Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Pies Hit The Bottle

My Thanksgiving was all about the booze. First, I added vodka to my
homemade pie crust and it was fabulous. See there's this issue with
pie crust that if you add too much liquid (water) when you make it,
the gluten gets activated or some other mumbo-jumbo, and the resulting
crust is hard and gluey instead of soft and flaky. So you add the
minimum amount of water to get it to hold together and then reform the
crust eight hundred times after rolling it out because it cracks every
time you try to move it due to severe lack of moisture.

However, Cooks Illustrated had a brilliant hypothesis which they
turned into a foolproof recipe. Alcohol, specifically that magical
flavorless wonder known as vodka, adds moisture but does not activate
the gluten, and the alcohol bakes out when you cook it. So the raw
crust is super easy to work with (and has quite a kick to it-- chaser
with your bite of pie dough?), and the baked crust is as light as a
dream. I recommend Ketel One to all you bakers out there.

The second booze fest took place during the gravy making portion of
the evening. There was a time when we'd put my grandmother in charge
of the gravy. She would spend more time explaning she had no idea how
to make gravy than she did making the actual gravy, and I remember
standing with her as she stirred in the special gravy flour into the
pan juices and shrugged the whole time to indicate her level of
comfort with the process. This year, we had a recipe which created a
lovely gravy, and it basically consisted of wine, fat, and flour. Now
I have no idea what genius finally realized those three elements
belong together (my mother found the recipe), but thanks to you. It
was delicious.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Julie, Have mercy on me and send me the pie crust recipe, please. Love, Mary

1:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home