As promised, I tested a new pie crust recipe over the weekend. Following the advice of you wonderful readers (both of you), I tried an all-butter crust. The result? I super-flaky and flavorful crust that was a near-perfect base for a simple peach tart.
Last week I ordered Ratio and got straight to baking from it. While I'm not convinced that this is the end-all, be-all of cookbooks (that is, however, how I feel about Bittman's How To Cook Everything, but you already knew that), the idea of cooking by ratios is, in theory, a great one.
So I followed Ruhlman's advice and went for a 3-2-1 pie crust (three parts flour, two parts fat--butter in this case--and one part water). To make it flakier, after gently forming the dough into a ball, wrapping it in plastic wrap, and chilling it for 30 minutes, I shaped it into a rectangle. I rolled the rectangle out just a little bit, folded it in thirds, and repeated that step about three times. Not only did this make the dough flakier by creating layers upon layers of butter and flour....It also made the edges of the crust cleaner! Remarkable!
Then, I rolled it into a round shape, transferred it to the foil-lined baking sheet, and added a simple filling (peeled, chopped peaches, an indeterminate amount of sugar, juice from one lime, and a tablespoon of flour). For the rustic tart look, I simply pulled the edges up over the filling. It baked at 350 for almost 45 minutes; we thought it was taking too long, so I cranked the heat up to 400 and took it out about 10 minutes later.
I'd post a real recipe here, but I'm still perfecting the pie. It was delicious, but...What I did learn? Butter crust packs a punch--but a couple of my testers uttered things like, "Whoa--it's very buttery." So maybe I will cut down just a tad on the butter next time. As for the peaches, folks suggested adding cinnamon, which I had intentionally left out to let the flavor of the farmers' market peaches shine.
Overall, a success. But it's not church pie contest material just yet.