Whoever first said “easy as pie” was a liar.
And all of us who have repeated it over the years are just as bad.
Pie Ain’t Easy!!!
Sometimes, the pie fairy hovers over your shoulders and all goes quite well.
Most of the time, the fickle little guy is hurrying off somewhere else and your pie dough falls apart, or is too tacky you add too much flour and it becomes doughy.
However, I have finally found some small success in making pies and I’d like to pass it on.
First of all- if a recipe says knead gently, THROW it away!
I bake bread, you cannot knead gently. And you cannot knead pastry AT ALL!
In fact , don’t even use a spoon, use a fork.
Second, always use ice cold water. As in –put ice cubes in your water.
Third- ask around for a recipe that is almost fool proof.
(Not that there is such a thing, but some recipes are
better harder to mess up than others.)
Fourth- use pastry flour if you can find it. It’s a softer flour and allows for a much flakier crust.
And lastly- pray. I do not say this lightly. I have been baking professionally, off and on for the last 30 years. and I very rarely bake anything that I don’t pray over. (My niece’s son is just learning this verse- I Thessalonians 5:17- only he learned it – pray without seasick- LOL!) But if you are praying without ceasing I find it easier to pray over whatever you are doing. For me it has been a preponderance of baking. So I think you SHOULD pray when you bake- don’t question- just do it!
Here are two recipes that are almost foolproof. One is from a MS cookbook that Allyson always makes, and it contains lots of butter.
Double crust pie dough
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice cold water
Cut butter into flour and salt mixture with a pastry blender, until the butter is in very small pieces and incorporated with flour. Add ice water and mix gently with fork. Push together into 2 disks and refrigerate after wrapping in plastic wrap.
Don’t worry if you don’t pick up all the flour. DO NOT knead it to pick up the rest of the flour.
The next recipe I got from a lady at church many years ago.
Funny thing- I forgot about it until I read the same recipe here in reference to church ladies! But then I looked it up and use it when I’m making pot pies or quiche- I like it better with heavier ingredients.
Pie Crust- vinegar recipe
4 cups flour
1 3/4 cup shortening
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp salt
1 TBS vinegar
1/2 cup ice cold water
Basically, you just do the same stuff you did for the first recipe, except you add the egg and vinegar to the water and then mix gently with fork.
( If you went to the link, you will have noticed by now that she says to knead it a little- don’t listen to her- this is MY recipe from a lady at church, and you shouldn’t knead it. Not even a little.)
After you have refrigerated it for about an hour. Take out one piece and flour your surface like a blizzard. Then rub flour all over your pin and roll the dough to the outside. Never roll inwards- it is really confusing and will give your pie wrinkles.
Next make sure the dough is about 2 inches larger all around than your pie plate. Then fold the dough- gently into fourths- and place it into the plate and unfold it to fit. If it tears, you can piece it back together-
PRAY that it doesn’t tear!
Crimp around the edges and fill.
I had some frozen quiche filling,
so I added egg and half and half and swiss cheese and made a quiche with the vinegar pie dough.
Here is a neat trick I just figured out with foil to keep the edges from getting too brown. I had been making a crust guard with foil- fitting strips around the edges and slightly crimping them to keep the foil from falling off.
BUT, if you use just a square of foil-
torn slightly in the center-
and keep tearing the foil-
from the center outwards, it is a lot easier and works just fine!
You already knew that, didn’t you?
Here is the quiche and a pumpkin pie I made with the butter dough.
So- that’s my story about pie dough and the many trials and failures I’ve had.
And that, my friends, is the truth.
And it wasn’t easy either.