Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Back in 2008, Good Eats showed a recipe for pie crust which included distilled alcohol. In 2009, America's Test Kitchen showed a recipe for blueberry pie which also used alcohol in the crust. In both cases, the program explained that alcohol made the pie dough easier to work without encouraging gluten formation the way that water would.

Does anyone know where the idea of using alcohol in pie crust really came from? Was this a well-known trick, or did one of these programs invent the idea?

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

In November 2007 a recipe was published in Cooks Illustrated for a Foolproof Pie dough with vodka. That recipe was created by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt who was one of the chefs on America's Test Kitchen and writer for Cooks Illustrated. He has an article about the recipe here As far as I know this was not a well-known trick and Lopez-Alt came up with it originally.

share|improve this answer
Hmmm... If the Cook's Illustrated article came out in Nov 2007, that doesn't leave much time for the technique to be incorporated into Good Eats' "American Classics II: Apple of My Pie", which aired in Feb 2008; especially given how long TV production takes. – KatieK Jul 9 '12 at 21:20
@Katie: The article and the testing would themselves have needed to be done well before the magazine came out. – Josh Caswell Jul 9 '12 at 21:57
I am inordinately happy about the idea of Kenji and Alton swapping baking tips. – Tacroy Jul 10 '12 at 17:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.