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Friday 22 October 2010

Guest Post: Marian Schembari's Three-Minute Pie Crust

About a year ago I quit my job as a publicist to become a chef. I was accepted into the pastry arts program at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and had visions of a bakery in my future with free wifi and fairy lights and the best cupcakes you've ever had.

Alas, a $40,000 loan wasn't a possibility for a 23-year-old with no income, so pastry school had to be put on the back burner. Luckily, my amazing and thoughtful boyfriend bought me the FCI textbook that year for my birthday and I've been able to teach myself a little something to tide myself over until my dreamy bakery becomes a reality.

This textbook has been a godsend. I've never really been able to master The Piecrust until this gem of a book came along and now I can make a quality crust in under five minutes. All you need a little butter, flour and ice water. Fifteen minutes in the fridge and you're good to go. I've adapted the recipe a little to make it easier (American butter comes in 8oz sticks so it was easier to use the whole stick).

Basic Pie Crust (Pâte Brisée)You'll need:
  • 1 cup flour (aprox 140 grams)
  • 1 stick (aprox 113 grams) butter, very-cold, cut into cubes (I like to cut it up and stick in the fridge while I prepare the rest of the ingredients)
  • 1/4 cup ice water
Make it!
  1. Cut the butter into cubes and leave them on a plate in the fridge while you measure out the flour and water.
  2. Use a food processor to pulse the flour and butter until just combined. No more or else the butter will start to clump. I stop once it looks crumbly.
  3. Slooooowly add the water as you run the blender. The dough will quickly form into a ball all on its own. Just make sure you don't add too much water or else it will be impossible to roll out.
  4. Take the dough ball out of the food processor, stick it on some cling-film or wax paper, flatten it out and put it in the refrigerator for around 15 minutes.
  5. Then roll it out with some flour and a rolling pin and use with the recipe of your choice!
This recipe has completely changed my life and now pies are insanely easy. Enjoy!

Flickr image from kthread's photostream. Marian is a kick-ass baker, and if you pop over to Marian Librarian, you'll see she's a kick-ass blogger too.


  1. I am SO making this - with this season's apples! Not saying I'll master it but worth a shot. :)

  2. I've never even TRIED to make pastry, because goodness it's a lot of faffing, isn't it? Now I want this with cherries in.

    Cherry pie is better than apple pie.

  3. So bookmarking this. Am a serious pastry lover. Marian - your talents know no bounds. :-)


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