Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Food for Thought: Why Nancy is wrong about this pie crust

Stein's results with Daniel Gritzer's vegetable galette recipe.
Stein's results with Daniel Gritzer's vegetable galette recipe.

This story originally aired June 5, 2019. 

While browsing recipes at the station last week, Daniel Gritzer's savory vegetable galette caught my eye. Leeks, mushrooms, asparagus and cheese open-faced in a flaky pie crust. No need to even stop at the store on my way home. I had asparagus and mushrooms still unwithered in the fridge and two thick wintered-over leeks in the garden.   

Here's what Daniel has to say about his recipe and here's the recipe itself.

I got started pretty late in the afternoon, so didn't have time to let the vegetable mix cool completely before mounding it onto the pie crust. Next time, I'll make that in the morning and assemble the tart in the afternoon. Even so everything came out wonderfully. 

Credit Stein / KNKX
It was just as good next morning at room temp.

But what really caught my attention was the Stella Parks' Old Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough he recommends for this. And therein lies this week's disagreement with Nancy Leson.

As you'll see if you read the recipe and watch her video, Stella, aka Bravetart, says to cut American style butter into half-inch chunks and press each one flat between thumb and forefinger like little pieces of buttery bubblewrap. This leads to a flakier pie crust.  Stella specifically warns against using a food processor.

But Nancy doesn't care. "I say always use a food processor when making pie dough." I explained that, for this dough you need large, flat pieces of butter and the processor will make them too small.  "Not true, if you just pulse the food processor about five times." I maintain that's still too much, and even Nancy had to agree that when she followed Stella's instructions, the result was a flakier crust. 

To the butter itself.

Parks recommends American butter rather than European, because the American style has less butterfat, aka Freedom Fat. The higher fat Euro style leads to a squishier dough. But Nance will not give up her preference for KerryGold. She admits that Stella's is flakier, but "mine tastes better."   

Maybe, maybe not but in all things piecrust I'll take the flake.

" ...with enough melted butter to thrombose a regiment." –  A.J. Liebling,  "Between Meals:An Apetite for Paris"

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.