CHOOSING A PIE PLATE
Many cooks prefer glass plates. The crusts brown better on the bottom and can be monitored more easily. Buy standard-sized plates (8", 9", or 10") if you’re plateless-- deep-dish and other specialty plates can be added to the collection when you’re ready to branch out. Most recipes call for standard sizes so you won’t have to finagle the recipe.
Regarding good heavy ceramic plates… Glass can brown too quickly. The ceramic ones that are glazed inside and on the rim (but left unglazed outside) are the ticket. They discolor and improve with age and repeated apple filling spilling over the edge.
USING COLD TO CREATE FLAKY PASTRY
Cold, cold, cold --the pastry, the marble slab (if you’re lucky enough to own one), the water in the recipe. Cold fat congeals! Rumor has it some chefs even chill the flour, but be mindful that condensation can create lumps.
USING A FOOD PROCESSOR TO MAKE YOUR CRUST
It’s tempting to use a food processor to fling together a crust. Many old-fshioned pie makers feel it is impossible to do so and create a pastry as flaky as one made by hand. Despite that caveat, an acceptable crust can still be made, so, if time is short, pull out the trusty Cuisinart. Chill the bowl and blade. Feather that pulse button! Inspect the texture of the dough carefully during pauses. As soon as the dough begins to form a ball, remove it from the machine.
HOW TO USE PASTRY SCRAPS
Butter scraps, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake like cookies. It is so good that way!!
Spread with butter, cinnamon and BROWN sugar and then ROLLED into little loose tubes. They are called “Schnukerhiesen”.
FREEZING PASTRY DOUGH
Pie crust dough freezes better in a ball than rolled-out dough. A ball takes up little room in the freezer and it won’t be broken when you shove in another half gallon of ice cream. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap. Thaw at room temperature, in the plastic to prevent it from drying out, until only slightly chilled. Proceed with your pie.