The Perfect Pastry
Making the perfect pastry is all about ingredients and a light touch. My Mom has probably baked a million pies in her lifetime and she doesn’t have to measure ingredients, she can produce the perfect crust by feel.
For me, it has been an ongoing experiment but I figured it all comes down to the fat content. To start off with, it starts with a combination of butter and lard. It is very difficult to find lard in Moscow but what they do have is pure white fat from beef that they eat while drinking vodka. You can buy it at any store but it is covered in spices. Now it becomes a challenge to get all that seasoning off without adding an odd flavour to the pie crust. I decided to cut away as much of the coating first then wash it thoroughly. Once I got the outside cleaned I cubed it into 1cm cubes and placed it in the freezer for 24 hours. I did the same with the butter. There are two more ingredients that help make the pastry flakey. As you can see the fat content is very important, so one of the other ingredients is cream as a substitute for the water, and the other is baking powder.
On the recipe page is my perfect pastry recipe.
The one disadvantage to this extremely flakey crust is that it shrinks slightly. If you use this dough for a pre-baked shell, line your pie plate with the dough then place a piece of parchment paper on top and top with an identical pie plate. Take the pie plates and flip them upside down and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 3/4 of your time then flip right side up carefully removing the upper pie plate and parchment paper and bake the last few minutes.