Alex's Recipes


Dave's Killer Pie Crust


Just found your Recipes section. How about this one, for those who are piecrust-challenged?


It is simply not possible to write an exact recipe, which by following it to the letter you can make a killer pie crust. There are simply too many variables. You need to see it done, you need to get your own hands in it to see what it’s supposed to feel like, and, most importantly, you must be willing to practice at it enough to get the feel of it yourself. When you do, you’ll be amazed at how simple and easy it really is!




7/8 Cup Crisco (1 cube minus about 1/2")
1 Teaspoon Salt (2 teaspoons for apple pie crust)
2 Cups Sifted Gold Medal All-purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Ice Water (don’t use it all)


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 possible.

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.


Further Notes:

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 ice cream.






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