Preheat oven to 450°
Prepare the breadboard: it must be clean and dry. Dust it
with shaken or sifted flour, to an even layer. You should
just barely be able to see the color of the board through
the white flour.
Sift flour into 2 cup measuring cup (2 cups sifted). Pour
into medium mixing bowl. Mix in salt.
Cut 1/2" slices of Crisco cube into flour (discard
the last 1/2" of Crisco). Use pastry blender to cut
the Crisco into the flour quickly and with a minimum of working
at it. Frequently scrape the bottom with the blender to lift
dry flour to the surface. Stop when the mixture looks crumbly.
Sprinkle in about 1/4 cup of the ice water. Mix it in quickly
with the thumb of one hand while rotating the bowl with the
other. Sometimes 1/4 cup of water is enough, sometimes not.
Again, it’s important to work the dough just as little
As soon as no dry flour is left (this is the part that can’t
be described, but must be felt!), gather it all into one
lump and press it into a round ball. Press hard, but don’t
knead it. You’re just trying to get the air out. Divide
into 2 halves, and press each into a round ball.
Pat flat between the hands, place on a well floured breadboard.
Mash it down by hand just a bit, dust flour on the top, lift
it up, flour the spot where it was on the board, and place
it on the board upside down. Both sides should now be well
flowered. You should just barely see the color of the board
through the flour.
Roll the dough out from the center, keeping the form as
round as you can, to about 3" larger in diameter than
the pie tin. I don’t bother to trim it round. I like
the uneven edge that results. I want my homemade pie crust
to look homemade!
Lift under one edge and quickly fold the crust over onto
itself, in half. If it sticks to the board, either the dough
is too wet and/or more flour was needed on the board. If
the dough breaks when you lift or fold it, add a little (very
little!) more water next time.
Set the foldover crust in the pie tin, and unfold it into
the tin. lightly toss the crust up off the tin to center
it if needed. Scrinch the edge. Many edge treatments are
possible, use a cookbook and your imagination. For single
crusts pies, I use the 2-forefingers/1-thumb method.
If the recipe calls for a baked crust (lemon, cream, fresh
fruit pies), puncture the bottom several places with a fork
to keep it from bubbling up when it cooks. Bake 10-12 minutes
or until it reaches the proverbial golden brown.
Don’t you dare give up. IT’S WORTH IT.
Whip your cream in a chilled 2 or 4 cup Pyrex measuring
cup (depending on how much you need. It should fill the container).
You’ll be amazed at how much more quickly it whips
in a confined, chilled, glass container!
For whipped cream, use clear vanilla if you can find it,
it makes whiter cream.
For double crust pies, use just a tad more water in the
dough. It makes the edges easier to work with.
For carrying pies in a car in a covered pie-carrier, cut
a circle of foam plastic of the type sold to protect crystal
on glass shelves from damage in earthquakes. It is non-skid,
and will keep the pie from sliding all around and beating
it’s edges to death.
For a killer pumpkin pie (it’s the season!), use Libby’s
bulk pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix!), make according to directions
except: substitute 2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream and 1 cup
whole milk for the evaporated milk in the recipe, and sprinkle
with quite a lot of nutmeg before baking. It’s done
when a silver knife comes out clean (but then, your mother
already taught you that!).
Pumpkin pie per the above recipe can be made with plastic
eggs (Egg Beaters) and 2% milk!
But who’d want to!
Call me next summer and I’ll show you how to build
the best blackberry pie you ever tasted!
More further notes:
For a different treat, try MOM’S PEAR PIE! It takes
about 8 ripe pears, washed but not peeled. The peel adds
to the homemade-ness, I believe. Slice the pears into about
1/6s, core the centers. Lightly toss the wet pear slices
in a mixture of 1/3 cup flour and 2/3 cup sugar. Arrange
the slices in the unbaked lower crust, sprinkle the rest
of the flour-sugar mix over the fruit, sprinkle on lots of
nutmeg, and add the top crust. Sprinkle on a bit more nutmeg,
some cinnamon, and lots of granulated sugar. Bake at 375
for 50-60 minutes or ‘till you can’t stand to
wait any longer… Eat it hot (half an hour out of the
oven is perfect) with some good vanilla or French vanilla