Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More about piecrust

Apple pies baked in muffin tins
I am super snooty when it comes to pie crust.  I'm a huge dessert lover if there ever was one, but I will turn down anything made with a store-bought crust.  I've been brought up on the homemade stuff, and I was told that my great-grandmother made the best pies ever - mouth watering fruit fillings, meringue piled miles high, flaky crusts made out of real lard...

Sadly, my great-grandmother was well into her eighties when I came around and wasn't making pies anymore.  However my own mother carried on this tradition and still uses great-grandma's recipe, although substituting Crisco for the lard.

Spinach-Feta Quiche
Spinach-Feta Quiche
I started making pies with my mother very early on; she would make and roll out the dough, while I mixed up the filling.  While we worked she would tell me stories of great-grandma's pies and all of the secrets to a good crust.

Handle the dough as little as possible, keep all of your ingredients as cold as can be, don't worry if it tears, but above all things - don't be scared!  Many people shy away from making their own because they feel that it's too complicated or takes too much time, but in reality, there's only five ingredients and it only takes about five extra minutes.  Sure, there's a lot of practice involved, but the end result is well worth it.

Apple Pie
Apple Pie; pre-oven
So who wants the recipe...... yes?

Great-Grandma's Pie Crust - makes 3 crusts
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup Crisco (use the name brand stuff)
1 egg - beaten
1 Tablespoon vinegar
5 Tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, cut the flour into the Crisco with a pastry cutter.  In a small bowl beat the egg, then add the vinegar and ice water.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Divide the dough into three disks, wrap and refrigerate before use.

Rhubarb hand pie
Rhubarb Hand Pies
*A couple extra tips - only roll the dough out once, use lots of flour, and if it tears, just piece it back together.  I've made some super ugly pie crusts in my day, but re-rolling the dough will take away all of the flakiness.

Mini peach pies
Mini Peach Pies; pre-oven
Alrighty folks, we've got two huge pie holidays coming up, and I hope everyone will give it a shot at least once!

Stepping off my soapbox now.


  1. and i can say that pie and quiche was DELICIOUS! i've never used egg or vinegar, will have to try it. i've always just used flour + crisco + butter + water.

    i feel the same way about it though...store bought is like blasphemy as far as i'm concerned, especially since it doesn't take much once you get a feel for it. my mother in law thinks i'm snooty about pie crust but her son knows i make better crust than she could ever buy at the store, HA! ;)

  2. Mmmm...yummy! I want your recipe for apple pie now, too! That looks absolutely delish! Apple pie is my favorite dessert, ever! Ever! I make my own crust, too. I use one my aunt gave me that uses oil. I bet lard would make a super flaky crust, though! The hand pies look good too...it's 9 PM and now I want to bake... LOL!

  3. I definitely will try out your pie crust recipe! I just went to a Pampered Chef party tonight and bought the apple corer/peeler/slicer, in hopes of making my first pie in 2 weeks! Yup, my FIRST pie! I'd love any pie recipes that you would like to share too.. that apple pie looks like it would turn out DELISH when done!

  4. mini apple pies!? rhurbarb hand pies!? oh my, you're killing me! they look fantastic!

    i just saw (in martha stewart i think) she made a slab pie with frozen puff pastry. of course it looked amazing and wonderfully delicious!

  5. dang it! now I want to make a pie today! (and I think I might).

    My mom uses this same recipe (or one extremely similar), and I've done it a couple times too.

    My tip for rolling out --
    Roll it out between two sheets of saran wrap... You have to lift the top piece a bit if it folds on top of itself, but it makes putting it in the dish super easy. Take off the top, flip it in to the pan, and then take off the bottom! No tears!

  6. In addition to homemade pie crust (although I'm not the best at that), I gotta plug for the homemade whipped cream. I grew up on that and CAN NOT STAND the fake stuff. And why use fake when whipping cream is so easy. My mother-in-law makes this "Oreo cookie cake" which is basically oreo cookies crust, chocolate pudding and whipped cream, but she makes it with instant jello pudding and Cool Whip. I eat it because she thinks I'm snoody enough as it is, but I always go off to my husband later about how good it would be if it were made with real ingredients. (She gave my daughter the spoon to lick last time we were there and called it whipped cream, and I almost blurted out that Actually it's "whipped topping," there is no "cream" involved.)

  7. Liz, I completely agree - it takes practically no time at all and tastes about 100 million times better than the fake junk. And wow, I think I might try to make a "real" version of that Oreo cookie cake - it sounds fantastic!

  8. Hey, Em! I'm about to try your pie crust recipe, so put in a good word with your great-grandma for me today so that maybe she'll help me out a bit.