This really is as easy as pie

October 01, 1997|By Susanne A. Davis | Susanne A. Davis,EATING WELL

It's the crust that generally keeps people from knowing the joys of piedom. Here, I've created a practically foolproof dough for an exceedingly tender crust.

Nut pastry dough

Makes 1 small crust; quantities in parentheses are for 1 large crust. To make two crusts, double the ingredients.

1/4 cup walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pecans (use 1/3 cup for large crust)

1 cup all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups for large)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar (1 1/2 tablespoons for large)

1/2 teaspoon salt ( 3/4 teaspoon for large)

1 tablespoon cold butter cut into pieces (1 1/2 tablespoons for large)

1 1/2 tablespoons walnut oil (2 1/2 tablespoons for large)

4 tablespoons cold water (5-6 tablespoons for large)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts in pie pan. Bake 5-7 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool.

In a food processor, combine nuts, flour, sugar and salt; process until nuts are finely chopped. Add butter and process until incorporated. Transfer to a large bowl.

Drizzle oil over flour mixture. Use your fingertips to rub oil into the mixture. One tablespoon at a time, add water and mix with a fork until dough is crumbly and holds together when pressed.

For single crust, gently form dough into a flattened disk. (For double crust, divide dough into 2 pieces, 1 slightly larger than the other, and form each into a disk.) The dough will keep, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Return dough to room temperature before rolling.)

Deep-dish apple-blackberry pie

Makes 8 servings

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 pounds tart apples (about 6 apples)

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (not thawed)

1 recipe double-crust walnut pastry dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or coat it with nonstick spray.

In large bowl, combine lemon juice and vanilla. Peel, core and cut apples into 3/4 -inch chunks, tossing in lemon juice mixture.

Mix 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch and toss with apples. Add blackberries.

Place 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface. Set the larger disk of dough in the center and cover with 2 more sheets of plastic wrap. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle. Remove top sheets and invert dough into prepared pan, letting excess dough hang over the edges. Gently press dough into bottom and sides of pan. Pull off plastic wrap. With a rubber spatula, scrape apple-blackberry filling into pie shell.

Roll out smaller disk of dough as above, making an 11-inch circle. Remove top sheets of plastic and invert dough over filling. Pull off plastic wrap. Press together edges of pastry to seal. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut 3 or 4 short slashes to vent steam. Moisten a pastry brush with water and lightly brush top of pie. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet with sides.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling bubbles. Cool on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 390 calories, 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat (2.6 grams saturated fat), 67 grams carbohydrate, 295 milligrams sodium, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams fiber.

Pear tart Tatin

Makes 8 servings

1 small nut crust

5 ripe but firm Bosc pears

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup water

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface. Set dough in the center and cover with 2 more sheets of plastic wrap. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle. Transfer dough (still

between plastic) to a baking sheet and freeze until ready to use.

Peel pears, cut in half lengthwise and core. In a bowl, toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, combine 1/4 cup water and sugar. Over low heat, swirl to dissolve sugar. Increase heat to medium and bring sugar syrup to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 minute. Uncover and cook, without stirring, until syrup turns light amber, 6 to 8 minutes. Gently swirl skillet if syrup colors unevenly.

Remove from heat and add remaining 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. (Stand back, as caramel may spatter.) Return skillet to low heat and stir until caramel has dissolved. Add butter and stir until melted.

Arrange pears cut-side down in caramel in tight circle, with 1 pear half in the center. Increase heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. With tongs, turn pears cut-side up, and increase heat to high. Cook, uncovered, until pears are tender and caramel becomes a thick glaze, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Take pastry from freezer and peel off plastic wrap. Lay crust over pears, turning edges under to fit. (Let steam from the pears warm crust until pliable.)

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until crust is golden. Remove from oven. Place serving plate on top of the tart, invert it and remove pan. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 245 calories, 3 grams protein, 8 grams fat (2.2 grams saturated fat), 44 grams carbohydrate; 165 milligrams sodium; 8 milligrams cholesterol; 3 grams fiber.

Pub Date: 10/01/97

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