry streusel ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
For the filling:
In a large bowl beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla extract. Beat in eggs. Add pumpkin pie filling, beat until just mixed.
Pour into prepared pie pan. Sprinkle streusel evenly over top.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate. 

Best served cold.

Pumpkin Mousse Streusel Pie

 Do you have any tips to share?

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Comments

  1. Walk in the Woods says

    Fantastic! I rarely make pies … yet I *do* love a good pie – which means a good crust!My mom used to have me make her pie dough. She said it was because I had "the light touch." Even though I don't make it often, I do still have "the light touch!"

  2. Angie says

    The only tip I have picked up is to use alcohol instead of water from Alton Brown, you can use any flavor you want to compliment the filling. I have had fun doing this. It is suppose to not make as much gluten.

  3. ~~louise~~ says

    I am so bad at pie crust. Somehow, I even mess up pre-made crust. I sure could use a few lessons. Thanks for sharing these tips but most of all, that pie, is gorgeous!!!!I'm gathering up some recipes to share for National Pumpkin Day (26th) I must grab this link. Thanks for sharing Reeni…

  4. girlichef says

    Lovely!! What a fun event to be able to attend…I'd love to go to one of these :D Your pie looks gorgeous…and just the sound of it has me craving pie now :D Great job!

  5. Jessie says

    oh that is the most amazing pie I have ever seen. I usually do a crumb topping on my pumpkin pie but never thought of adding oats to the crumb topping. sounds amazing!

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