Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Here's pie in your eye!

My freezer is still filled with cookies. For every box, bag and plate I handed out they returned two fold accompanied by baklava, caramel layer cake and Maui Caramacs. Ah... if only my muse would be so forthcoming.

But the cookies are a relatively new addition to my holiday Huzzah. Until now I have slid softly through the Wisconsin winter in a warm pan of sweet potato pie.

(It's how I got my in-laws to love me. I am not above bribery.)
Just after Thanksgiving of this year, I caught a morning show on public radio that was discussing holiday baking. I'm going to cut to the best part: Vodka in the pie crust.

According to the guest and several online sources that could not be wrong, ice cold vodka in place of water adds a necessary ease to the pie crust rolling process. Once the pie is baking, the vodka evaporates away leaving a flaky, tasty crust.

It had to be tested.

Julie Jeff's Oil Pie Crust

One crust pie:

1 C + 2 t. Flour
1/2 t. Salt
1/3 C Oil
2 t. Ice Water (Don't forget to substitute some chilly vodka)

Mix flour and salt, blend in oil with a fork (it ends up looking like a bowl full of pea sized crumbles). Sprinkle water (vodka) over mixture and mix well (till it holds together). Roll between pieces of wax paper.

For a pre-baked shell, prick thouroughly with fork and bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

It rolled out beautifully

Now I have to tell you something important. I first tried this nifty vodka trick on Christmas Eve about three and a half hours before an engagement. Just as I was ready to roll out the dough I realized the damn cookies used up all the wax paper. I tore my kids and husband away from the new microscope where they were concentrating on candy cane shards and cat whiskers and sent him off to the store. In the time that it took it seems all the precious vodka had done evaporated away and I was left with a crumbly heap of oily flour.

So if you try this at home, remember to roll the crust out right away, or you may just end up drinking the vodka.

Have you tried vodka in your crust, and if so, how did it turn out? When have you been surprised by an unlikely ingredient and how did you feel about it?  

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