<< Back

food

Posted 11/20/2014 12:33pm by R Heritage Farm.

pie crust

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving and it’s without a doubt my favorite holiday. It's the perfect day to relax, and visit with our family whom we rarely see during the farmers market season. Our home always feels so warm and inviting; it's lit up with candles, autumn decorations, and heavenly smells. Every year I go all out and I always make EVERYTHING from scratch from the homemade bread in the stuffing, cranberry sauce, egg nog, desserts, pie crusts, etc.

Not everyone likes to cook everything from scratch, but if there's one thing you're gonna make - make a homemade pie. I thought I’d share my favorite pie crust recipe which in the 15 years I’ve been using it has never failed me. It always produces a delicious flaky crust, and it only takes a few minutes to make. Making a homemade pie crust is easier than you think and it starts with a basic recipe and some great tips and tricks...

Butter Pie Crust

(makes 2 crusts)

2 cups flour (it helps to chill the flour but it's not necessary)

¼ tsp salt

2/3 cup VERY COLD butter (the colder the better)

4-6 Tbsp ICE COLD water

*See below for tips  

Mix flour and salt and cut in small amounts of the butter using a fork, pastry blender or old fashioned potato masher (I use the latter) until it’s mixed into coarse crumbs. Gradually stir in 4 Tbsp water and mix just until the flour is moistened. (Add 1-2 Tbsp more water if needed.) Don’t pour the water in all at once and use the smallest amount possible. It’s also important you don’t over work the dough or you’ll develop the gluten which will make it tough. You can use the pinch test to see if your dough has the right amount of liquid. Pick up a small clump of dough and gently squeeze between your fingers. When the dough just sticks together with small dry cracks, your dough is perfect.  

I lightly dust my hands with flour and then roll the mixture into a big ball and then cut it in half. (If your dough is too soft refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes.) Roll each half into a ball and roll it out with your rolling pin, rolling from the center outwards to produce a uniform thickness. Don’t forget to dust your counter top and rolling pin when you roll it out so it doesn’t stick. Once it's rolled out I fold the dough in half and place in the pie dish and unfold it, or you can roll it over the rolling pin and sort of "roll" it out over the pie pan. That's it and now you're ready to fill it!

Tips:  

~ I recommend using a glass pie pan instead of the cheap aluminum ones as they produce a flakier crust and cook more evenly. 

~ Beat an egg and brush a little onto the bottom of your pie crust before adding your filling. It’ll help prevent the bottom of your crust from becoming mushy.  

~ To produce a beautifully shiny golden brown crust try an egg wash. There are many variations you can use but for a slightly glossy nicely browned look beat one whole egg with one Tbsp water. (If you use milk instead of water it will increase the browning). Lightly brush on the egg wash just before placing your pie into the oven.  

~ To prevent excess browning of the edges during baking, cover the pie edge with a 2- to 3-inch wide strip of aluminum foil, and mold lightly around the edge of the pie. Bake as directed, removing the aluminum foil 15 minutes before the end of the baking time.  

~ Cool your pie on a wire rack which allows the air to circulate underneath. This helps prevent the bottom from becoming soggy and cools your pie uniformly.    

~ For a prebaked crust, place the pie plate in the oven, and bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes; for a partially baked crust, bake it 7 to 10 minutes. If the bottom begins to bubble up, prick it with a fork. You can also prevent the crust from bubbling up by spreading dried beans, rice, or pie weights on it before putting it in the oven. Let it cool completely before you add any filling.  

~ You can store pie crust dough in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before using it bring it to room temperature before rolling it out.

Tags: food, recipes
Posted 11/27/2012 4:27pm by Monique Russ.

Broad Breasted Turkey (aka Frankenturkey)

This year we did something we’ve never done before…raise a couple of broad breasted bronze turkeys. We’ve always raised heritage breed turkeys such as the Bourbon Red and Eastern Wild turkeys, so this was the first time we’ve ever raised a commercial turkey breed – and it will be our last. These turkeys were raised with our heritage breeds – roaming freely out on our pasture, but with access to all natural grains. The differences in their lifestyles were amazing. The heritage breeds spent their days foraging on pasture, flying and playing, and perching in the trees at night. However, the broad breasted turkeys waddled around and stayed close to the feeder. They were too heavy to fly, so they weren’t even able to perch on the fence let alone in the cedar and pine trees sprinkled on our property.

The tom turkey we butchered weighed 43 pounds live, and dressed out to an amazing 36 pounds!! I’d never even seen a turkey that big before!! We knew he was big, but unlike a heritage breed he didn’t have the down feathers which can make a bird appear much larger than they really are. As a comparison our heritage toms typically weigh around 20 pounds dressed out, so that’s substantially less compared to the broad breasted. This turkey was so big we had to find a special sized pan to fit him in, and even then we had to make tin foil “drip pans” to put under his tail because it stuck out of the pan. Had we not just purchased a new stove with the oversized oven a month ago this bird wouldn’t have even fit in our oven. It took both my husband and his son to lift the finished bird out of the oven, and they had to pull the oven rack and all because the pan wasn’t strong enough to hold the weight on its own.

Our broad breasted “frankenturkey” as we call him was also very fatty compared to a heritage breed because he didn’t forage as much as the other birds. He mostly ate the grain, and was so glutinous he wouldn’t share with the other birds. Now fat gives the bird’s flavor, and while he wasn’t nearly as flavorful as a heritage I’ll admit he did have that genuine turkey taste. Like I said, not robust like a heritage, but definitely not the salty, bland, tasteless birds you find in the grocery stores. It was more of a true medium of the two. The breasts on this bird were enormous – so huge it was unnatural looking and almost disturbing. It was very disappointing, although expected, that proportionately there was next to no dark meat. The pile of dark meat was shameful compared to the two overloaded platters of white meat, and our family loves dark meat!

90% of all turkeys produced (commercially) in the United States come from only a few strains of the broad breasted white turkey. These birds have been bred to grow at a rapid rate, and they produce huge amounts of white breast meat; hence the name “Broad Breasted” or more commonly called “Double Breasted.” At some point people began demanding large quantities of white meat, based in part on the false information we’ve been fed that has misled us to believe that dark meat is bad for us- which it isn’t! Based on the demand for more white meat growers developed the broad breasted turkeys, and because these birds produce enormous breasts they are the popular choice among commercial growers. However, these birds cannot reproduce naturally, and they are known to develop problems similar to what the Cornish Cross chickens suffer from.

Never again will we raise a Broad Breasted Turkey, but we wanted to do it to see what all the fuss was. I can honestly say that if you have never eaten a wild or heritage breed turkey you’ve never had real turkey before. Get your 2013 Thanksgiving Turkey from R Heritage Farm, and you’ll never want to buy a bird from the grocery store again!

Add widgets here through the control panel: Display / Widgets