Welcome to the third installment of my pie crust adventure. The first round of results are in. Dan and I tasted four different crusts and ranked them from best to worst for taste and texture.
(the numbers are a little confusing because there were a few that were too close to call and there were ties, but I will try to decode it)…
Before I get into the results, I wanted to say that I believe any homemade pie crust is going to win you thumbs up. So use what makes the most sense for you (easiest, tastiest, whatever). Unless you are feeding a pie connoisseur, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like your homemade pie because you used crust A instead of crust B. Okay, with that said, let’s get on with it, shall we?
The test setup:
I made mini-pies again. And again I used the cranberry-apple pie recipe from Gourmet (November 2009) for the filling and crumble topping (my new favorite pie. sweet and tart and delightfully fall).
I am nothing if not a procrastinator. So I didn’t have the idea to invite others to come partake of the mini-pies (and make the results more democratic) until the last minute and by then it was already the weekend. Anyway, so it was just me and Dan. But as you can see, Dan took his job very seriously…
We ranked the pie crusts from 1 to 4, #1 being the best… in 3 categories and overall.
- flavor: We tasted the crust alone and with the filling. This was a tough category because really they all tasted good.
- texture/flakeyness: Kind of self-explanatory. Although I think Dan liked the texture of one that was more cookie like and less flakey and ranked it higher. (we were very scientific)
- easy to handle: There are only my results for this category. It just means which one, after being chilled, was the easiest to roll out and get into the pan… as in, which one stayed together best and did not require as much elbow grease to roll out.
- overall: as in, If you could only pick one pie crust, which one would it be?
- Alton Brown’s pie crust (uses lard) –
- flavor: 1 – 2 (Dan and I split on this)
- texture: 1
- easy to handle: 2
- overall: 1
- Cook’s Illustrated foolproof pie crust (uses vodka) –
- flavor: 2
- texture: 2 – 3
- easy to handle: 1
- overall: 2 – 3
- Simply Recipe’s butter+shortening pie crust – *We really split on this one.…
- flavor: 1 – 4
- texture:2 – 4
- easy to handle: 2
- overall: 2 – 4
- Gourmet’s all-butter pastry dough –
- flavor: 2 – 4 (where 4 is really more like a 2.5 because the differences were so small)
- texture: 3
- easy to handle: 4
- overall: 3 – 4
The results were pretty subjective. To be scientific, we may have to do another round of tests and possibly have a few other testers involved. But we did agree that the crust with a little lard in it was the best overall. It was flakier than any of the others and tasted best. I didn’t want to believe it but it did. (I used the lard in the green and white box for this test. So naturally that means I still have to try the schmaltz-lard. Round three?)