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Pastry for Cream and Custard Pie

The best way to work with this recipe is to roll the pastry out and bake it the same day it is made. Or freeze the dough, then defrost it, roll it out, and bake it promptly.

Beaten egg in this recipe supplies resilience in the face of a moist filling.

Ah, the pizza stone. It’s never far from our oven gates. In fact, we rarely remove it from the oven at all. To get a superior bottom crust on a pie—any pie, but particularly a pie whose filling begins as a liquid like custard or pumpkin—a pizza stone is essential. (If you don’t own one, buy one. You will not regret it.) The crust needs to be blind-baked on the stone to become set before it’s assaulted by liquid filling.

Moist fillings with eggs need gentle oven heat. This means the piecrust must be well baked—and browned—before the filling gets to it. It will brown very little once it’s filled.

equipment mise en place

To make the dough, you will need a digital kitchen scale, two small bowls, a whisk, a fine tea strainer, a food processor, a dinner fork, a bench knife, a rolling pin, a standard 9-inch pie pan, a pizza stone, aluminum foil, and about a quart of dried beans or pie weights for blind baking.

ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 6 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour, chilled
  • Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted European-style butter, cut into
    1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons iced water

instructions

  1. Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk it well. Pour the egg through a fine tea strainer into a second small bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons of beaten egg into the now-empty first bowl. 
  2. Place the flour and salt in a food processor bowl and pulse to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the surface and pulse to a coarse meal, about six 1-second pulses. Dump the contents of the processor onto a clean, dry work surface. Scoop the mixture into a loose mound with your hands and make a well in the center of it. Add 2 tablespoons of iced water to the egg and combine lightly with a fork, and then pour this mixture into the well. Draw the dry ingredients into the well with the fork, cupping the flour that forms the perimeter of the well with your spare hand. Once the dough crumbs feel uniformly moist and adhesive, use your fingers to lightly toss and fluff the mixture. With a bench knife, drag the scraggly mass toward you on the work surface. Use the heel of your hand and short, forward thrusts against the work surface to smear the cold butter chunks into the flour, Scrape everything together with a bench knife and repeat. Press the dough firmly into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  3. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. Place a pizza stone on the rack and heat the oven to 425 degrees; allow the pizza stone to heat for at least 1 hour. Roll out the dough into a 15-inch round on a lightly floured work surface and fit it into a standard 9-inch pie pan. Trim and crimp the edges. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  4. Line the chilled dough-lined pie pan with aluminum foil, allowing ample overhang. Pour a quart of dried beans or pie weights into the aluminum foil to come flush with the top of the crust. Bake the pie crust on the pizza stone until the dough has set and browned, about 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees, carefully lift out the foil and beans, and continue to bake the pie crust until dry and the crimped edges have colored, 5 to 10 minutes longer.