Pie Crust

Beth the Baker - PiesAs I’ve mentioned, my Grandmother had a huge influence on my cooking.. But then again, so did my mother.  Particularly the art of the pie crust.

My mother baked pretty much every day when I was growing up as my father had a fondness for dessert with every meal.  He even had one of those triangular Tupperware containers in order to take his “lunch pie”.  Breakfast pie, lunch pie,  then pie for dessert after supper.  Not to mention his evening snack of ice cream…. You think he’d be a large man, but no, he was very active and likely has a great metabolism… which I did not inherit.

But I digress.

My mother has always been an excellent baker and from her I learned how to make pies and pastry.  Most of the knowledge I haven’t retained to the letter… that is, I sort of “wing it” on the filling aspect… but pastry is a different thing.

This isn’t my mother’s recipe exactly (she uses shortening most of the time…) but a recipe I found years ago and often use.  However, I do also “wing it” with pastry… shortening, salt and flour in bowl and mix and add water until it looks good… kind of how mom taught me.

Grandma Mom and Me

Grandma, me and Mom. Summer 1982

Makes a double pie crust (top and bottom) or 2 shells… however,  when I made the whole recipe it made enough for 2 shells and a lattice top… and I threw some scraps out so it could have made a whole top.  It will depend on your pie plate size (I had one average and one large… see in the pic.)

This recipe is good for sweet pies.  I use a different pastry for dinner/meat pies.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (all purpose or cake and pastry)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup butter (you can use margarine or shortening… I prefer butter…)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 5 tbsp water (approx)

Mix together all dry ingredients.  Although some recipes STILL recommend sifting.. I really have never bothered….  Add the cup of butter and cut into the flour with 2 knives or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly.

Beat together egg, vinegar and 4 tbsp of the water.  Add to flour mixture gradually and mix with a fork or pastry cutter until it starts forming a ball.  Add the 5th tbsp of water if necessary (I have added a 6th one on occasion…) Make sure you’re using utensils to mix – handling the dough too much makes it warm.  If the dough is warm, refrigerate for 10-20 minutes or so before rolling out.  You can also use a food processor to mix everything to a crumbly texture, then shape into a ball.

Roll out on lightly floured surface and bake away!

For precooked pie shell — place dough in pie pan and prick shell all over.  You can cover in foil or parchment and put in pie weights or beans however I have never done this… as long as it’s pricked, it works out fine.  Bake in bottom third of 400°F oven for 15 minutes. At this point remove weights or beans if using… prick again and return to oven for 10-15 minutes.  I usually just prick the once and cook for about 25 minutes until golden.  Let cool and then fill!

If using dough for 2 crust pie.. 15 mins at 400°F … then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden.

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