I have a bit of a confession to make:
Though I am a female, and a pretty feminine girl at that, there is nothing that irks me more than being domestic.
Yes, believe it or not, I hate being domestic. I jokingly tell people that I only possess 2 domestic qualities:
- I live in a house
- I love to cook
Before I learned to cook, though, I only had one. I hate to clean, and even though I love the idea of having my own place and my own house, the idea of spending hours in the domestics and housewares section of a store would be enough to send me screaming and running through the store, looking to defenestrate myself out the nearest window. In fact, that’s how I’ve felt the past few days.
Though I am more introverted than extroverted, I’m nobody’s homebody; I do best when I’m out and about. When I had a car that worked (dear Ernest, may he rest in peace), after my 9 to 5, I would hit up coffeehouses. Once or twice a week, I could be found at a local coffeehouse, checking out the local music scene at open mic nights while casually sipping a cup of joe. I’m not usually chatting with the people around me; something about just sitting quietly trying to be unnoticed while listening to local music gave me a very serene feeling that I liked. Maybe one day I’ll hop on stage, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Even though I get a rush out of performing, I’m also pretty shy. I have no idea how that works since I love acting. Somehow in my mind, it’s totally different.
Now that I have neither a car nor a job, I’ve been housebound. It’s evil, EVIL I tell you! I watch my nephew during the day while everyone else is at work. Since I have no steady stream of income, we’re in the house a lot. I hate it, but I try making the best of it. Cooking has really helped me make the best of what I perceive to be an abysmal situation. I know I should clean, and sometimes I do, but I don’t enjoy it. God bless those that enjoy cleaning; maybe I’ll pay someone that likes it to clean my house someday. Until then, I cook so that I don’t lose my sanity.
Today, I decided to venture out and make my first apple pie (yay!). In my mind, making the crust was a non-option. I’m not unfamiliar with making my own crust; I’ve been doing so ever since I got on my whole quiche kick. I looked up a recipe online, and surprisingly, it’s one of the few recipes I’ve found that doesn’t require vegetable shortening. Even Julia says to use vegetable shortening! This is by far my favourite crust; I’ve been using this crust recipe for over a year now. It makes an amazing pâte brisée. Here’s the link with all the details:
In my opinion, unless you’re in a serious rush and making a last minute dessert, I see no need to buy a premade crust when we usually always have the ingredients necessary to make your own… and it takes no time at all! From the time I start measuring to the time I put it in the refrigerator, the dough is made in a maximum of 20 minutes. Everyone has 20 minutes somewhere in their day that can be used for this purpose! Trust me, the results are far tastier than buying one. I bought a crust ONE TIME… and there are only 2 words I have for that: never again. Maybe I bought the wrong one, but after having bought something that tasted like cardboard, I started making my own, and have been doing so ever since.
Now there are recipes that don’t have an egg, but this one does. You need: flour, butter, salt, 1 whole egg, and creme fraîche or sour cream. You can make this without creme fraîche or sour cream if you want to, but I don’t recommend omitting it. I love the slight tang that it adds to the crust, but I’ve only omitted it if I didn’t have it on hand and needed the crust right away, or I was too broke to afford it (hey, it’s like that sometimes!).
So, to walk you through this:
Take your flour and salt, and sift them into a bowl. Once sifted, take your butter and cut it into cubes. This just makes it easier to distribute the butter into the flour faster. The butter must be cold when you start this process, and you need to work quickly to keep the butter from getting too soft. If your crust gets too sticky or wet, you won’t get the desired flakiness. Once your butter is cut and placed into the sifted flour, cut it into the butter with a pastry blender or with your fingers (the latter being my preferred method). If you use your fingers, you want to use a motion like you’re snapping your fingers. Move the butter and flour between your fingers until it ends up resembling a coarse crumb mixture. This is the way it should look.
When it gets to this stage, make a well in the center and crack your egg. Beat the egg, and start incorporating the flour mixture into the beaten egg. The dough will reach a point where you will only be able to work it with your hands. When it gets there, add your creme fraîche or sour cream in. It feels weird and squishy on your hands and fingers, but honestly, I kind of like it. Maybe I’m just weird.
At this point, you want to try to start bringing the dough together. The creme fraîche and egg are basically binders that make the dough moist enough to stick together without the dough itself being altogether sticky. It should remain basically dry. If you find that it’s not coming together enough to make a ball that doesn’t fall apart, add a very small amount of cold water. It should be no more than ¼ c. at most. Add this very gradually because you may not need it all to get the dough to come together. If you don’t, that’s more than okay; remember, this is only to get it to come together so that it doesn’t crumble when it’s formed into a ball.
Once it is formed, divide the dough into 2 (it can fit two 9″ pie pans), wrap in plastic wrap, and allow to rest for a 2 hour minimum, or it can rest overnight. Once it’s ready, you can use it for tarts, pies or quiches. I’ve always used it for quiche; this was my first time using it for pie. I can honestly say that it was great for the pie I made; I would definitely use this again for pie.
Look out later for my pie entry because I’m definitely writing one. And if you’re going to be domestic, add cooking to your repertoire because eating always follows 😉 Ciao!