Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mom's Pie Crust

Easy as pie, they say. Well, so many out there have no idea how to make a simple, delicious and flaky pie crust. It really isn't difficult, but there are a couple of tricks.

So here's how to make a good pie crust: Oh.. wait. the measurements are English and not Metric.

Pie crust: (makes 2 crusts)
3 C. good all-purpose flour (I use unbleached, organic flour)
1 1/2 C. vegetable shortening (the solid stuff) OR
      3/4 C. unsalted butter and 3/4 C. lard (yes ,real lard!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 C. ice water (you'll know it's the right amount when it's the right amount)

Sift flour & salt into a LARGE bowl. Add half the shortening and mix using a pastry blender. (If you don't have a pastry blender, use 3 butter knives laced between your fingers.) Mix using the pastry blender until you have the consistency of dry oatmeal. (it'll be kinda loose little itty bitty bits). Add the remaining shortening and mix again until you get little balls about the size of small peas. DON'T OVER MIX.

Mix in ice water a small bit at a time, using a pastry blender at first, then a large-tined fork, until it just holds together. Pat it down, and refrigerate covered for about 30 minutes while you're making whatever filling you'll be using.

Roll out 1/2 of mixture from center on a floured board, until it's approx. 1/3 of an inch thick. Fold it gently into your pie plate for bottom crust, do the same for a 2nd pie, or use the other 1/2 for the top of a pie (for a 2 crust pie). Once the crust is in the pie plate, use a fork to perforate portions so you don't get air pockets under the crust. Bake with your filling of choice for whatever time it takes for the filling to cook.

I've found little extra tricks that help - make sure all your bowls and utensils are cold. Put them in the freezer for a bit before you start your crust. Remember this cold cold cold pastry dough, nice hot oven.

Any leftover bits can be rolled out, dusted with sugar & cinnamon and baked at 350 degrees Farenheit 'til crispy. Yum.

Below are a couple of links with good tips on baking pie crust. I like the link for the photos. It shows what things should look like as you're making the crust. 

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