Edible: Brooklyn Pie Master Perfects Crust Craft
If you think you can’t make pie, you’re in luck: One of Brooklyn’s best bakers has just put out a cookbook. Rachel Wharton of Edible Magazine filed the following report.
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A self-taught chef, Millicent Souris has baked at some of the borough's best restaurants and taught countless cooks in pie classes at Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg. Now "How to Build a Better Pie" reveals the techniques she learned from hundreds of lattice crusts and crumbles.
You’ll have to buy the cookbook to learn how to master her deep dish Dutch apple and blackberry banana, but we did score some tips on perfecting your crust.
Souris is old-school. She starts with all-organic, all-purpose flour from a real grist mill in Pennsylvania, and uses old-fashioned leaf lard. Made from rendered pig fat -- sorry, vegetarians -- lard can be found at most butcher shops citywide.
"I'm going to use half butter and half leaf lard. I think that’s the best crust because the butter has a great flavor to it, and the leaf lard adds a nice tenderness to the crust, and it has a really clean flavor so it's not super buttery," explains Souris.
But the most important trick of all is how you blend your fat and your flour together. First, make sure your fats are really cold. Then mix it fast, and use your fingertips to crumble it all into shaggy pieces about an inch wide. They'll look too messy, but trust the expert.
"It's a really primitive thing, but it's just smashed together. It's not mixed together, it's not melted and put all together --- it's barely held together. And that's what I think is so maddening about pie crusts, it’s really simple, it’s really primitive, and it can just crack on you. So you just have to practice a lot, so luckily people like pie, so it's pretty easy to practice," says Souris.
Want more pie? Save the date for Edible's Eat Drink Local Restaurant Week, which begins June 23.