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Pie dough scraps are a beautiful thing. There are so many ways to create warm, golden, flaky bites of goodness out of them, agreed? Now consider the following proposal: Make your favorite pie dough recipe with no intention of baking an actual pie. Instead, roll the entire raw dough into a large flat rectangle, bake it in a rimmed baking sheet, and create a single heroic “scrap” of pie crust!
This idea was inspired by a recurring dream: A gigantic rectangle of pie crust sits on a cutting board, surrounded by an array of sweet accompaniments (chocolate mousse, fresh berries, toasted nuts, whipped cream, roasted fruit, caramel sauce…). At the end of the night, the guests (we’re at a cocktail party, by the way) suddenly notice the freshly-baked pie crust and collectively lose their minds with delight. They tear pieces of pie crust with their bare hands, customizing each individual handful with a different combination of toppings.
We brought this dream to life, although in a (slightly) less hedonistic way: by topping the slab of pie crust with six distinct combinations of toppings, calmly slicing it into neat little squares, and happily stuffing our faces with tastiness.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- Pinch salt
- 8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup ice water, or more as needed
To make the pie crust, we suggest a double batch of Erin McDowell’s classic All Buttah Pie Dough. Make sure the raw dough has been thoroughly chilled in the fridge before rolling it out. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper, lay the rolled-out dough down across the rimmed baking sheet, and use a fork to dock (make holes in) the dough. For optimal pie crust, place the baking sheet back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Set your oven to 375° F. When your rolled-out dough is chilled, take it out of the refrigerator and place another silicon mat or piece of parchment paper on top of your dough. Top this with another rimmed baking sheet (this will prevent the dough from puffing up while it bakes). Cook the pie crust for 20-25 minutes. Remove the rimmed baking sheet and parchment paper from the top of the pie crust and bake it exposed for an additional 5-10 minutes at 400°, until the crust looks golden. For a deeper golden color, brush an egg wash over the dough and bake for a final 5 minutes.
We elected to use the following six combinations:
- Chocolate mousse topped with chocolate syrup and shaved dark chocolate
- Blueberry compote topped with toasted coconut flakes
- Roasted apples topped with caramel sauce
- Vanilla whipped mascarpone topped with caramelized pineapple
- Macerated strawberries topped with candied ginger and chopped pistachios
- Raspberry whipped cream topped with fresh berries
Of course, you can use any array of toppings that you want, from more esoteric items like fresh herbs and roasted sweet potato to simple ingredients like peanut butter and sliced bananas. Let your imagination run wild.
After cooking a giant pie crust inside the friendly confines of the Food52 test kitchen, I continue to believe that “family-style pie crust with accompanying buffet of toppings” is a brilliant dessert idea for large groups. And if you forgo the knife and cutting board, opting instead to rip into the warm pie crust with your bare hands, give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back, because that is how this dish was originally intended to be eaten.
If you throw a party and serve this pie crust with an assortment of toppings, please write a comment below to let us know how it went. Was it a success? A messy disaster? Both? We want to hear from you!