And for Thanksgiving…

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These are experiments. The one in the foreground is pumpkin pie made according to the can’s directions. The one in the back is The Pioneer Woman’s recipe, using Eagle Brand, brown sugar and vanilla as the differing ingredients. I’ll let y’all know what the experts think!

I know most of y’all know how to make pies.  But we can’t assume that everyone has mastered pie making.  Not that I have as there are always new things to learn about everything so you need to keep an open mind about new things.  Got it?

My pie crust recipe is one I got from my senior Home Ec teacher, Mrs. Dickens…in high school. Yep, it’s that old!  My mom decided it was good so she latched on to it and it’s what we’ve used ever since.  Unless I’m doing a peach cobbler…then it’s the old Never Fail crust that uses vinegar and eggs.

There are all sorts of fancy equipment that some folks will tell you are essential to making pie crusts…cloth covered rolling pins, bowls that keep the crust cold, special mats, rolling pins that hold ice water…

My essentials are:

a good wooden dough board

a dishwashable shortening cutter (don’t skimp on this…if it’s not a good one like an OXO, it will discolor and get yucky looking when you pull it out of the dishwasher and these doodads MUST be washed in the dishwasher as you might just lose your mind trying to wash them by hand.  Seriously.)

a decent rolling pin

a stainless steel extra large bowl (don’t use a plastic bowl as the cutter/blender will cut into the plastic.  Glass bowls sometimes will scratch.)

Why extra large you ask when this recipe makes only 2 crusts?

Because I never EVER just mix up one recipe.  Ever.

My mother hated making pies.  She always said, “Pies take too long and you end up with a mess.  So make a bunch while you’ve got everything out.  Then freeze them.”

Good advice.  I’m not sure in my entire married life that I ever just made two.

All that said, here goes.

In your extra large stainless bowl, measure 2 cups flour, leveled.

 

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt ( I add a bit more.)

Stir salt into the flour.

Blend in 2/3 cup shortening…I use butter flavored Crisco…to the flour.  Blend until the flour and shortening form pea sized clumps.

Add 5-8 Tablespoons ice water.  And don’t overmix.  Just blend the water in lightly sort of cutting the moisture into the flour with the edge of your spoon. This takes practice.  Sometimes all you need is 5 Tablespoons of water.  Sometimes 8.  No rhyme or reason.  I go by “feel”.  It the dough is too dry, it’s hard to handle but you can just pat the dough in instead of rolling it out.  If the dough is too wet, the crust will be tough.  Fine line.

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Flour your board (or countertop) well.  I always have a half cup or so of flour setting on the board so I have it close by to re-flour the rolling pin and board if I need to.

Take out half the dough and form lightly into  ball.  Roll out with the rolling pin.  You may need to dust the top of the dough with flour as you go.  Be sure the dough isn’t sticking to the board.  If it is, just throw some flour under it and proceed.

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Once the dough is rolled out and is large enough for your pie plate, roll the dough up loosely on the rolling pin and transfer the dough to the plate.

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Gently push the dough into the plate so that it fits close to the place with no air bubbles.

 

Once you get it in place, cut the edges around the plate about 1/4 ” away from the edge.  That gives you more dough to work with when you start forming your edges.  I fold that 1/4″ under the edge and that gives me a thicker edge to play with.  You can press a fork around the edge or pinch the dough into a scalloped edge or you may want to cut out shapes like I did on the pumpkin pies…maybe at  Christmas do stars or holly leaves.  Use your imagination!

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If I’m doing a double crust for say an apple pie or cherry, sometimes I cut a wheat design into the top crust with a paring knife or use a small cookie cutter to cut out the middle of the crust for an air vent.  The sky’s the limit!

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Then you’re going to bake the pie at whatever temp is required for whatever kind of pie you’re baking.  Watch the edges though.  If they start browning too much, one of those “pie edge protectors” is a handy thing to have.  It’s hollowed out in the middle so that when you put it on the pie edges, it covers only the edges and lets the pie continue to bake.

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One thing I’ve learned through the years is to double this recipe for say 3 pies.  Theoretically, it should make 4.  But I like to have more dough to play around with and not have to worry that I’m not going to have enough to cover the pie plate.  I am probably seriously obsessive about this.

There you have it.  Now I want to see some photos of some gorgeous pies!!!

 

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