|Boozey blackberry hand pie|
I don't know about you, but I am forever perfecting my pie crust. It's my own quest for the Holy Grail. I love pie better than most desserts...heck, most FOODS out there. And the crust is my favorite part. I've tried many, many recipes, tips, tricks, and gadgets in search of a perfectly flakey, buttery crust that's crumbly, but not dry, and crispy on the bottom. I HATE soggy bottom crust. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
My husband David got me a food processor for Christmas, which changed my life. Seriously, I don't know why I ever doubted the utility of a food processor. It is NOT "basically a blender" as I naively believed before. I think I bust out my Wolfgang Puck (oohhh yes, hubster gets me the good stuff!) at least weekly. I've found a couple trusted, tried-and-true recipes (courtesy of Martha Stewart) that never let me down: my favorites are Our Favorite Pie Crust and Patee Brisee.
A couple weeks ago, I was browsing blogs, as I often do, and while reading Lifehacker's latest, I stumbled upon a previously-unknown secret to making extra crispy, flakey pie crust: replace the water in your favorite recipe with vodka! I just love those guys at Lifehacker. Is there anything they can't do??
This was a very exciting find. This is essentially scientific evidence that booze really does make baking better. Could this be the antidote to soggy bottom crust? My science-minded coworker Peggy confirmed that her daughter uses this trick every time she bakes a pie. Well, if it's endorsed by both Lifehacker and Peggy, then it must be good. Determined to try this trick myself, I dragged David and Bella out to pick some blackberries, which grow wild by a nearby creek. Bella was a little more excited than David.
I got a little overly excited and over-filled my hand pies, which overflowed...hence my lack of step by step photos. Clearly, you shouldn't do exactly what I did, because my pies exploded!!!! The one pictured above was one of few survivors. In my next batch I will rein in the excitement, but let me tell you, there WILL be another batch and it will happen soon! David approves. My pies probably wouldn't win a beauty pageant (it was a work night...what can I say?), but they were SO GOOD. The crust certainly was crispy - top and bottom! I found that I needed just a bit more vodka (about a teaspoon or two more) than the amount of water called for in the recipe. Also, work fast: the vodka evaporates...yes, that is the point of using it, but keep that in mind. I brushed the unbaked, assembled pies with half and half, then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar to finish.
My next endeavor will be another variant on boozey, perfectly crumbly, flakey, and crispy pie crust: brandied apple pie. There is brandy IN THE CRUST! I have beautiful apples from the tree in my backyard, waiting patiently...