Pastry is science married with technique and a whole lot of love. There are rules! Now forget I just said all that because I don't do pie by the book, I have my own.
I've been making pie for a very long time, studying, perfecting, taste testing and polling family in a pie dissection style questionnaire. A questionnaire that can be broken down into 3 distinct sections. Crust, filling and over all happiness level. I've asked the questions so many times I don't even need to anymore, answers are offered up in sequence without request now, by my family.
I first tried to write this post by covering all 3 sections, however It seems that each is deserving of it's own entry. By Saturday you should have all the instructions you need to make a pie!
Today is the crust.
The word crust strikes fear in the heart of many, sending people racing to the store for frozen pie shells or boxed crust mix. Use these and you have not made pie. Sorry, I told you pie is serious. If you are asked to bring dessert and are going to reach for a frozen crust, offer a fruit salad instead please.
The truth is that pie crust, if you follow the rules, is the easiest thing on the planet to make... but you have to follow the rules.
Recipe and rules for a 9" 2 crust pie (please do not make this pastry in the food processor. There are pastries that can be made that way, this is not one of them.)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup COLD lard - (lard is best but if you have issues with pork, choose shortening) cold is key - I put mine in the freezer for a couple of hours.
6-7 tablespoons of ice cold water - really put ice in the water - yes it has to be that cold
|Stir together the flour and salt, add the chilled lard |
and begin cutting the lard into the flour with a pastry blender
or a couple of knives.
|While you are busy creating all those flakes, drop a couple of ice cubes|
in to a measuring cup of cold water and let it chill.
|When you have the crust rolled to a thickness of cardboard and large enough to accomodate the pie plate, gently drape the dough over the roling pin and move it to the plate. Lift the dough into place fitting the pie plate snuggly. |
Rule...lift don't stetch. Stretched dough shrinks in the oven
The pie we are going to make is apple so I always coat the bottom of the crust with marmalade to keep the filling from making the crust soggy.
|Once we add the filling to the pie plate we are going to repeat the rolling process with the second piece of dough to form the top crust. Roll the dough and lay it over the filling. It helps the two crusts to stick together if you dampen the egde of the bottom crust first; a good seal here keeps the filling from leaking out of the seam.|
trim the excess crust off and flute the edge of the pie (flute is just a fancy word meaning make it look nice. Really you can pinch it, crimp it or press it with a fork. It doesn't matter just make it look good and do it quickly so that the heat from your hands doesn't melt the lard)
Cut a few slits in the top for the steam to escape from the filling when the pie is baking.