Happy Mutants food and drink topic (Part 2)

When I started making crust, I’d frequently have too little material, so I used to make 50 % extra, and freeze any remainder. Common issue is often over mixing/working the crust, that could make it too tough, rolling it too thick could also be an issue. Oil crusts were a good suggestion. And crumb top can be excellent, I’m making a hybrid crumb top pie for Thanksgiving as my GF likes crumb tops.
I remember it seemed a very short time between when my pie crusts were hit and miss and the time a couple of people said you should bring the pie, because you make a really good crust. So you may only be a pie away from being an expert crust maker.


For the crust:

  • Colder is better: Keep your crust ingredients cold. Cold inhibits gluten development, so cold butter, ice cold water, and even cold flour will help to ensure a tender and flaky pastry.
  • Avoid bleach: Use a high quality, unbleached all-purpose flour that is not enriched. Bleached flour is just that, bleached. Try to avoid this at all costs. Bleaching lowers gluten content, which makes it difficult to have a pie crust that holds together. The 11% gluten found in all-purpose flour yields the perfect tenderness in a crust.
  • A little acid goes a long way: Add a little acid to your dough. Whether it be fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, acid retards gluten development. One teaspoon will do the job, and it can replace some of the water you add.
  • The more pieces of butter, the better: Be sure to leave pea-sized pieces of butter. Butter is made up of 3 parts: milk solids, butter fat, and water. As the pea-sized pieces of butter melt, the water heats and creates steam, which lifts the pockets to create a flaky pastry.
  • Leavener is your friend: Add a leavener to your dough. Baking powder is a leavener (a substance that causes expansion of doughs and batters by the release of gases), so by adding a teaspoon to your crust, it will assist the butter in creating a flaky pastry. Baking powder is essential in vegan pastry dough where you don’t have butter pockets creating steam.

“No bleach!”



we have a huge bumper crop of carambola this year! i am trying different jellies and preserves and other ways to use them before they go bad.
today, i made candied starfruit chips - some in the oven, some in the air fryer set to dehydrate. here’s the setup:

fresh carambola, sliced, seeded, simmered in a simple syrup of water, sugar and fresh ginger root for about 5 minutes and placed on parchment covered sheet pan for the oven batch (200F/93C for 2hrs 30min).

out of the oven, they get rolled in sugar or a mix of sugar and tajin (chile con limon) and there you go!
cute little star-shaped fruit candies, just in time for the holidays!
now what to do with the pounds and pounds of fruit left?!


What do you mean by hybrid? Bottom is regular, top is crumb? Crumb over a lattice?




Crumb over gaps in a loosely woven lattice. I haven’t done it before, but I think it should work.


Carambola shurikens?


Any, carambola! Those are so pretty!
If you get tired of food ideas, you could just slice some, dry them, and string them for the Christmas decorations.
But I bet you could make some nice chutneys from them. Would they make a good Marmelade?
Maybe just chop and freeze some until you know what you want to do? That’s what we do with the tomatoes we can’t deal with in time.


Dinner roll recipes anyone?

Also, what pies are everyone making for Thanksgiving this year… I need some inspiration!


I don’t know how anyone can roll out cold dough without it cracking or crumbling. Butter is just too hard when cold and the dough recipes have so little water in them that they just won’t stay together until butter is cool.

Now this is something I’ve never tried.


I haven’t made these specific recipes, but John Kirkwood has several roll recipes and his recipes seem to work for people.

He also provides a link to the written recipe on his website, so you can actually make it. Video recipes without a written version are a pet peeve of mine.


Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC

Hmmm… Those tiger rolls looking interesting!


I don’t know if you’ve tried, but I’ve always seen it placed between two sheets of wax/parchment paper and rolled out. I think a heavy pin helps too, my mom had a marble one she’d refrigerate.

It’s odd you say crack and crumble, as that seems like the moisture hasn’t been even distributed, but I’m a crap baker, so don’t take my word for it.


I’ve made so much pie crust through my years as a baker that I doubt my experience would be relevant to the person who makes pie once a year, but if your crust is crumbling and cracking when you roll it it needs more moisture. The basic ratio is 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat, 1 part liquid. However, flour can have very different amounts of moisture depending on age, storage, type of wheat, etc. so you have to adjust as you make the dough.
Rolling between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap can help by supporting the dough and reducing the amount of flour you need as you roll. If you have trouble getting an even crust, put some chopsticks on the counter and roll between them, or get a set of those rings that fit on the end of rolling pin. I prefer a straight pin without handles-basically a large hardwood dowel, but lots of folks like a tapered pin.
If you really want to get it right, set aside a day and just make batch after batch, taking notes as you do. Add extra water, extra vinegar, extra fat, different types of fat. By lunchtime you should have it under your control.


I was thinking about doing batch after batch until I figure out what I’m doing wrong though the food waste pains me.

I’m pretty sure all the warnings in pie crust recipes about working quickly, minimal mixing, keeping things cold and minimal water have pushed me to undermixing, using too little water and trying to work it when it is far too cold.

I’ll try 3:2:1. Thanks! Seems most of the recipes I’ve tried seem to use a much higher proportion of fat and sometimes less water.

I swear, the only other thing that has given me this much trouble is sourdough and that’s mostly because my kitchen is pretty cool (68 F) and I kept underproofing it. Well and my oven is convection-only which is a pain.

Also… these people who say pea sized butter. What kind of pea? My peas are tiny. Apparently other people’s peas are bigger.


The important part of pea-ness is not the size but how you use it.


I would assume the pea on the left. ← left. Assuming the hands are regulation size.


Potato pumpkin (1:1) hash browns. How to use up potato scraps that didn’t get made into potato fondant, and using up some leftover frozen pumpkin.


Potato fondant? As in for potato candy?


Others more qualified than me are responding to the pie crust part, but crumbles are way better than fruit pies, and have a better fruit-crust ratio.

Rhubarb and apple with a small amount of grated fresh ginger, and some dried ginger in the crumble is my go-to.