Saturday, November 27, 2010


The foundation of a good pie is its crust.  I've been using a recipe that's been in our family for probably a hundred years.  It's flaky, light, and tender, and, unlike some pastry doughs, doesn't become tough from over-working it.  It's not for those watching their fat intake--it uses lard.  But, if you only make pies two or three times a year, and keep your portions under control, I think if you're going to have pie, you might as well have the best!  The pastry freezes well if you want to make pie shells ahead of time, then bake; or it keeps fresh for days if you bake the shells ahead of time then fill them with your cream fillings later. If you're not ready to use all of the dough, it can also be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

3 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon soda
1 Cup Lard
1 Tablespoon shortening
1 egg
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Enough ICE WATER to make 1/2 Cup liquid

Mix together all dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender, mix the lard and the 1 Tablespoon shortening until it's like meal.  (The reason you add 1 Tablespoon shortening is because the lard comes in a 2-Cup package.  Just divide the package of lard in half, then add the shortening to make up the difference so you won't be short of lard on your next batch).  In a small cup, beat egg slightly, add the lemon juice, then the ice water, equaling to 1/2 Cup liquid.  Add to the dry meal-like mixture.  Stir with a fork until blended, then mold with hands until dough is formed.  Divide this dough into thirds.  (Note:  I like my crusts thin, and I can get four 9-inch crusts out of this recipe instead of three).  When rolling dough out, I use 2 sheets of parchment, or some waxed paper, sandwiching the dough between the two sheets, and rolling out from the center, continuing until a nice, round, thin pastry circle, big enough for the pie plate is rolled out.  Gently peel the top layer of parchment back, then flip and release the other side of pastry.  Gently fold in half, and place over half of the pie plate, then unfold and cover the other half.  If making a two-crust pie, fill the crust, then follow the same instructions for the top crust in rolling and placing on the top.  Water-moisten between the two crusts, press together,   and trim the edge with the back of a knife.  Seal the edges together by pressing your thumb down, all around the pie.  Sprinkle top with sugar, or a sugar/cinnamon mixture. (I like cinnamon/sugar on apple and peach, just sugar on cherry).  Make slits in the top of the pastry to allow a "vent."  Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees) until done-- the empty shells, only 10-12 minutes.  2-crust fruit-filled pies, 40-50 minutes.  I make a ring from aluminum foil and place it around the crust, so it covers up the edge, to avoid over-browning of the edge of the crust. 
Any leftover dough?  I like to make "pie dough cookies" by rolling out any leftover dough, placing in a pie tin, sprinkling with cinnamon/sugar, and cutting it into wedges, like a pie.  Bake until done.  These are yummy!

DON'T WANT TO USE LARD?  Try this similar recipe--I don't like it as well, but still use it occasionally.

2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Cup Butter-flavor Crisco
1/2 Cup tap water

Mix dry ingredients with the shortening with hands, until like meal.  Add water.  Mix with hands until blended.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface, to size of pie pan you're using.  Bake 1 crust at 400 for 10-12 minutes.  2 crusts, by filling, then topping with another crust.  Seal edges.  Make slits in top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.  Make a protective edge for the pie by using aluminum foil around the crust to avoid burning.  This recipe makes 2 crusts.  (NOTE:  Cherry Hills is a popular pie shop in Northern Utah).

Both recipes are good for chicken or turkey pot pies, and are easy to use with lattice tops, as well as fruit, cream, or nut pies. 
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

1 comment:

  1. Your pies look delicious, I'll have to try out your crust recipe, you've posted quite a few cupcake recipes as well- thanks!