Flashcards in CONCEPT 44: VODKA MAKES PIE DOUGH EASY Deck (53):
The trouble with pie dough is what?
It never behaves the same way twice; you need to troubleshoot.
Perfect pie dough has the right balance of what?
Tenderness and structure; the former comes from fat, the latter from long protein chains called gluten.
What happens when water hydrates the proteins in flour (think hydrogen bonds)?
Water molecules attach themselves to the proteins through the formation of hydrogen bonds. Hydrogen bonds are weak, electrostatic bonds that hold water molecules onto the surface of the protein molecules, giving the coiled protein molecules flexibility to unravel and bond with each other in order to form strands of gluten.
Why doesn't alcohol form gluten when introduced to flour?
The ethyl alcohol in vodka and other liquors doesn't attach itself in the same way as water. Because of this, it does not hydrate the proteins and help form gluten.
What if you don't have vodka in your pantry for pie dough?
Any 80-proof liquor can be used in its place. Pie doughs made with rum, whisky and gin worked just as well; tasters couldn't tell a difference or detect any alcohol.
TEST KITCHEN: PIE DOUGH MADE WITH 1:1 RATIO OF WATER AND VODKA AND ANOTHER MADE WITH ALL WATER. PENNIES WERE PLACED AT THE CENTER OF EACH CRUST WHILE THEY WERE BALANCED ON TWO SMALL METAL CUPS.
The vodka crust crumbled immediately while the all water was noticeably tougher.
How long can dough be kept in the refrigerator and freezer?
2 days in the refrigerator and 1 month in the freezer.
What percentage of water and ethanol is vodka?
60% water and 40% ethanol.
Why don't you taste alcohol in the pie crust?
Alcohol vaporizes in the oven.
How many fats should you use in pie dough? Explain.
Use two fats. Butter contributes flavor but also water, which encourages gluten development. Using a 3:2 ratio of butter to shortening (pure fat, no water) creates a flavorful and tender crust.
Why use more fat than the typical recipe?
It coats the flour more thoroughly so less gluten can form--makes it taste better, too.
How and why should you add the flour in two separate parts?
Processing the fat with part of the flour for a good 15 seconds to thoroughly coat it, then give the mixture a few quick pulses once the remaining flour is added, so less of it gets coated. This provides protection against toughness and aids in flakiness by creating two distinct layers; one with gluten and one without.
Two key pointers to keep in mind when rolling pastry dough. Think roll and turn.
First, always work with well chilled pastry; otherwise, the dough will stick to the counter and tear. Second, never roll out dough by rolling back and forth over the same section.
Are French rolling pins better for rolling dough? Explain.
Long, tapered French rolling pins are gentler on delicate dough than standard rolling pins.
Why is it important to never roll out dough by rolling back and forth over the same section?
Each time you press on the same spot, more gluten develops that can toughen the dough. Also, rolling back and forth makes it impossible to roll the dough into an even circle. Instead, roll the pin over the dough once, then rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll again--this ensures the dough forms a neat circle and that no part is getting overworked or tough.
What is said about hot water crust and taste?
It's easy to work with but doesn't taste good.
Is hot water crust one of the oldest forms of pastry?
How is hot water crust made?
Boiling water is whisked into fat (usually lard) until it forms an emulsion. This lard mixture is then added to flour.
What makes hot water crust "mealy?"
It's higher than usual fat content and the fact that "precooking" the flour with a hot water emulsion causes some of its starches to immediately swell with water, making less liquid available to form structure building gluten.
How do you avoid a soggy fruit pie crust?
Preheating the sheet pan for 15 minutes at 400ºF created a solid and intact pie crust.
Why do juices penetrate a pie crust when baking?
In its raw state, pie dough is made of cold, solid fat and moist flour. These layers are easily permeated by juices from the fruit filling (cherries in this case), which stay in the dough for the duration of baking. The key to protecting the dough is to partially liquefy the solid fat as quickly as possible so that it can better fill the spaces among the particles of flour., creating a water tight barrier.
Why use a glass pie plate?
Glass conducts heat poorly but retains and distributes heat very well, so you get more evening browning than in a ceramic or metal, and glass won't react with the acidic fillings (metal can do this - it's a problem with leftovers). Last, glass allows you to check the progress of your bottom crust by lifting and checking.
What can you use to thicken a pie filling besides flour or cornstarch?
Natural pectin from fruit (grated granny smith apples) and/or tapioca (ground up so no pearls remain).
What does cooking half the fruit and adding fresh at the end accomplish?
Creates a combination of intensely cooked fruit and bright-tasting fresh fruit.
Are blueberries low in natural pectin?
What is the only downside of commercial pectin?
It needs the presence of a certain amount of sugar and acid to work.
Does "no sugar needed" pectin work?
Yes, but it's very acidic; tasters didn't like its sourness.
Secret to the great texture of a well made jam.
After baking, what does a pie need to do for neat slices?
Rest around 4 hours while the filling sets.
What temp should you warm a pie in the oven at?
350ºF for 10 minutes.
What happens if too much tapioca is used to thicken a filling?
It takes on a gummy texture; 2 tablespoons was not enough for a pie filling. This is why apple was used.
What is the best natural pectin for making gels?
IS more pectin found in the skin or flesh of a fruit?
Why are apples great sources of pectin?
They contain high amounts of high-methoxyl pectin.
Typical problems with an apple pie are a gap between the fruit and top crust and too much liquid. How do you solve the issues.
The apples lose moisture and shrink as they cook; precooking the apples avoid both problems.
How much heat should you use to precook apples? Explain.
Slowly over gentle heat gets rids of excess moisture and actually strengthens the internal structure. High heat just creates apples that are mealy and soft.
Why should you use different varieties of apple for pie filling?
To achieve a fuller, more balanced flavor.
Name two compliments to Granny Smith and Empire (tart) apples.
The sweeter variety of Golden Delicious and Braeburn
Why do you only need four vents (as opposed to more with blueberry pie) for apple pie?
Apples are a lot less juicy than berries and, if the filling is precooked, less steam needs to escape.
Why should you start the oven hot for a pie?
Placing it on a preheated baking sheet on the lowest rack will help brown up the bottom and keep it from becoming soggy.
Does precooking apples help keep their shape in pie?
How does precooking help apples keep their shape?
When gently heated, their pectin is converted to a heat-stable form that prevents the apples from becoming mushy when cooked further in the oven; they key is to keep them below 140ºF when cooked - best to cook in a Dutch oven.
What is masa harina?
Traditional mexican corn flour used in making corn tortillas and tamales. Made by soaking dried corn in limewater or another alkaline solution, then grinding.
Recipe for empinada dough.
3 (15 ounces) cups flour
1 (5 ounces) cup masa harina
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cold vodka or tequila
1/2 cup cold water
5 tablespoons olive oil
Empanadas are South Americas version of Britain's what?
Pasties, or meat turnovers.
How can you add moisture to ground beef for an empanada?
Use a panade.
Why are olives, raisins, vinegar and hard boiled eggs added to the empanada?
Salty, sweet, tart and rich.
What ingredient is added to distinguish an empanada from a pasty?
What does masa harina add to empanadas?
A rich, nutty flavor and rough-hewn texture.
What does masa harina take away from empanadas? Explain.
Gluten! Less flour means less protein in the dough; less protein means we don't need shortening (to tenderize) and can switch to all butter for better flavor.
A trick to ensure the empanada's bottom portion remains crisp.
Drizzle a little oil on a preheating pan before baking.
TEST KITCHEN: FLOUR LEFT OUT FOR 8 HOURS WITH A HUMIDITY OF 85% (New Orleans) AND 25% (Phoenix).
The weight varied by less than 0.5% between the two and, after being baked, the crusts were indistinguishable.