Who doesn’t appreciate a great hack? Not the chopping kind you do with an axe, and not the destructive computer kind of hacking, but a cool life hack that just makes your daily activities a bit easier, or simply makes you look like a rock star. Think cutting a birthday cake with dental floss instead of a knife for Instagram-worthy slices, or using a makeup sponge to apply sunscreen on your kid’s faces.
Some of the greatest life hacks happen in the kitchen, saving time, increasing efficiency, and resulting in the prettiest dishes ever. Taste of Home lists 45 life-changing kitchen hacks, some of which include keeping baked goods soft by placing a slice of white store-bought bread into storage containers and slicing potatoes with an apple slicer for perfectly cut steak fries. It seems that every kitchen gadget in your drawers and pantries can do double-duty, even those created for a single purpose. Take the tortilla press. The main purpose is in the name, but, just when you thought you’d seen everything, someone out there is using it for dessert.
According to Mexican Food Journal, it’s pretty simple to make fresh tortillas using a tortilla press. The publication instructs users to lay a piece of plastic or wax paper on the bottom of the press, place a ball of tortilla dough on top of that, then lay another piece of plastic on top of the dough. Next, press the top of the device down to flatten the dough. Flip the dough over and press again. The result is a perfectly rounded and flattened raw tortilla ready to be cooked. If it works for tortilla dough, why shouldn’t it work for pie dough?
The Kitchn suggests this hack takes the most tedious part of making pies (rolling the dough out with a rolling pin) out of the equation. The pie dough comes out of the press perfectly. Because the tortilla press will only accommodate smaller amounts of dough, this method works best for hand pies. Once the dough is flattened, simply fill one half of your dough round with your favorite pie filling, fold over to make a half moon shape, and crimp the edges before brushing with egg wash and baking. The result is less time and labor in the kitchen with a delicious and beautiful dessert in the end.
Hand pies are fantastic any time of the year and can be filled with both savory and sweet fillings. Try this Roasted Squash and Sage Hand Pie recipe or these festive Rugelach Hand Pies to master this tortilla press technique.