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Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Nice Piecrust Hack via Melissa Clark

Just don't fly by the seat of your pants [or white denim skirt] like I did last night. I was hungry, it was after 8:30 when I was making the quiche for Dan and me...what can I say. Some nights are like that.

I love Melissa Clark's food writing--it's charming, refers to her husband, young daughter, dad and more--and her recipes in The New York Times are tops. I enjoy listening when she's on NPR [WNYC radio]. I also like her style; she is very pretty and personable. I've seen her in videos on

I own just one of her cookbooks and like everything I've made from it, including Un-Pumpkin Pie [Caramelized Butternut Squash Pie with Brandy]. You roast the squash in the oven first. It doesn't call for much sugar but is made with freshly grated ginger. My mouth is watering. The book is called In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite.

Anyway, for my friend Kim and anyone who wants to make a healthier piecrust, with more fiber and less white flour, here is my tweak of Melissa's Perfect Piecrust recipe. The dough is rich and forgiving and bakes into a very tasty crust. Dan and I loved the quiche, at 10 p.m., when it was still warm from the oven and again this morning, for breakfast, at room temperature. [There are two wedges left, 24 hours later.] My fail was that Melissa says to chill dough in the fridge for at least one hour, and I did maybe 15 it was sticky and harder to roll.....and crimp. It was uneven on the edges. Melissa calls for a food processor, but mine is tiny, so I used a handheld mixer. It's all good.

Perfect Piecrust [adapted from Melissa Clark's recipe]

Makes one 9-inch single piecrust. Recipe can be doubled for a 2-crust pie, but then divide dough into 2 balls before chilling.

3/4 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour [you can play with the ratio, doing 3/4 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup white, etc.]
1/4 teaspoon coarse-grain salt [I used some harvested in Chatham, on Cape Cod!]
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  1. Place flours and salt in bowl. Use handheld mixer on low speed to combine.
  2. Add butter and combine on medium speed until the mixture forms chickpea-size pieces.
  3. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix just until dough is just moist enough to hold together. [I needed 3 tablespoons.]
  4. Form dough into ball, wrap with plastic, flatten into a disc. Refrigerate at least one hour before rolling out and baking.
Flour surface and rolling pin and roll out. Fold into quarters and ease into pie pan, with point in center, then unfold.

Now, most quiche recipes suggest blind-baking the shell; lining it with foil and filling with pie weights, dry beans or uncooked rice. You bake it for a short time, to avoid a soggy crust. But I also skipped this step and Dan and I loved the quiche just fine.

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. I used the quiche filling formula from page 335 of The Silver Palate Cookbook. Place 2 to 3 cups filling in crust [mine was steamed broccoli and zucchini, small pieces, but you could do mushrooms, spinach, bacon, caramelized onions, steamed shrimp, etc. etc.]. In bowl, whisk 3 eggs with 1.5 cups heavy or light cream. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated nutmeg [about 1/2 teaspoon each]. Pour that over filling. Scatter cheese on top--I used shredded Cheddar, about 1 or 1 1/2 cups. Bake about 35 to 45 minutes until filling is puffed and golden. 



  1. I only have a small food processor too, so have blended pie crust by hand. Great tip knowing hand mixer worked!

    Moving back into bedroom this weekend- yay!

  2. yum!!!!!!! Will def try; thank you Alice!!!! and yay on bedroom, Liz!

  3. Liz, enjoy that bedroom. Sounds lovely! Kim, hope you like the piecrust. :)