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Filtering by Category: misc

How to Make a Cheese Wheel Wedding Cake

Patricia Reitz

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Wedding season is upon us and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share how you can easily make a trendy and elegant, non-traditional Cheese Wheel Wedding Cake. Below is a list of things to consider for this easy DIY project.

How Much Cheese Will I Need?

As a general rule, you should plan on 2-4 ounces per guest. For the cake above (which I made for my daughter’s wedding), I knew how cheese crazy our guests were, and I also knew I could easily freeze any cheese that was leftover, so I opted to go with 4 ounces per guest. If you’d like to do the same, follow these amounts as a guideline:

  • 100 guests - 25 pounds of cheese

  • 125 guests - 32 pounds of cheese

  • 150 guests - 38 pounds of cheese

  • 175 guests - 44 pounds of cheese

  • 200 guests - 50 pounds of cheese

  • 250 guests - 64 pounds of cheese

What Size Cheeses Wheels Should I Get?

From a design standpoint, the height of each cheese wheel isn’t as important as the diameter. You’ll notice in the “cake” I made (shown at the top of this post), the height of each wheel varies greatly, but the diameter of each progresses in the same way the tiers of a traditional wedding cake do. If you don’t have a specialty cheese store in your area, here are some options you can order from amazon:

  • 3-inch diameter Boursin (5 oz) - HERE

  • 4-inch diameter P’Tit Basque (1 lb) - HERE

  • 6-inch diameter Cheddar (3 lbs) - HERE

  • 8-inch diameter Manchego (7 lbs) - HERE

  • 9-inch diameter Reggianito (10 lbs) - HERE

  • 10-inch diameter French Raclette (7 lbs) - HERE

  • 10-inch diameter Reggianito (15 lbs) - HERE

  • 12-inch diameter Brie (7 lbs) - HERE

  • 13-inch diameter Jarlsburg (24 lbs) - HERE

Can I Use Half Wheels or Wedges?

You sure can! I was unable to find a whole wheel that was the right diameter to work as the middle tier for my “cake”, but if you look closely, you can see I faked one by placing 4 wedges of artisan blue cheese together to simulate a whole wheel. The same could be done with half wheels.

How Do I Stack the Wheels?

It’s actually easier than you might think. Just make sure the top of each wheel is flat (you can trim with a sharp knife if they’re a bit domed). For hard and semi-hard cheese wheels, simply stack them on top of each other. For softer wheels, cut wooden skewers to act as internal supports (see below).


For this soft wheel of brie that was the large bottom tier of my Cheese Wheel Wedding Cake, I inserted wooden skewers, every few inches, to act as internal supports. I cut the skewers flush with the top of the brie, using a pair of wire cutters. Then I topped the brie with a cardboard cake round that was about the same size as the next wheel of cheese in the stack (to help distribute the weight of all the tiers that were going to sit on top).

How Do I Cut the Wheels?

Soft cheeses can be cut with a standard knife, but large tiers and hard cheeses are much easier to cut with a double handled knife designed for cutting wheels of cheese. I have this one and it worked great!

The blade is 15-inches long so it’s good for slicing pizza and large cakes too.

How to Decorate the “Cake”?


I absolutely love the how a stack of cheese looks displayed on a rustic, bark-covered wood slab (aka a slice or round). I used a large slab of black walnut.

And just like I would decorate a cheese board, I added fresh figs, grapes, blackberries, and dried apricots to decorate my tower of cheese. Florals and herbs sprinkled around the base were a nice touch as well. A variety of nuts would also work nicely.

How to Serve the Cheese?

Cheese is best served at room temperature so be sure the “cake” is set up and allowed to temper for several hours ahead of time. Have plenty of fruits, nuts, and crackers to serve along side.

We served our “cake” during the cocktail hour before dinner so it served as our appetizer course.

What About REAL Cake?


Anything goes these days so it certainly isn’t necessary to serve real cake in addition to the Cheese Wheel Wedding Cake, but we opted to have large sheet cakes that the kitchen staff cut behind the scenes. After dinner the staff presented guests with plated slices. If you’re interested in a scaled down version of the chocolate cake pictured - here’s a link.

So there you have it - everything you need to consider when considering a Cheese Wheel Wedding Cake. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions. Enjoy!

Russian Buttercream

Patricia Reitz

There are a number of popular buttercreams in the world. Swiss, Italian, French, and American are all fairly well known, but Russian buttercream is just starting to become known in the baking world. How does is differ from the others?

Each kind of buttercream can be flavored in various ways, but basically Italian, Swiss, and French buttercreams are made with a variety of cooked sugar syrups. They also require the use of a thermometer to ensure their respective sugar syrups reach the proper temperature (with the exception of French Buttercream, which doesn’t always require a thermometer - although it’s highly recommended for those under 5, over 80, or immune-impaired).

American Buttercream is by far my least favorite - truth be known, I don’t even think it should be called buttercream, but it’s popular with many because it’s so fast and easy to prepare, and does not require the use of a thermometer - you just dump confectioner’s sugar and butter in a bowl and mix them together.

And finally, Russian Buttercream. Russian Buttercream is as easy to make as American (actually easier), but it has the same silky smooth texture and depth of flavor as Italian, Swiss, and French. Great, great stuff. I hope you’ll give it a try.

To recap, here are the various buttercreams and how they differ:

  • Italian: made by combining a hot sugar syrup with beaten egg whites and softened butter (my personal favorite). It has a silky smooth texture, delicate flavor, and is very stable at room temperature for extended periods of time. You must use a thermometer when making Italian Meringue Buttercream.

  • Swiss: made by heating sugar and egg whites together before whipping, cooling, and adding softened butter. It has a silky smooth texture, delicate flavor, and is fairly stable at room temperature, but not quite as stable as Italian Meringue Buttercream. You must use a thermometer when making Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  • French: made by combining a hot sugar syrup with beaten egg yolks and softened butter. It has a silky smooth texture and delicate flavor, but it’s is a little softer than Italian or Swiss Buttercream and is not very stable at room temperature. Not all recipes for French buttercream call for the use of a thermometer, but it’s recommended when feeding those under 5, over 80, or the immune-impaired.

  • American: made with softened butter and confectioner’s sugar. It’s texture is extremely gritty and the flavor is extremely sweet. It’s gross and disgusting and I cannot recommend you make it… ever.

  • Russian: made with just two ingredients… chilled sweetened condensed milk and butter. That’s it. There’s no need for a thermometer because sweetened condensed milk contains all the sugar you need and it’s already been cooked. The texture of Russian Buttercream is silky smooth. It’s pretty stable at room temperature too.


So today my Russian Buttercream is actually going to be a Russian-Mexican fusion because I’ll be using dulce de leche in place of traditional sweetened condensed milk.

For decades home cooks would make dulce de leche by simmering unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk for hours until the milk inside would caramelize. Most people did this successfully, but there were always stories of those who were not so successful. I don’t know about you, but the thought of a can of sticky, molten caramel exploding all over my kitchen kept me from ever trying. Thankfully, at some point, sweetened condensed milk manufacturers decided to assume the risk for us, and home cooks the world over rejoiced.

Ok, that might be a stretch, but yay!


Start with room temperature butter, about 70F.

A hand mixer works well when making a small batch of this buttercream, but you’ll want to use a stand mixer for larger batches.


Whip the butter for 2-3 minutes until it’s light and fluffy (the photo above is after about 1 minute).


Here we are after 3 full minutes - see how light the color of the butter is?


Time to add the chilled dulce de leche - be sure it’s well chilled to keep the butter from getting too warm.


Whip them together until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed. You’ll want to taste it carefully and add some fine table salt to taste - just enough to highlight the butter and caramel flavors.

If you’re a fan of salted caramel, sprinkle the finished buttercream with flaked or coarse salt just before serving. Yum!

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Well, that’s all there is to it. Super, super simple, don’t you think? Next up, I’ll be sharing a fun way to use this buttercream. Until then, have a great day.

Items used to make this recipe:

Russian Buttercream w/Dulce de Leche

makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes


  • 1/2 pound (226g) unsalted butter at room temperature (70F)

  • 1/2 pound (226g) canned dulce de leche, chilled

  • fine table salt to taste


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter using a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light in color and very fluffy.

  2. Add chilled dulce de leche and continue beating with a hand mixer for 1 minute.

  3. Taste the mixture carefully and add just enough salt to highlight the butter and caramel flavors; continue whipping for another minute or two, scraping the bowl if needed.

Note: to make salted caramel variation, sprinkle flaked or coarse salt on top of buttercream when serving.

Keto Pizza Crust (no cauliflower)

Patricia Reitz

It seems like just about everyone is reducing their carb intake these days.  It's true, even my husband has been eating low-carb.  It's also true that my husband's favorite food is pizza - which we all know is most definitely not a low-carb food.  That is, until now.

Probably the most popular low-carb pizza crust recipe floating around out there is made with cauliflower that has to be grated, cooked, strained, and squeezed with every ounce of your strength before you can use it. And I bet you didn’t know cauliflower contains a lot of carbs. But the recipe I'm going to share with you today is much easier to make, and it has NO carbs!  Alright, let me show you how to make it.

You'll need 3 simple ingredients to make this crust - eggs, grated parmesan or romano cheese, and...


The magic ingredient.... high quality canned chicken!  

After trying several brands, we decided we like Kirkland Signature from Costco the best.  


See how the chunks of chicken are nice and big?  Some lower quality brands of chicken are mushy and pasty - try to avoid mushy and pasty chicken.  Anyway, drain the water from the can.  This nifty tool will keep your hands dry and clean while draining all that juice from the can.  I also love using this safety can opener to eliminate sharp can edges.

Use a spatula to gently press the chicken to remove any last drops of water.  What started out as a 12.5-ounce can of chicken really ends up being about 7.5 ounces of drained chicken.  

Spread both cans of drained chicken out on a parchment lined sheet pan, breaking up large chunks.  Place in a preheated 350F oven for about 10 minutes to dry the chicken a bit.

DSC_1634 (4).JPG

After the chicken comes out of the oven raise the temperature to 500F.  Notice how the color of the chicken has deepened.  Allow the chicken to cool for several minutes before proceeding.

When the chicken is cool, combine it with the eggs and cheese.  I like to use a stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade attachment to do this, but you can mix it by hand.


See how nicely the stand mixer and BeaterBlade does the job?

DSC_1643 (2).JPG

Divide the chicken mixture in half and use your fingers to press it into two 6x9-inch rectangles right on the same parchment lined sheet pan (below).

Note: My husband likes to spread the chicken/cheese crust mixture out about twice as thin (so he can have a thinner, crisper crust with more surface area, which means there’s more room for meat and cheese!).

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When the oven temperature reaches 500F, prebake the crusts for 10 minutes.

how to make the best carb-free pizza crust that doesn't contain cauliflower - recipe and photos

Remove the crust from the oven and add the usual toppings.  Tomato sauce....

PS - here's a link to my San Marzano Tomato Sauce. If time is an issue, here’s a link to my Busy Weeknight Marinara.

DSC_1654 (2).JPG

Mozzarella cheese...

And for this particular pizza, I added some sauteed onions and mushrooms.  Sometimes I like sausage crumbles and green peppers. My husband especially likes pepperoni on his. Add whatever pizza toppings you like!

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Return the pizza to the oven for 5 minutes until the mozzarella cheese is bubbly and brown.  

Cool for 5 minutes before cutting with a pizza wheel. 

I know you're wondering about the bottom crust so here's a quick shot - not bad, eh? 

Like traditional pizza crust, this recipe is crisp around the edges, chewy in the center, and it gets firmer as it cools.  It truly is the very best non-traditional pizza crust we’ve tried. We really love it and I hope you will too.

Items used to make this recipe:

Carb-Free Keto Pizza Crust

makes 8 servings


  • 25 ounces canned premium chicken in water, drained

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3 ounces grated parmesan or romano cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350F, line a half sheet pan with parchment, and place oven rack in upper third position.

  2. Drain canned chicken and spread out on parchment paper, breaking up large clumps.

  3. Bake chicken for 10 minutes, then remove from oven to cool for several minutes.

  4. Increase oven temperature to 500F.

  5. Combine precooked chicken, eggs, and cheese well.

  6. Divide chicken mixture in half and press into two 6x9-inch rectangles on the same parchment lined sheet pan that was used before; return to oven for 10 minutes.

To make traditional pizza, top crusts with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and your favorite pizza toppings (meats should be precooked).  Bake in 500F oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

adapted from

Best Way to Open a Pomegranate

Patricia Reitz


A number of years ago I shared a technique for opening pomegranate, but since then I've discovered an even better way.  Let me show you how it's done.

Naturally there are a couple of mandatory things needed - a fresh pomegranate and a small sharp knife (I have two of these trimming knives - they're the perfect tool for the job).


Not mandatory, but highly recommended - disposable gloves will keep your hands free from stains.  You may not need them if you're only tackling one pomegranate, but I often purchase them by the case so yeah.

the best way to open an pomegranate

Ok, the very first thing we need to do is score around the top of the pomegranate right about where I drew that blue line in the photo.  Don't cut into the pomegranate deep enough to poke any of the juicy arils inside (arils are the seeds).  

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See how my knife is barely cutting into the husk or rind of the fruit?

official way to open a pomegranate.  opening a pomegranate.

When you've made your way around the whole thing, put the knife down and use your fingers to pull most of that "cap" away.  It will probably break into several pieces - no worries.  

how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate

The very center part of that cap is anchored in there good so just leave it alone for now.  If you look carefully, you'll be able to see a thick, white fleshy substance directly under the husk and between the sections of arils.  That thick layer is called the albedo.  The number of aril-filled sections varies between 4 and 6 and once you remove the cap, you'll be able to see how many pockets of arils your pomegranate has.  My pomegranate has 6, which you can see the blue arrows pointing to in the photo above.  Using shallow cuts again, score the husk all the way down the fruit, right where those divisions are.


Once you do that, you can very gently pry the divisions apart.  The whole thing will open up like a flower.  How cool is that?  

Ok, now we can take care of the center of that cap.


Reach in and gently pry that cap out - it's attached to a thin white membrane that separates the arils in the individual sections.  


I'm always amazed how easily it pulls out once the individual sections are opened.


Ta-Da!!  Alrighty now, there's still a bit of work left to be done - just break off the individual sections and gently nudge the arils away from the membrane.  I do this over a very large bowl to catch the arils and container the occasional squirt of juice.  

I forgot to mention this earlier, but I suggest wearing an old shirt that you don't mind getting stained.  As careful as you may try to be, you'll occasionally squish an aril and the juice will squirt you.  


The labors of my hands ;)


Did I mention that this can be a messy job?  


Once you've freed the arils, you might find a few stay bits of membrane mixed in here and there.  You can drive yourself mad trying to pick them all out, or you can do it the easy way and cover the arils with water.  The bits of membrane will float and you can skim them away.  

Arils can be refrigerated for up to a week.  They can also be frozen - place in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze for 2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container for up to a year.  

DSC_1765 (2).JPG

You can press the juice from the arils if you like, but the entire aril is edible so feel free to sprinkle them over salads, float them in Pomegranate Fizz Mocktails, make Pomegranate Syrup to drizzle over vanilla ice cream, or bake delicious Pomegranate Ginger Muffins

Other recipes using pomegranates:

Kitchen Tip: What's The Best Surface for Baking Cookies?

Patricia Reitz

Silpat vs Parchment - which is better?

Silpat vs Parchment - which is better?

What's the best surface for baking cookies?

Here's a tip I want to share - when I bake a new cookie recipe for the first time, I like to test various baking surfaces to see which one produces the best results.  

is parchment better than silicone when baking cookies?

Here's an example of two cookies that were made from the same recipe and baked side-by-side, on the same sheet pan, at the exact same temperature, for the exact same length of time.  One was baked on parchment paper and the other on a Silpat liner.

In some cases, the finished cookies bake nearly identically, but in this particular case, the cookie baked on the silpat was the clear winner.  

And here's another example - the differences are more subtle than the cookies above, but there are differences.  I'll post larger photos so you can see them better. 

testing baking surfaces - which baking surface is best?

Cookie tops - the ones baked on a Silpat have a much nicer appearance.   The ones baked on parchment are lumpy and seem to have developed a few air holes that broke through the surface.

DSC_8750 (2).JPG

Cookie bottoms - again, the ones baked on a Silpat look so much better.  The ones baked on parchment have wrinkled and unevenly browned bottoms, and you can see where those air holes started - weird.

parchment vs silpat

And here's a different cookie recipe with more dramatic results - as you can see, the cookie baked on parchment stuck so badly that it broke when I tried to pull it from the paper, but the cookie the cookie baked on the sipat released perfectly. 


Patricia Reitz

One of my daughters is a Japanophile and she loves to introduce us to Japanese foods that are completely unfamiliar to us.  Foods like these onigiri (oh-nee-gee-dee), a rice ball or sorts.  They're kind of a rice sandwich filled with something savory like chicken or tuna salad.  The salty filling pairs so beautifully with the rice and a strip of nori is wrapped around for flavor and color contrast.  They're easy to make in the palm of your hand, but the triangular molds we used are even more fun.  Here's how they're made.

Start with about 3 cups of cooked rice.  I usually cook my rice on the stovetop, but my daughter loves any excuse to pull out the rice cooker. 

how to make onigiri, japanese rice balls - how to photos

Sushi rice is the typical rice used to make onigiri, but any rice that will stick together when compressed will work.  When you're shopping, look for Japanese medium or short grain rice. 

how to make onigiri - recipe with how to photos

As I said, you can form these in the palm of your hands, but using onigiri molds is kind of fun.  This set includes two sizes.

onigiri filling - japanese rice balls, recipe and how to photos

You'll also need a savory filling.  Today we're using this rotisserie chicken salad.  If you're interested in my yummy recipe, here it is.

how to make onigiri, japanese rice balls - recipe and how to photos

You'll also need nori sheets.  They're the same sheets you might use to make sushi. 


Cut the sheets into 1-inch wide strips that are 3.5 to 4 inches long.

Alrighty, time to make these adorable onigiri.  Keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip your fingers into.  Sticky rice won't stick to your fingers if they're damp.

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Press a tablespoon or two of rice into the bottom half of an onigiri mold, pressing it across the bottom and up the sides, leaving an indentation for the filling.

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Add a tablespoon or so of tuna salad or chicken salad.

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Cover the filling with more rice.

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Fill the mold to the top.

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Place the lid on top and press gently to squeeze everything together.

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Gently unmold and place formed onigiri on a strip of nori.

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Pull the ends of the nori up to wrap the onigiri.

how to make onigiri (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Ta-da!  That's all there is to it.  Now you're ready to dig in. 

how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos


Items used to make this recipe:


makes 8-12


  • 3 cups cooked sushi rice (or any rice that sticks together when compressed)

  • 1 cup tuna or chicken salad (try my rotisserie chicken salad recipe here)

  • 1 sheet nori seaweed, cut into 1-inch wide strips, then cut each strip in half to make 2 shorter strips (each should be 1-inch wide by 3.5 to 4 inches long).


  1. Place a few tablespoons of rice in onigiri mold, pressing across the bottom and sides of mold, but leaving an indentation for the filling.

  2. Place a tablespoon of savory filling like tuna salad or chicken salad in center of rice; cover with more rice until mold is filled.

  3. Place lid on mold and gently press to compress rice; remove lid and carefully unmold by pressing the release tab on the back of the mold.

  4. Place nori strip on table, shiny side down, and place onigiri on strip as shown; pull both ends of nori up on each side of the onigiri and serve immediately.

Kitchen Hack: Food Processor Tip

Patricia Reitz

Kitchen Hack:  Food Processor Tip

I love using my super-duper awesome food processor, and I don't mind cleaning the work bowl or the blade, but I absolutely HATE cleaning the lid - it has a silicone seal and it seems just about everything gets logged under that seal.  

BUT NOT ANYMORE!!  If you drape a piece of plastic wrap over the work bowl, then place the lid on, it keeps all the messy bits in the bowl and far away from the lid.  Of course it goes without saying, you can't do this if you plan to use your food processor's feed tube, but if you're just mixing or grinding something in the bowl, this tip will save you lots of headache.  

Ok, let's see this kitchen hack in action.  Grab a piece of plastic wrap. (I love, love, love this easy to use dispenser)

Drape the plastic wrap over the work bowl and click the lid in place.  The plastic will be sandwiched between the bowl and lid. 

Let the food processor do its thing, then remove the lid and look at all the gunk that is stuck to the plastic.  That's all stuff that would normally have splashed up onto the lid. 

Your lid will stay perfectly clean and be ready to use again.  I love this tip and hope you'll find it helpful!  

All Butter Pie Crust

Patricia Reitz

I know a lot of people buy prepackaged pie crusts for "convenience" sake, but I'm here to show you how easy it is to make your own less expensive and MUCH better tasting crust from scratch... and in less time than it takes to drive to the grocery store.  Plus you can make it way ahead of time.  I mean, talk about convenient!

The process here is so simple.  Just place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and give them a whirl.

All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial - ButterYum

Then add COLD unsalted butter and pulse, pulse, pulse...

How to make your own pie crust from scratch - ButterYum

Pulse until the butter pieces are the size of peas.  About 5-10 pulses.

how to make your own pie crust from scratch - ButterYum

Then turn the processor on and drizzle in ICE COLD water until the mixture starts to form clumps that will stick together when compressed.  CAUTION:  do not allow any ice to fall into the processor - doing so will result in gooey, sticky holes in your crust.

Note:  depending on how humid your climate is and how much moisture your flour contains, you may not need to use all the water.

simple pie crust recipe with photos - ButterYum

This is exactly what the dough should look like.  

Scratch Pie Crust Tutorial - ButterYumhow to mahow

Shape dough into a flat disk (two if making the double crust recipe), wrap well in plastic wrap or place in a zip-top bag and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days) before rolling.

Note:  if you're not going to use the dough within 3 days, freeze it for up to a m0nth.  To thaw:  place wrapped dough in refrigerator overnight before rolling.  

how to make the best pie crust from scratch - how to photos - ButterYum

Happy Baking!

Items used to make this recipe:

Single All Butter Pie Crust

makes one 9-inch crust

Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 3-4 tablespoons ice cold water

Double All Butter Pie Crust

makes two 9-inch crusts

Printable Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 6-8 tablespoons ice cold water


  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, place flour, salt, and sugar; pulse several times to combine.

  2. Add cold cubed butter and pulse processor on and off until the butter pieces are the size of peas.

  3. Turn the machine on and drizzle ice water slowly until small clumps of dough start to stick together. You'll know you've added enough water when the moistened clumps hold together in the palm of your hand when squeezed.

  4. Transfer to plastic wrap or zip-top storage bag and press into a round disk shape (two if making the double crust recipe); chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days before rolling. Dough can also be frozen for up to a month.


  • To prebake pie shell (blind bake), Place pie dough in pie plate, crimp edges and chill in freezer for 20 minutes or the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. Crumple a piece of parchment paper that's large enough to fill the pie plate, including the sides. Fill the parchment with rice (I don't like to use beans because they can't be cooked after baking, but rice can). Place chilled pie crust on half sheet pan and place it on the center rack of preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the parchment and rice and return to oven for 5 minutes. Cool completely before filling.