Today's Dining section brings a roundup of holiday dinner recipes for you wussbags who are too lazy or scared to make desserts with crusts. "Is it Thanksgiving if there is no traditional pie with a traditional filling and a crust that the cook obviously fussed and worried over?" asks Florence Fabrikant. The answer is obviously: NO, YOU HORRIBLE MONSTER, IT IS NOT. Are you one of those wimps who is afraid of a pie crust? Here, I will tell you everything you need to know right now, you whiny little girl. Yes, that is a picture of an apple pie that I whipped up the other week in about 8 seconds. Loser! Here are the tools you will need: NONE.
1. Put a bag of flour in the fridge and two sticks of butter in the freezer. Go gloat about your superiority and complain about how hard you're working and smoke or read for a little while.
2. Put about 2 and a half cups of flour in a cold bowl. ABOUT. The thing is, it doesn't matter! Who has time and energy to measure things?
3. Put something more than a teaspoon but something less than a tablespoon of salt in the flour. That is like "three pinches." It doesn't really matter how much! Saltiness offsets sweetness! People, who are animals, like salt!
4. Put about the same amount of sugar in the flour! Give or take! IT DOESN'T MATTER.
5. Chop up the two sticks of butter into chunks and then sort of mush them into the flour but NOT VERY MUCH. If you are feeling fancy or lazy, you can shave frozen butter into the flour using the big side of a cheese grater, but I find that makes the pieces of butter too small actually. After integration, the butter should be pebbly, and your hot little hands shouldn't be on it long enough to melt it. You can use a fork for this part! Or any other tool you want! Or none at all! I use my hands. This should take under a minute. The point is, you are NOT mixing in all the butter. Your goal is butter chunks. It should look sort of gross.
6. Put some very cold water in there, and smush it together! Like, not very much water! Maybe half a cup, maybe 3/4s of a cup! Sometimes it's a whole cup, I don't know why. It doesn't matter! What you are going for is all the crumbs of flour to be attached to a central mass that does not become at ALL gluey. It doesn't matter though! If it's too wet, you'll dry it out later. If it's too dry, you'll wet it. If you're feeling really fancy, put in two drops of white vinegar. That's just for superstition really.
7. Mash that firm yet coherent business into an oblong disc immediately and put it in a ziploc bag in the freezer for half an hour and go SMOKE some more.
8. Take it out of the freezer, tear it in two, and spread flour literally all over the counter, which is one hopes somewhat clean at least, and then all over the top of your half of the dough. Don't be stingy. Hammer it into semi-flatness, like maybe four to six inches wide, then try to fold it in on itself, into like the size of a ring box. In some manner, roll out that first half using what I use, which is an old bottle of verjus with no label. Who has an actual rolling pin? If it breaks a lot, just fold it back in on itself. You can tear off bits and glue it to the main body with some water. Or, if it's too soft, that means it's too wet, so put more flour on it. This rolling is a little strenuous, but just keep turning it and giving it a few rolls then turning it some more. Eventually it will be pie dish size.
9. Drop that shit in the pie dish and then roll out the top. Don't let everything get all melty while you're working. Rolling out the top is always easier than rolling out the bottom. THE END.