how to make a sweet cornmeal crust
This crust has an incredibly hardy and yet delicate grainy texture…almost flaky. It’s slightly sweet but has the tart pungency of hard corn that pairs so well with fruit toppings.
Ingredients for sweet cornmeal pastry:
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 cup very fine cornmeal, preferably yellow*
- ½ cup superfine or caster sugar
- Dash of salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) of room temperature unsalted butter, sliced into thin slivers
- 3 egg yolks
* If you have trouble finding very finely ground yellow cornmeal, just use ¾ cups of medium grind cornmeal
and grind it for 20 seconds or so in a well cleaned out coffee grinder.
That will give you a cup – give or take – of very fine cornmeal.
So now mix the two types of flour in a large bowl.
Add the sugar and salt and mix again. Using the lowest setting on your food processor, begin adding the slivers of butter until you’ve added all the butter.
Then add the egg yolks.
When done, the ‘batter’ will resemble breadcrumbs.
Use 2/3 of the ‘breadcrumbs’ to line the bottom and sides of an unbuttered pie dish.
To do this, put the ‘dough’ in the pan and then work it to an even thickness on the bottom and the sides using your fingers.
Continue pressing down on the crumbs along the sides to create a border. By the way, freakish blue-magenta-ish hand, huh?
The finished pie shell will look like this.
Chill the uncooked pie shell in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Gather the remaining 1/3 of the pastry crumbs together and form a pastry ball.
This pastry will not be remotely elastic.Place it in the refrigerator or a cool place for an hour.
Once the hour has elapsed, take the pie pan out of the refrigerator and place your filling inside.
Then roll out the pastry dough ball to create a circle slightly larger than the width of the pie pan.
I have found the easiest way to roll out this type of dough is to do it between a piece of wax paper, which I place on the bottom, and a sheet of clear film on top. This prevents the dough from sticking as I roll.
Also, if you find that the wax paper is shifting around a bit on you, wet the counter with a few drops of water and then place the wax paper on top. That should take care of that problem.
When the dough is rolled out, carefully peel the clear film from the top.
Then slide your hand underneath the wax paper, right in the middle of the circle.
Then carefully flip the wax paper with the rolled out dough onto the filled pie crust. Equally carefully, remove the wax paper from the dough.
Center it and fold the excess edges underneath so that the crust then looks like this.
Don’t worry if you have small tears in the pastry. The heat and the butter will take care of that when the pie is baking.
Now, you’ll notice the crust is not exactly a looker. No worries. Just smush the spikes of a fork against the crust, like this,
and that bit of ugliness goes away and makes way for a cute little design. Like this…
Now poke the top of the crust with a fork several times and you’re all set to bake it according to instructions.
Makes enough dough for one pie.