Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Back to.....the basics.....

Honestly I am all for shortcuts. But for some reason I never find them! I will do something the hardest way possible then find the shortcut AFTER I figure it out. This may seem like it becomes daunting but for me it rarely does. Its just my preference for the way I do things, and honestly after a lifetime of working things out the hard way, why change? Yes, I realize I am weird. I will be the first to admit it. So onward and upward to the reason for this post. A friend of mine recently pinned this great little idea on Pintrest. Pie cookies! They looked so cute and yummy! I was drooling......except the recipe called for pre-made pie crusts. Being ever resourceful, I went looking for a pie crust recipe that used ingredients I already had on hand. I found one and made them and they were yummy!!!! I ate the VAST MAJORITY of them.  Now, after I had eaten them, I wanted to know what was in them.....seriously.....I wrote down all the ingredients in the homemade pie crust I made and that of the recommended store bought variety......Holy burnt toast batman! I could pronounce the names of these........things (thank you college!) but what they actually were was beyond me. So I made a list (checken it twice gonna find out which is naughty or nice) and low and behold......there's allot of ingredients getting coal from me this year!

So here is the run down of ingredients in the store bought pie crust and the home made:
Store Bought pre-made crust:
Enriched flour bleached (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), partially hydrogenated lard (with BHA & BHT to protect favor), wheat startch, water. Contains less then 2% of salt, rice flour, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, sodium propionate, citric acid, yellow #5, and red 40

Homemade crust: (consisted of flour, butter and water)
All purpose flour: Bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid
Tillamook Salted Butter: Cream (milk), salt

19 ingredients (store bought) vs.9 ingredients (homemade)

Now I can see you scratching your heads. So let me break down what some of these ingredients are (the non obvious ones):

Thiamin Mononitrate - Synthetic Vitamin B1
Riboflavin - Vitamin B2
Folic Acid - A "B" Vitamin
Ferrous sulfate - Iron supplement
BHA -Butylated hydroxyanisole:  Man made compound used to prevent fats and oils from going rancid.
BHT - Butylated hydroxytoluene: Man made compound used to prevent fats and oils from going rancid
Potassium Sorbate - Potassium salt derived from scorbic acid. Scorbic acid: unsaturated fatty acid. Useful in inhibiting most common microbes that cause spoilage.
Partially hydrogenated Lard - Hydrogen infused lard, having a whipped consistency.
Sodium Propionate - A compound that is naturally produced in the body when certain fatty and amino acids are broken down. Synthesized sodium propinate  used as a preservative in the food industry.
yellow #5  - Coloring agent (aka tetrazine and E102) banned in some European countries. May cause allergic reactions
Red 40 - Synthetically derived from petroleum. (though they say no petroleum is found in the final product)
Reduced ironDe-oxified ironoxide(rust) 
Malted barley flour - Can replace some of the wheat flour; provides a nutty flavor.
Salt - Used to enhance flavor
Xanthan Gum - acts as a natural stabilizer or thickener (I see my sister use this allot, as my niece has Celiac disease)
Rice Flour - More easily digested, used to replace some or all wheat flour
Citric Acid - Vitamin C
Wheat Starch - Functions as a thickener.
Water - No need to go over this one!
Bleached wheat flour - Ground wheat
Cream (milk) - High butterfat later skimmed off the top of milk.

So that is all the ingredients. Each one is linked up so you can read more about them. I sat and looked at all of this information (yes I took notes, I wanted to be through) and I COULD NOT UNDERSTAND why a PIE CRUST needed yellow #5 and Red 40!! I mean my home made crust had a gorgeous yellow color.....Do you really need the synthetics?? Simply put? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

The point of this post? Make it yourself from start to finish. Shortcuts are great, but not when you get a load of crap with them. I would just as well take the long way round and come out crap free.

And if you are wondering the jam filling is also homemade (fruit, sugar (reduced amount) and pectin)!!

Here is the pie crust recipe: (This is not my own, and I tried to find the link but I couldn't!)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups butter chilled
1/2 cup ice cold water

In standing mixer cube in the butter till it has a crumbly consistency (Honestly, I left it along for about 10 minutes then came back and mixed it some more, and it came together wonderfully!) Dump water in and continue to mix till it all comes together. Remove from mixer and form a ball and smash it a bit so it looks like a wheel of cheese. Wrap in wax paper or saran wrap (tuck all edges under) and place in refrigerator for an hour. After an hour pull out, divide and roll to desired thickness. These circles were about 1/8 inch thick. I did use egg white around the rims to make the edges stick together better (I had some burp all over the baking sheet when I cooked them.) Use this for a regular sized pie or as these pie cookies. It had a wonderfully buttery taste and flaky texture. All that I look for in a pie crust and WITHOUT THE CRAP!

I baked them at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes (just depends on you oven. You have to watch them, LOL)

UPDATE: I am eventually going to try and get my pie crust recipe down to 2 ingredients! I am going to try my hand at milling my own flour and making my own butter!