Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cooking from Scratch: Key Lime Pie Part III

This has been a crazy week so I have been a bit behind in posting the remainder of the Key Lime Pie recipe, but here it is, part III- The Crust!

Most of the recipes I came across seemed to indicate that making graham cracker crust 'from scratch' required little more than crushing up some Nabisco Graham Crackers and mixing them with butter. Read the ingredient list on the back of the box, and you know instantly that this method couldn't take you further away from basic ingredients. Thus, I was delighted to come across a recipe on Mike's Table, that basically builds the crust from the ground up by producing a graham cracker dough.

You will need:
2 Sticks of butter (softened at room temp for about an hour)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Cane Sugar
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tsp Salt

Mike also suggests adding a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, but since I would be using this crust for a citrus pie, I thought the flavor of the spice might clash and I left it out.

In a large bowl, mix the two flours and the salt

In another bowl, cream the butter with the two sugars. Once the ingredients are well mixed, stir in the honey. You can do this with an electric mixer, but I found it to be just as easy to use a spoon.

Mix 1/2 of the dry mixture into the butter/sugar and once that is fully incorporated, mix in the second 1/2. This will come together into a soft but slightly crumbly dough (just like your average cookie dough)

Form the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and let it rest in the fridge for about an hour.

Mike's table describes an ingenious method of rolling out the dough and transporting it to the pie plate without it crumbling, but I was lazy and simply rolled it out, then pressed pieces of it into the pie plate. The result wasn't pretty or even, but I figured it wouldn't matter much in the end. Next time I think I'll try it Mike's way though, it seems more dignified.

This recipe makes enough dough for two pies so I used 1/2 for the pie plate and cut the other half into squares to make actual graham crackers.

Whether you are baking a crust or crackers, make sure you prick both all over with a fork, so that the steam from the butter doesn't make the dough buckle and crack. Bake at 325 for about 18min. I put the pie plate and cookie sheet with the crackers on it side by side in the oven and both turned out great.

No, this is not the graham cracker that you grew up with. It is more of a whole-wheat shortbread. Very crunchy, very buttery, and the honey gives it an extraordinary flavor. Its a lot of work but I cant imagine going back to those dried out slabs of cardboard at the grocery store after this. I wonder what smores would be like made with these? Maybe I'll have an answer for you on that this summer!

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