Thursday, December 9, 2010

Great gadgets: Harold Pie Crust Maker and Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peelers.

As I mentioned in my report on Thanksgiving dinner, I have never had any success with making my own pie crusts. The main problem that I've run into is sticky dough. I've ended up having to add so much flour in order to prevent the dough from sticking to my hands and to the rolling pin, that the dough became tough and not at all a desirable texture.

A year or two ago I read a review of the Harold Pie Crust Maker in Cook's Illustrated magazine. The author praised the pie crust tool, telling of much easier it was to roll out crust using it. The story sounded too good to be true, but the gadget was pretty inexpensive so I decided to order one for myself. It sat in my cupboard until a month or two ago when I made an apple pie for my Cooking Club.

The gadget essentially looks like a flat zippered sweater bag. You toss a tablespoon or so of flour inside, seal the bag and shake so that the flour dusts interior of the plastic disk. You then insert your refrigerated pie dough into the bag and seal it again. Taking your rolling pin, you now roll out the dough while it is inside the plastic. When you've reached your desired diameter, you unzip the bag and peel back one side. Then you invert the crust into your pie plate and peel off the second side. Voila! Perfect pie crust that requires very little handling.

The second gadget that came in handy at Thanksgiving was the Kuhn Rikon Swiss peeler. I recently took a cooking class at Sur la Table, and our instructor recommended these inexpensive little vegetable peelers. I bought one and can't believe how much easier it is to use than my old peeler. The Kuhn Rikon also removes a much thinner depth of peel, leaving more of the inside fruit or vegetable intact. At Thanksgiving I used the peeler for my apple pie, but I've also used it with potatoes and been equally pleased.


JoAnn said...

I just saw a TV chef, Alex Guarnaschelli, do essentially the same thing but she just used plastic wrap. It made the crust look so easy to handle. I think she also wrapped the crust around her rolling pin to move it to the pie plate.

Jessica Ryan said...

those are the best vegetable peelers around! I also love Cook's Illustrated... have you seen their program on PBS? I just love Chris Kimball and his bowtie!

3 Peanuts said...

Thanks for the tips. We used to get cooks Illustrated Magazine too. That pie thing could be a great gift for Dave but I am not sure it would be here in time. Do you know of any stores that sell them???