Want to up your pie game in a big way? Take advantage of the pastry and use it as a vehicle for additional flavors and textures. With the first berry pie of the season try a flaky, all-butter pie pastry enhanced with hazelnut meal and powdered coffee for a subtly refined twist on a classic.
Coffee-Hazelnut Pie Pastry
Flavor Pairings: Blackberries, blueberries.
Baker’s Note: To flavor my baked goods with coffee, my favorite method is to take instant coffee, which is essentially freeze-dried coffee, and either dissolve the granules in an equal amount of water or grind them into a fine powder and use it as a dry ingredient. For this recipe, scoop a couple tablespoons of instant coffee into a bean/spice grinder and pulse until you have a very fine powder.
9 oz cake & pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
1/2 cup medium ground hazelnuts (not hazelnut flour)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
7 tablespoons very cold water (3.5 oz)
Measure the water into a cup and place it in the freezer until it is very cold, but not icy. Whisk together the flour, coffee powder, sugar and salt.
Add the cold, cubed butter to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Place the bowl in the freezer for 20 minutes to re-chill the butter.
Add the ground hazelnuts to the bowl and toss with a fork to evenly disperse. Pour the very cold water around the edges of the bowl, and quickly toss with a fork to disperse the liquid and combine the ingredients.
Gather the clumps of dough together into a rough ball and give it a few brief kneads against the side of the bowl, just until it holds together, then wrap very tightly in plastic wrap.
Note: The “dough” at this point will appear very dry or crumbly and not at all cohesive, but this is how it should feel. Gather the clumps together tightly into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap so that the ingredients come together without overworking the gluten or squishing the bits of butter. You can even carefully dump the clumps onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use it to gather the dough together, like I often do to minimize handling.
Flatten the dough slightly to form a disc. Chill for at least 2 hours to give the flour some time to absorb the moisture, and to re-solidify the butter.
Remove the dough from the fridge 20 minutes before rolling. Use as directed in your recipe of choice. Remember that freezing the pastry before baking it at a high temperature will yield the flakiest results.
The dough will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge or for up to one month in the freezer.