Monday, June 15, 2009

Why a pastry cloth?

Hmmmm. Well, you know how, when you want to make a pie crust, you have to roll out the dough, and it sticks to the countertop, and it shreds up into a zillion pieces when you go to flip it over or, my god, actually put it into a pie tin? It's really irritating. It is why I have not made many pies. Which is a pity, because I am very fond of pie, and tarts, and quiche, and other things that need rolled pastrycrust.

I needed a pastry cloth. The funny thing is, I knew quite well that it would make my life easier, but I never bothered to get one. I kept thinking "seriously, how often am I gonna want to make pie crust?" Well, lots oftener, now that I have my pastry cloth. I think I was just waiting for the right incentive. I made up all the ingredients for my Farmer's Market Pie, and realized that I could not face the hassle of rolling out a crust on a naked countertop, because I had run out of waxed paper to roll it between.

That was the other thing: I had figured out that rolling the pastry between layers of waxed paper worked just fine, for the most part. But I was out of paper, I had a nice piece of clean cotton sheeting, and I was in a bind. I tore out a generous rectangle of cloth, put a neat hem around it with my trusty treadle sewing machine-hooray, my two favorite hobbies all at once!- and dun-dun-DUN! It was a revelation.

The idea is the same as using waxed paper: you lightly flour the cloth, fold it in half with the pastry between the layers, and roll away. When you want to turn it over, you pick up the whole business and flip the cloth and pastry together, no sticking to the counter. But the best part is that the cloth does not stick to the pastry! Unlike waxed paper, which, after all that rolling and squishing can be a tad reluctant to give up the dough, the cloth whisks away without a hint of resistance. Also unlike paper, which is stiff, and can buckle into pointy shapes which stab holes in your beautiful crust, a nice supple pastry cloth will gracefully yield your pie crust intact.


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