Monday, September 12, 2011

Ratio Pie Crust and a Giveaway

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman is one of the most useful books I own. You see, I like to create my own recipes for things like muffins, cookies, biscuits, and other baked goods.

But you can't start from nothing.

One option is to go find someone else's recipe and adapt it. But then there's a chance that the adaptation will cause the recipe to fail - because the recipe was probably already adapted from somewhere else.

Also, I don't want my blog to be full of recipes that are adapted from somewhere else. I'm fine with publishing recipes from cookbooks when they're part of a review. But I like creating recipes. I like originals. I don't mind using someone else's recipes in my kitchen, but I don't see any point in putting them on my blog. Someone else has already created the recipe. They should keep that glory.

So when I want to create a new recipe, I start with the skeleton, which is what Ratio gives me.

If you're not familiar with the book, the general idea is that there are some ratios that are important for certain elements in recipes. In baking, that might be flour, fat, and liquid. Maybe eggs, too. Once you know the ratios, you can adjust amount, change the type of fat, flour or liquid, or add extra ingredients.

Of course, there are ratios for other things besides baking recipes, but I use the book mostly for things that have flour in them.

So, when I want to make muffins (for example), I turn to Ratio to see what the important ingredients are, and how much of each I need. I adjust the amounts, add extras, and see what happens.

Even if you aren't creating your own recipes, Ratio can come in handy. Have you ever looked up a recipe and thought that it looked off, somehow? Did it seem like there was too much liquid or not enough flour? You can check out the ratios in Ratios and see if the recipe is likely to work.

Of course, the ratios aren't etched in stone. A little more or less will still work. But you don't want to go too far from the ratios if you want your cake to rise or your pastry to puff.

If you'd like your very own copy of Ratio, check out the instructions at the bottom of the post.

Ratio Pie Crust

The recommended ratio for pie crust is 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat, and 1 part liquid by weight. This recipe is what I did with the basic ratio. It makes enough for a double-crusted pie, or two single crusts or tarts.

6 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
6 ounces all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut in chunks
4 ounces apple liqueur, chilled
Additional water (cold), as needed

Put the flours, salt, and sugar in your food processor. Pulse to combine.

Add the butter and pulse until the pieces are the size of peas. With the processor running, add the chilled liqueur as fast as the flour will absorb it. The dough should come together in a ball. If it hasn't add additional water, as needed.

Since this recipe uses whole wheat flour, it tends to need more liquid. You could, of course, use all white flour, if you prefer. You also could use plain water instead of the apple liqueur. I was using it for an apple and pear tart, so the apple liqueur made sense.

But using alcohol makes sense for another reason. Water activates gluten; alcohol doesn't. You can have a wetter pie crust and work it more if you have alcohol in it, than if you have all water, and it will stay tender. If you don't want to add flavor, you can use vodka. Rum is also nice for many recipes. And sometimes I use my home-made vanilla.

Once the dough has started forming a ball (you don't have to wait until it's completely formed - just until you know it has that potential - remove the dough from the food processor and form it into a flat disk. Wrap it well in plastic wrap or put it into a plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, or up to a day or two, before rolling out and using for your pie crust.

Tomorrow, there will be pie. Or rather, a tart. AND another giveaway. Because I'm generous like that.

CONTEST IS CLOSED! THANKS FOR LOOKING.

It's my birthday (week) and I'll give stuff away if I want to!

For your first entry, leave me a comment. Tell me what your favorite pie is. Mmmmm... pie.

For a second entry, tweet a link to this contest and then come back here and make another comment saying that you tweeted. Make sure you put @dbcurrie in your tweet so I can verify. Or put a link to your tweet here.

And that's it. Contest starts today (September 12, 2011) and ends one week from today (September 19, 2011) at midnight, Mountain time. Winners will be chosen randomly.

Note: I purchased the book for the giveaway, and I also purchased my own book. No freebies for me this time.

60 comments:

The Poet Herself said...

Dutch Apple Pie is my favorite. Yum!

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen said...

First off Happy Birthday!! This would be a really great book to have on hand! I love any kind of pie, but probably chocolate pie is my favorite.

The Poet Herself said...

I tweeted about it! http://twitter.com/PoetInThePantry/status/113256262204006400

burntloafer said...

Agreed - a very useful book, more for changing my thought process than anything else.

PlumGaga said...

Blueberry pie is the essence of summer.

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen said...

I tweeted your giveaway.

Nelly Rodriguez said...

Favorite pie? Mm, coconut cream pie...Or Lemon Meringue Pie...or one I've never had but seems amazing...Fudge Pie!

Nelly Rodriguez said...

I tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/nella22/statuses/113263601103544320

Drew said...

My favorite pie is Maple Pecan pie!

Sheila Ann said...

Happiest Birthday!

Dutch Apple Pie is also my fav. I also prepare this one for the holidays every now and again: Maple-Apple-Cranberry with a Cinnamon Sugar Crust. Server with strawberry ice cream. I found this in Bon Apetit or Gourmet way long ago.

Robyn said...

Tweeted! http://twitter.com/#!/kidsleepy/status/113274773756321792

Robyn said...

Apple pie (a la mode of course!)

Jenny in Ohio said...

My favorite pie is...Banoffee pie! And I'm not even British. :)

Kickassninja said...

Blueberry pie would be my first favorite , bacon egg pie would be my second

frank said...

classic apple pie. what else?

frank said...

retweeted.

Sara said...

Great giveaway! My favorite pie is sour cherry.

Morsels of Life said...

happy birthday! My favorite pie is pecan pie!

John said...

Is cheesecake considered a pie? If so, then that is my favorite. Classic oven-baked, Mexican-style cheesecake.

John said...

I tweeted about the giveaway!

Kirsten Hrobsky said...

Never heard of this book before but it sounds fantastic! Thanks for the heads up, even if I don't win it. I like to experiment in the kitchen as well and this book could explain why some work so well and others flop (literally and figuratively...).

Chef Mike Benninger said...

Pie...best one ever is fresh Ontario peaches from the orchard down the road with lots of grated fresh ginger a touch of cinnamon.

Nossi @ The Kosher Gastronome said...

It might be boring, but good ole` apple pie, with a caramel drizzle, and some vanilla ice cream, seriously how can you top that?

Nossi @ The Kosher Gastronome said...

And I tweeted! (i kinda want that book):)

Hali Bey said...

I like tomato pie, in an eggy custard and flaky crust.

Farmgirl Gourmet said...

my favorite pie is Blueberry. Just love it.

Laura @MotherWouldKnow said...

Happy Birthday (week) - Just found your blog through Michael R's RT. Love your blog and concept. My favorite pie is sour cherry. Had it on July 4th and have been dreaming about it ever since.

Farmgirl Gourmet said...

tweeted!! :)

Linda@Kitchen Therapy said...

A favorite is hard to choose, it depends on the day. But I'd happily go for coconut cream, pumpkin, or PB (made with silken tofu).

Laura @MotherWouldKnow said...

Just tweeted your contest - now I have to stop looking at all the pics and recipes on this blog and get back to work (and that's an order - to myself!)

Linda@KitchenTherapy said...

Tweeted!

K. said...

Strawberry Rhubarb is my favorite pie!

Hanaâ said...

Happy birthday!! What a great giveaway. As for my favorite... Hard to choose... chocolate pudding pie or apple pie. I love both.

elvi said...

So hard to choose a favourite! I love my mother's apple-rhubarb pie, but I am also very partial to the local maple swirl pies here in Quebec!

Ratio is a great book and a great app, too. I'd love to own it.

Thanks!

Eva W. said...

Beautiful pie. Clever use of apple liqueur instead of water - similar to America's Test Kitchen calling for vodka in their crust. My favorite pie is blueberry!

nikorc said...

My grandmother made a French Apple Tart that I still have not got the recipe from my family for but to this day has to be a favorite.

Jason said...

Favorite pie... easy, banana cream. YUM!

Jason said...

Shared via tweet!

Jan said...

Rhubarb custard!

Steve said...

My favorite pie is pie. If I have to be specific, tart cherry

Meghan said...

I love huckleberry apple pie. However, a close second is strawberry rhubarb.

S. said...

Favorite pie is a maine blueberry cream pie... which I only make during August when the local berries are at their peak.

Jan said...

I love the appearance and taste of peach and blueberry...Yum!

sarah said...

CHERRY!

sarah said...

tweeted it! http://twitter.com/#!/SConner/status/113669698348003328

Anonymous said...

Apple pie!

Britt T.

brittany_tucker@aol.com

Leaper said...

Hm, that's hard.... I think I'll go for rhubarb. Plain rhubarb, not strawberry rhubarb, which is an Abomination. (I have strong feelings about rhubarb. Also, rhubarb doesn't look like a word anymore.)

My granddad always used to say that he liked two kinds of pie - hot and cold.

Shaheen said...

What a fantastic way to celebrate your Birthday to share with others.

My favourite pie has to be apple pie.

I'd love to win this book as I have not heard of it in the U.K and it woudl be great.
mangocheek@sky.com

Anonymous said...

Not a big pie fan, but I definitely like pumpkin pie - more savory and custardy.
Rebecca
DrLiebes@Bex.net

CatBoy said...

I'm with Leaper, rhubarb straight-up. Although, sweet potato or lemon pie are also welcome.

Aaron said...

I would consider selling my soul for a perfect rhubarb pie. Yum!

chefpandita.com said...

My favorite pie? mmm Mixed berry pie :D

chefpandita.com said...

Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/chefpandita/status/114773136167276545

allensmall said...

my favorite pie is probably blueberry but i would never say no to a piece of pie

JoeyfromSC said...

PIE=YUM!! LOL

I haven't met a pie I did not like, yet lol..But my absolute fave is coconut cream pie!! *drool*

Thank you for the chance to win!

ajoebloe(at)gmail(dot)com

JoeyfromSC said...

Tweeted:

http://twitter.com/#!/JoeyfromSC/status/115119430433902592

ajoebloe(at)gmail(dot)com

Ace Dans said...

Oh! This book looks so very useful! Please enter me in the contest.
Thanks for the chance!~

Ace Dans said...

I tweeted this

mmmm, cherry pie. Ratio Pie Crust and a Giveaway: http://bit.ly/pJvOBa via @AddThis

Donna Currie said...

Congrats to Jenny in Ohio for winning the book!

Jenny in Ohio said...

yay!! I am excited for this one. :) Read so many good things about it. Thanks Donna!

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