Friday, January 28, 2011

Perfect Pie Crust

This is, as close as I can remember, how my Mammaw taught me to make pie crust. Of course, Mammaw never measured anything, but I think these measurements work. The following amounts will make enough for two 9-inch crusts.

Double Pastry Crust
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/3 cup ice cold water
  1. Sift flour, then measure. Trust me, it makes a difference.
  2. Thoroughly stir in 1 tsp salt.
  3. Cut in about 3/4 cup shortening. Dough should be crumbly--which means if you squeeze some in your hand, it should mostly hold together, but then break apart easily when touched.
  4. Swirl water around in a cup of ice, then measure out about 1/3 cup. The water should be absolutely ice cold.
  5. Add water to dough while stirring. Don't add the whole cup at once, because you might need a little more or a little less than 1/3 cup. Dough should form a ball without getting mushy and sticky.
  6. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Divide into two equal portions.
  7. Flour your rolling pin, and begin flattening one ball of dough. Roll out just enough to make a very thick, mostly flat oval, then pick up dough, reflour surface, and turn dough over. Otherwise your dough will stick like crazy to your board. You might need to repeat this step one more time.
  8. Roll dough to desired thickness. Some people like thicker crust; I roll to fairly thin crust.
  9. Press into pie pan. Then roll out second crust.
For a single crust, pre-baked shell---generously prick bottom and sides of crust with fork and bake in 425 oven for 10-12 minutes. (note--failing to properly ventilate crust will result in your crust bubbling up. If this starts to happen, stab it with a fork again!)

For a single crust, UNbaked shell--press dough into pan. Fold edges under about an inch. Pinch and twist to create a fluted edge. (No, I don't have cool pictures. I don't usually think about putting things on my blog when I'm cooking.) Pour in whatever filling needs to bake in the pie crust and bake according to that recipe.

For a double crust--press first dough into pie pan. Roll out second dough. Put filling in pie and top with second dough. Turn edges of top dough under the edges of the bottom dough. Pinch and twist to seal and create a fluted edge. Gently cut some slits for steam to escape in the top crust. (My Mammaw used to create a stylized image in her steam vents....a tree, an initial, a dove, etc.) For a fruit pie, you can sprinkle on sugar or a cinnamon sugar mix on to the top of the pie.  Bake according to recipe directions.

 Coming soon.....pot pie!

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