Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Mom's Pie Crust


My mom was known for her pies. She was the family baker. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, she would make pumpkin and mincemeat pies. Then she starting adding cherry pie too because that was what my brother wanted. But what she was really known for was her flaky crusts. I like to think I take after her. She did teach me all that she knew on the subject. If fact, I even started taking over for her when I was a teenager. After a couple years of me making the pies, a cousin found out. Before she had tasted this year's pies, she was worried that they wouldn't be as good as my mom's. My mom quickly explain that I had been making them for years now. As soon as my cousin heard this, she wasn't worried any more. She hadn't noticed a change before.

So what was my mom's tricks. For starter cold water. I am talking put ice water in the freezer when you start making the crust until you need it. And not working the dough too much. One roll out and done. Oh and she always made extra just to make sure she would have enough. She said the ingredients were cheap so why risk it.


The Recipe


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons COLD water



Mix flour and salt in bowl. Cut in the shortening until it is the size of small peas. I love my pastry blender but if you don't have one you can use two butter knives. That's what my mom always did.


Stir in water until just combined, You might have to use a little more or less water depending on how humid your climate is. You just need all the flour and shortening to stick together.

Roll on floured board until 1/8 inch thick. Carefully move to pie pan. Gently press crust into pan and trim the extra dough along the side, leaving enough dough to fold under. Fold under the extra dough that you just left and crimp into a pretty edge.

This should be enough dough for 2 single crusts.



To bake a pie shell, preheat oven to 425 and bake pie for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden. Before you put the pie crust in the oven, you want to gently fork the crust to stop big bubbled from forming.

If using this pie crust to make any other type of pie, just follow that recipes instructions.

Making your Pie Pretty

I love to make a pretty pie. I think it is the extra touch that can really set your pie apart. Plus it all looks harder than it really is.

Single Crust



Using small cookie cutter to make the edge of your pie crust is an easy way to really impress.  At Thanksgiving, I love to use a small leaf cookie cutter to give a beautiful fall touch to my pumpkin or pecan pies. 

It is really simple. Just cut off the extra dough along the side, instead of saving some to fold under. Roll out some extra dough and use your chosen cookie cutter to make a much of little pieces of dough. Over lapping as you go,  use water to "glue" them in place.

Double Crust



When I make an apple or peach pie, I usually do a solid top crust without only a few slits to help steam escape. But I do like to add a little touch to dress them up a little. With a little extra rolled dough, I cut out an apple or peach along with a leaf and stem. I them use water to "glue" them to the middle of my pie crust. Then I sprinkle the whole thing with sugar. It sure comes out of the oven looking gorgeous. 

And a lattice top is easier than you would think. Roll out a nice big piece of dough to 1/8 inch. Then cut into 1/2 inch wide strips. A pizza cutter makes easy work of this task.  Place 5 to 7 strips (depending on the size of your pie) across the pie filling.

Begin your cross weave by working one half of the pie at a time. Gently fold over every other strip. then place your new strip down and unfold the original strips. Now fold over the strips you left down before and add your new strip. Then unfold the strips over the new one. Continue until that side of the pie is covered. Repeat on other side.

Trim the edge, fold over and crimp the edge. Sprinkle with sugar before baking.

Don't forget the foil



Cut 3 to 4 3 inch strips of foil and crimp them together making one long piece of foil. Gently wrap the edge of the pie with the foil and crimp the lose edges together. Shape the foil to cover and protect the pie crust edge. Remove foil 10 to 15 minutes before pie is done baking. 

Using foil to protect the edge will insure that the edge doesn't burn. All it needs is those last couple minutes to turn a beautiful golden brown.



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