I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that fats for pie dough can be kinda messy to handle but recently I was introduced to one of the best ways ever of measuring neat. Late last year when I was prepping for a Pie Camp in Seattle, Leigh Olsen of Epicurean Creative pulled out pre-measured and uniformly shaped discs of leaf lard. I was absolutely stunned. To me I was looking at discs of beauty. Leigh has been a baker for a very long time and even once had her own cookie business so I knew there had to be some amazing trick to this or else I was looking at someone with an extreme case of OCD!
“How did you do this?”, I asked.
She jumped up and with a bounce in her step, headed into to her food photography studio. Leigh does remind me of a joyous elf at times. Seconds later she returned with a big grin on her face and set down this on the counter in front of me.
“What the heck is that?”
“It’s my adjustable measuring cup!”
“No way! It measured out all of these? This is amazing!”
Now Leigh was laughing in a delightfully musical sort of way.
Although it’s called a measuring cup, it’s really more like a measuring tube. As you can tell, I had never seen one before so please don’t laugh at me too much if you have known about these long before I have. I don’t have too many gizmos in my kitchen.
So here’s how it works. You fill up the big tube with shortening, which can be lard, butter, vegetable shortening, or even duck or bacon fat if that’s what you use to keep your crusts flakey. Then keeping your eye on the measurement marks, push out and cut off the amount you need onto a waiting piece of plastic wrap. You may need to add or subtract a few grams to get to the exact amount but it will be pretty close. Wrap the disc up, and when you have a bunch of them, place them in a sealable freezer bag and pop them into the freezer for the big chill until needed. Easy-peasy…or in this case…Easy as Pie!
For each double crust pie dough I measure out 1/2 cup of leaf lard. If you like to measure by a scale, that would be 112 grams. With a measuring spoon it is 8 tablespoons. When you make the dough you’ll need an equal part of butter, too. Whatever way you like to measure, I like having pre-measured fat for dough and this little gadget is a super way for very neat measuring.
Here’s the link if you want one too,
Next Week I’ll be out on the pie-way in California. There will be several book events and I would love to see you if you are close by. Here are the details.