Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's All in the Wrist

I make my own pie crusts.

I don't state this to lord it over anyone who buys pre-packaged pie crusts from the grocery or saves themselves several hours altogether and buys pies from the Village Inn or the frozen aisle selection of Marie Callendar's.

It's just...baking pies? It's what I do1.

Other people craft, sew, knit, rear children, cook gourmet dishes, volunteer, obsess over makeup and fashion. Me? I don't do any of those things. Instead, I bake.

A lot.

There's something about baking - when you've discovered the few easy secrets you need to do it well - that's a zen thing. There is something particularly satisfying about baking up a sweet treat filled to the brim with love and giving it to someone who needs a reminder of what love means. There is a certain satisfaction about knowing I've created something completely from scratch that will fill even the most finicky of sweet eaters with glee.

So...I bake.

I don't post recipes here - with the exception of the triple chocolate boomchunka recipe and that's only because the website upon which I discovered it disappeared and I didn't ever want to lose it again. Baking isn't really what I'm about day to day. I also don't want to feel limited to only posting about baking when 97% of my energy is dedicated to other endeavors.

But, tonight, as I sit waiting for the last pie for tomorrow's feast to finish baking, I thought I'd share with you the world's most fail-proof pie crust recipe known to man.

How do I know it's the world's most fail-proof?

Because I've used it now for the last 5 years and have never once had a failed crust no matter how many times I had to re-roll it out nor how much extra flour got mixed in with said re-rolling. I have no recollection where I found the recipe. It could have been anywhere at this point so, if it's yours, please do let me know and I'll ensure you are credited with such an amazingly simple, easy, delectable recipe!

The Best Pie Crust EVER!

*  1 3/4 cup butter-flavored Crisco (I'm unashamed to admit I use Crisco in my baking)
*  4 cups all-purpose flour
*  3 tablespoons white sugar
*  2 teaspoons salt
*  1 egg
*  1/2 cup water

1) In a large bowl, cut the Crisco into the flour, sugar, and salt with a pastry cutter until crumbly.

2) Mix the egg and water in a small bowl and then gradually cut into the flour mixture until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

3) Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 2 or 3 9" pie crusts depending on how thick you like your crusts (I like mine really thick...mostly because I'm relatively lazy).

I typically prepare my dough 24 hours in advance of use. I've discovered it is much MUCH easier to roll out if the dough has had plenty of time to chill. Also, if you're like me and it takes you 2 or 3 tries to get it right? Put the dough back in the refrigerator for a few minutes while you take a moment to compose yourself after the first disastrous run. Have a glass of wine. It'll help (both the wine and the refrigeration) when you tackle it again.

I promise. Rolling out the pie crust is the worst part. I also promise this recipe is worth the effort. No, really. I promise.

Tomorrow will be the 4th Annual Grotto Thanksgiving whereby a dozen (or more...I likely won't have a final head count until supper's on the table...that's how my friends roll) people will descend the stairs and fill my house with a lot of laughter, a lot of wine, and a lot of fun.

I also know that tomorrow, no matter what happens to the rest of the food, there will be fantastic pie and lots of it (pumpkin, pecan without corn syrup, and blueberry) with fresh whipped cream...because that canned or frozen stuff is a "no" in my book too.

1: I nearly went into business making pies for a living. That fell through due to no fault of my pies.


Masked Mom said...

I am a pretty fearless cook in almost every respect--but pie crust has always intimidated the crap out of me. Between the pep talk and the recipe, I may just work my way up to giving a shot for Christmas.

(PS--I gave you the Liebster Blog Award. You can read about here:

Elizabeth said...

I don't bake a lot, but when I do I enjoy it. There is something "zen" to it.

Unknown said...

My mother used butter-flavored Crisco in her pie crust recipe. I balked a bit when I learned of this last summer, but know that you're in good company.

Livvy U. said...

The hilarious thing is, being English and not American, I haven't the faintest idea what Crisco is!!

Unknown said...

Jane makes her own pie crust? I knew we were soul sisters. Crisco is imperative. Pie crust intimidates so many people, doesn't it? But a hobby that one can eat is my kind of hobby.

I used to bake in a restaurant and even made wedding cakes (pre-fondant icing era). But this crazy teaching career has pushed baking into the background. As well as I was doing a little too much quality-control sampling.

Hope you get to open that pie shop one day. I'll open the soup shop next door. We would make the world a better place! :-)