I’ve been in search of a good pie crust recipe for a long time now, one that’s just flaky enough, is buttery, and still holds together when you try to take a slice out of a pie plate. As I’m sure you all know, shortening makes for a very flaky crust, butter makes for a very tasty crust, and vodka makes for a very…wait, back it up a minute, vodka?!?
Yup! The classic pie dough recipe has a pretty set ratio of flour to fat to liquid. Vodka, because it helps hold the fat and flour together, but doesn’t affect the gluten and evaporates when baking, helps make for a very flaky crust. So, let’s make a vodka pie crust! I’ll be trying different crust recipes in later posts, to try and find the best tasting but still flaky one. For today though, bring on the vodka!
The recipe, m’dears:
Vodka Pie Crust
- 1 1/4 c flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 6 tbsp. butter, cut into chunks
- 1/4 c. shortening, cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp. cold water
- 2 tbsp. cold vodka
Mix 3/4 cup flour with the salt and sugar in a mixer. Add in the butter and shortening and mix until the fat is in small chunks and there is no loose flour. Add remaining flour and mix until just mixed — don’t over-mix it, or the dough will become tough when cooked. Add in the water and vodka (perhaps take a swig yourself?), and mix until just mixed — again, be careful not to over-mix it. Shape it into a ball, flatten it slightly, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 45 minutes min. (Chilling the dough makes for a flakier crust. Do I always chill it? No. But it does make it flakier!)
I once had a pie party. Quoi, you ask? A party, where it’s all about the pies! I made apple pies and stuck a happy birthday pick into one to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Today though, we’re making individual meat pies! Or more correctly, vegetarian meat pies. I had some dried TVP (textured vegetable protein) lying around the house that I had bought from Bulk Barn one time, and I added it to a brown gravy packet (I know! It’s not from scratch! But given that I use a gravy mix packet about once a year, I’m ok with that.) and voila, vegetarian meat pie filling! You’ll be hard pressed to differentiate it from a real meat pie.
Meat Pie Filling
- 1/2 c TVP (easily found at bulk stores)
- water to reconstitute the TVP
- Knorr Gravy Packet (or whatever gravy packet you find)
Reconstitute the TVP according to the instructions (basically, pour boiling water over it and let it sit). While it’s soaking up that water, make the gravy (basically, add water to packet and put in microwave for a few minutes, stirring every minute). Mix TVP and gravy together. Ta da! Filling is done.
Vegetarian Meat Pies
- 1 recipe vodka pie crust
- 1 recipe meat pie filling
Take the pie dough from the fridge and cut it into six pieces. Take one piece out and put the rest back in the fridge. Roll out that one piece to about 1/8 inch thick. Use a mug turned upside down to cut out a circle. Take that circle and press it into a muffin pan. Add a scoop of meat pie filling. Take the pie dough scraps from the same first piece of dough, and roll it out into a circle. Add that to the top of your pie-in-a-muffin-cup, and pinch the edges together. Cut a cross in the top to let the steam escape. Repeat with remaining 5 pie dough pieces. Bake in a 450 degree oven until the tops are golden brown. Cool on a rack and remove. Eat. Sigh in ecstasy. Accept accolades as your due. Makes 6 mini meat pies.
I love these pies, guys! They’re so freaking adorable! And sooooo delicious! I’ve packed two up for lunch for the DH and I for tomorrow, and stuck two in the freezer for lunches some other time, and the remaining two…have been happily consumed by me. 🙂 I did let the DH have a bite though. I’m sweet like that.
Oh, one last tip, as you take out the pies from the oven, it’s crucial to let them sit and cool before removing them. The tops of the crust may separate from the bottom because the filling is bubbling away, but as it cools, the gravy will act as glue and stick them back together again. This dough holds together really well, and you can even cut the meat pies in half once they’re cold, and the pastry won’t fall apart.
Try these pies out — people will be super-impressed and you’ll love the flavour. Let me know in the comments what you think!
Next Post: The Pie Odyssey Continues, and why mentoring is A Good Thing.