Monday, November 19, 2018

Just a Touch of Vodka

For years I have been reading that one should add a bit of vodka along with the water to make pie crust.  Supposedly the vodka evaporates and leaves a much more flaky crust.

Now, I am all about the flaky crust.  The most flaky crust I remember having was at the home of a friend of Walt's mother, so flaky I tried to get her secret out of her...and she didn't have one.  Her crust just turned out flaky.

I have made flaky crust most of my life, except that I started having pie crust problems a few years back.  I can't get it to roll out properly and it's never as flaky as I think it should be.

The main problem is the rolling out.  I stopped trying to roll it on a floured wooden bread board and went to rolling it on a no-fail plastic mat, measured for how wide I want it.  I can still never get it to roll out big enough.

My friend Mary told me she always uses a pie bag where you put the dough in and roll it inside the bag.  That worked better than anything else, but I still was not happy with my crust.

It's not the recipe.  It's by Julia Child -- and would Julia steer you wrong?  Jeri asked for the recipe (I think the only recipe of mine that one of my children has ever asked for) and she makes wonderful pies.  So the problem is me, not the recipe.

Yesterday I decided to make a quiche for dinner and made my usual pie crust only decided -- what the heck -- and I mixed vodka with the water I was adding to the dry ingredients.

With my approaching dementia, I actually forgot that I don't use a bread board any more, and floured the board the way I used to.  To my amazement, the dough rolled out well.  Not perfectly but better than usual.

When the quiche came out of the oven, a small piece of the crust broke off and I tasted it.  Perfect.  In fact, perhaps the most flaky crust I had ever made.

Never again will I attempt to make pie dough without vodka.  Assuming I remember.  And that we have a bottle of vodka around (given that neither one of us drinks vodka and that we only bought it for my mother, who won't be coming over here any more, when I run out of that bottle, I will actually have to buy another bottle)

So if you are searching for the most flaky pie crust, take my word for it--add vodka!

Best of all, we have half the quiche left over for dinner tonight.

Sunday has become a special night for me.  It's the night when the new Outlander episode comes out.  This was episode 3 of Season 4 and it was a great episode, not depressing because of Claire's disapproval of slaves at Jamie's aunt's plantation last week.

This is just Claire and Jamie traveling to find a place to make their new home, having survived a pirate attack and nearly provoking a riot for medically treating a slave others wanted to hang, things are trying to return to more normal. 

Add a scary storm and a ghost Indian who was probably also a time traveler, like Claire, and you have a good story, which ends up with Jamie falling in love with the land with a great view...and strawberries growing.  I assume they will be building their house next week.

The episode also contains a good bit about their daughter Brianna, back in the 20th century, and her boyfriend Roger.  I found those parts distracting and frustrating the first time I read the book, but enjoyed them the second time I read it and enjoyed that side story last night.

As usual, there were the expected plethora of negative comments on Facebook this morning, people who nit pick every. little. thing. (like how can Brianna have brown eyes when Jamie and Claire both have blue eyes?), but there were more positive comments than for the last episode, which is nice.  There is so much more interesting stuff to come.....

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