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pie pastry shell - who uses vodka?

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/21/2014, 6:45 pm

In a fit of optimism, I followed a recipe from Cooks Illustrated All-time Best Holiday Baking for a Foolproof Pie Dough, using vodka in place of most of the liquid.  Not having vodka, I used grain alcohol.  Result: extremely tender crust, but not the flakey crust I'm used to.  Thanksgiving coming, and I'm the designated pie provider.  Anyone else out there who's made a pie crust with vodka?  How'd it come out?  Good, or should I return to the time-honored combination of Crisco and Butter for a flakey pie crust?  Nonna
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Post  sanderson 11/22/2014, 1:14 am

Veddy, veddy interesting. Use vodka, make the pie, and share the rest with the guests. They won't care how the crust turned out. Laughing

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/22/2014, 11:15 am

Sanderson, your comments totally cracked me up.  Thanks, I needed that.  

However to add to the equation, according to Cooks Illustrated, "Eighty proof vodka consists of 60% water and 40% ethanol.  While gluten forms readily in water, it does not form in ethanol.  Thus, our recipe, which contains 4 tablespoons each of cold water and vodka, gets the benefits of 8 tablespoons of liquid (supple, easy-to-roll dough) but actually has the equivalent of about 6-1/2 tablespoons of water--an amount that limits gluten formation and ensures tenderness.  As for the alcohol? It vaporizes in the oven."

Because your funny comment sent me back to the recipe, I see what happened with my way-too-tender pie crust: grain alcohol has much more ethanol than 80 proof vodka (which should teach me to read the fine print in the side bar headed: Science).  Nonna
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Post  sanderson 11/22/2014, 4:21 pm

Glad it make you chuckle.  Like the water turned into wine.  The host would serve his finest at the beginning, bringing out the nasty stuff later, when the guests wouldn't be so discriminating. Very Happy

I bought this in Ensenada this summer (duty free).  It was time to replace my 15 year old Kahlua!  There was a tasting shop and this almond tequilla was delicious.  It's 20% and I bet it would be great for pecan pie crust.pie pastry shell - who uses vodka? Techil10

Footnote:  I usually have one glass of wine and one after-dinner drink each year.  So the bottle will outlive me!  I was going to buy VS Courvoisier but the salesman said I would be able to buy that cheaper in the US because of the Mexico duty tax included in his price.  He suggested that I buy a Mexico product if I was looking for a deal.  DH said tequilla is normally nasty but this blend was wonderful.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 11/22/2014, 8:00 pm

That DOES sound good for a pecan crust, Sanderson!

And Alton Brown (Food Network) also suggests alcohol in pie crusts.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/22/2014, 8:55 pm

Then there's what my father taught me.  He said, "Tequila shots always makes my hands hurt."  I replied, "Because of the arthritis in your hands?"  "No," he responded, "Because people walk on them."  Nonna
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Post  sanderson 11/23/2014, 12:25 am

lol!
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Post  cpl100 11/24/2014, 7:57 pm

Have used vodka with great success.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/25/2014, 11:52 am

cpl100, Mind revealing your ratio of vodka/water to flour?  I'm going to use the Cook's Illustrated recipe again tomorrow.  Thanks in advance.  Nonna
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Post  cpl100 11/25/2014, 1:22 pm

Nonna.PapaVino wrote:cpl100, Mind revealing your ratio of vodka/water to flour?  I'm going to use the Cook's Illustrated recipe again tomorrow.  Thanks in advance.  Nonna
Sure, no problem.  I use a very old recipe that has been adapted to include the vodka.  If you are using 1 cup of flour, it calls for 2-3 tbsp. of water. If you are using 2 cups of flour it calls for 4-5 tbsp. of water.  If you are using 2 2/3 cups of flour it calls for 7-8 tbsp. water.  

Now, for modern day adaptions:  

1) If you are using a food processor the liquid can be cut approximately in half. I start with less than half and work up if necessary.
2) If you are using vodka, you use between half to all vodka depending on your preference.  I believe the last time I did it I used 2/3 vodka.

I know that is not exactly specific but the best way I could think of presenting it not knowing your methods or size of pie.

Post back if you have questions as I am happy to help.  (And I am better at baking than gardening!)  Wink
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/25/2014, 4:07 pm

Thanks, cpl, your ratios are very similar to those mentioned in the Cook's recipe, though for 2-1/2 cups flour, they recommend 1/4 cup each vodka and ice water.  Being as how I'm making 2 pies, think I'll try both ratios.  Appreciate your advice.  One more thing, what kind of flour do you use: Gold Medal, Pillsbury, King Arthur or something more exotic?  Nonna
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Post  cpl100 11/25/2014, 4:45 pm

Nonna.PapaVino wrote:Thanks, cpl, your ratios are very similar to those mentioned in the Cook's recipe, though for 2-1/2 cups flour, they recommend 1/4 cup each vodka and ice water.  Being as how I'm making 2 pies, think I'll try both ratios.  Appreciate your advice.  One more thing, what kind of flour do you use: Gold Medal, Pillsbury, King Arthur or something more exotic?  Nonna
My preference is King Arthur unbleached.  Next would be Gold Medal Unbleached.  I do not use bleached flour, something about consuming bleach turns me off!
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/25/2014, 5:53 pm

I agree, cpl, we prefer less-processed products also, which is why it's lucky to have Bob's Red Mill in Portland, Oregon.  I didn't mention Bob's because it's a heck of a commute for you to get their excellent flours.  In fact, King Arthur flour carried by New Seasons seems very similar to Bob's.  So, now what pies are you making for Thanksgiving this year?  Nonna
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Post  Marc Iverson 11/25/2014, 7:15 pm

cpl100 wrote:Have used vodka with great success.

Me too, but I've never tried it in pie crusts.
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Post  sanderson 11/25/2014, 8:26 pm

rofl
Thinking about pumpkin, and a pecan or walnut
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Post  cpl100 11/25/2014, 10:21 pm

Nonna.PapaVino wrote:I agree, cpl, we prefer less-processed products also, which is why it's lucky to have Bob's Red Mill in Portland, Oregon.  I didn't mention Bob's because it's a heck of a commute for you to get their excellent flours.  In fact, King Arthur flour carried by New Seasons seems very similar to Bob's.  So, now what pies are you making for Thanksgiving this year?  Nonna
We are actually going to my SIL's house this year and I was not given the task of pies.  That being said, I do have an apple pie in the oven right now just because it seems like I should....

What are you making?
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/25/2014, 11:12 pm

All the usual suspects: deep-dish apple pie, Southern pecan pie, and pumpkin pie (made from roasted Australian Butter Squash).  Would also like to take a plate of simple frosted cookies, as there will be a couple of pre-school great grandchildren I'd like to get to know better.  I hear frosting gets them every time.  Have a great Thanksgiving!  Nonna
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