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It’s international Pi day. 3.16 to infinity and beyond.  But of course the PIE companies get a slice of the day too!

I made quiches for the last family get together and my mother-in-law wistfully stated she wished she could learn how to do that.  Quiches, she has made, pie crust, not so much.

It looks difficult, and it IS easy to flop on one. But since I’ve been making these since I was 16 and was taught by my mom and two awesome grandmothers, I’m willing to share some secrets.

First, I use lard for supper pies. So quiches, meat pies etc. I use vegetable shortening for fruit and sugar pies.

Secondly, cake and pastry flour is best, for real. It is finer ground.  BUT you can make a successful crust with all purpose flour. I have even made it successfully with gluten free flour!

Thirdly, pie crust can be overworked and it will become rock hard when baked. FIX! Use a pastry cutter every time. A potato masher is a decent substitute but really, get a pastry cutter. Cut the grease (lard or shortening) and the flour in together COMPLETELY before adding any water, so the mixture resembles a crumble.

Fourth, grease you pans. WELL. Use glass pans not tin.

RECIPE – Double pie crust ( so, a top and bottom)

2 cups pastry flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup shortening or lard

MIX WELL

Add  4tbsp cold water (start with 4, but you can add up to 6 if absolutely necessary)

Divide the dough in two. the dough should not be crumbly, nor should it be sticky. Roll out the dough on a well floured surface. You can use a silicone cutting board or a large piece of wax paper, but you still need lots of flour on the surface and your rolling pin. Roll it thin enough to fill the bottom and sides of an 8 inch pan. As you roll, use a lifter to keep lifting the dough off your surface and re-flour as necessary.

Place in the greased plate and fill with filling. roll out the second dough and with a fork prick a few holes across the top to release steam as your pie cooks. Lay over top of your filling and with a knife cut away any extra pie crust.  Pinch the two crusts together to seal. A fork works well for this.

350oF for 30-60 min. Until crust is golden. Watch it carefully!

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