Look at everything you can do with pie dough scraps!
So why do we throw them away? Are we scared to overwork notoriously delicate dough? Skeptical that we could make anything with such a small amount?
When you make pies for a living like I do, it's impossible not to wonder things like this at 3 A.M. Add a couple shots of espresso and you have a full-blown investigation.
See, pie dough doesn't want to be manhandled for a couple reasons. The longer you work in a room temperature- or summer temperature-kitchen, the more the butter slivers and shards melt prematurely. Likewise, the longer you mix and fold, the more gluten develops, which is great for (chewy) bread but bad for (tender) pastry. And this is all bad news for re-working scraps.
But the silver lining is that these snags are totally avoidable if you think of pie scraps like you think of yourself at 4 P.M. on a Friday: worked to capacity and ready to relax. As soon as you have your scraps, swaddle them in plastic, form into a disc, and stick in the fridge (for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days) or the freezer (for up to a month). This will keep the butter in check and help the gluten loosen up. Soon enough, the dough will be ready to have some fun again.
Enter these mini recipes, sweet and savory. If you have one double-crusted pie's worth of scraps, you could also have, say, an appetizer, or snack, or dessert, or breakfast. When you reroll, shoot for 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, but no need to get ruler-exact. Bake all of the recipes at 375° F.
This article originally appeared on August 30, 2016. We're re-running it because the holidays—and pies galore—are coming!
What do YOU do with pie scraps? Tell us in the comments!
Video by Kyle Orsosz