Christopher Kimball's new corn-starch gel for pie crust

Discussion in 'Baker Banter' started by Apocalypso, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Apocalypso

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    I'm a longtime viewer of America's Test Kitchen on public TV, and knew that the bowtie-adorned Christopher Kimball had split with the company. Recently, his show has started airing on public TV here, and I missed the first few, so we pulled it up online to watch yesterday.

    The main 'reveal' of the episode was a new pie crust recipe which made use of a cornstarch-water mixture, microwaved to thicken then put in the freezer to chill quickly. The idea was that the water in the pie crust was completely enveloped in the starch gel and therefore wouldn't make the crust tough, or shrink when blind baking.

    Just curious what folks think and whether you've tried this. They say it was inspired by Japanese milk bread.

    The recipe is available on his Milk Street web site, where they do ask you to supply your Email address and eventually to subscribe, but the pie crust was also posted on the Williams Sonoma site.

    https://www.177milkstreet.com/recipes/pie-dough
    https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/christopher-kimballs-no-shrink-pie-dough.html

    I'm not a pie baker except probably at Thanksgiving. One thing I made that I particularly liked, though i guess my friends weren't as big a fan of, was a half-cherry, half-cranberry pie, because I couldn't get quality sour cherries. So I used frozen sweet cherries and frozen cranberries. I liked the sweet-tartness. :) The mocha silk pie I made went like gangbusters though. :)
     
    Apocalypso, Oct 9, 2017
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  2. Apocalypso

    JudyMarlborough New Member

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    I'd like to try this for Thanksgiving. I have a question. My microwave is broken - waiting for a part. Is there a way to try the cornstarch/water thing without a microwave? Thanks.
     
    JudyMarlborough, Nov 19, 2017
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  3. Apocalypso

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you could heat the cornstarch and water in a pan on the stove, it'll just take a little longer as you'll want to look for it to get to about 203 degrees F (95C) or just below boiling, in order to have it thicken. Then transfer into another container, to pop into the freezer to cool it off.

    By the way, I posted both recipes, and when I looked at them closer, they seem to be ever so slightly different in the amount of flour between the Williams-Sonoma and the Milk Street recipes.

    Milk Street: 1 CUP PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS (159 GRAMS) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
    Williams-Sonoma: 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

    King Arthur Flour shows that Another conversion shows 125g per cup. So I like to weigh things, and used 159 grams. That's still a very scant flour-to-butter ratio. But the way W-S wrote it with the weight seeming to go with the standalone one cup seems no more correct - as apparently a tablespoon of flour weighs 8-9 grams.

    So it may look and feel really odd, as typically the ratio of ingredients is 3:2:1 flour to fat to water, and in this recipe there's 150g of butter which is nearly equal to the flour. If you want a good visual, you can view the episode online, only I think Milk Street will require your Email address upon admission. https://www.177milkstreet.com/tv/the-new-baking
     
    Apocalypso, Nov 20, 2017
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