So we had our friends Wayne and Margaret over for dinner last night and I decided to make a pecan pie (Mrs. Fowler’s recipe, of course – in an earlier post) for dessert, since I didn’t make one for Thanksgiving.
Margaret is a terrific, accomplished baker – she makes the greatest sticky buns and coconut cakes. But I’m telling you, make a pie from scratch and everyone loves you. First thing they said when they walked in the kitchen – “oh you made a pie!!”
As I was cutting the pie into eighths, after I had served the guys, Margaret puts her hand on mine (I didn’t know if this was going to be sexy or not – just kidding) and says, “Now cut this half in thirds.” I was floored and delighted that tiny Margaret wanted a bigger piece! While eating, she then proceeded to give me her mother’s secret for her pie crust and then asked to take another piece home! I loved it!
I used the recipe from my mother for my crust. Everyone thinks making a pie crust is a super big deal. It isn’t. You need to practice a little, follow instructions closely – this is baking – so it’s different from cooking as it’s much more exacting. But boy, do it, and everyone loves you!
We brought the two pieces home tonight (Steve had another piece before breakfast) and Zach was like, “Oh you made a pie!!!”
Here’s the recipe and hopefully some helpful photos.
BASIC PIE CRUST for Two 9” Single Crusts (cut in half for one bottom crust)
2 cups flour
1 scant tsp. salt
2/3 cup of Crisco or unsalted butter, cut into very small chunks
6 or less Tbs. ice water
Whisk together flour and salt. Cut in Crisco or butter until it forms “peas, “ using a fork or two knives or a pastry thingy. Sprinkle on ice water a tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly with a fork, or even better, with your hands, combining everything well after each addition. Press dough together and form 2 flattened rounds. Wrap each round in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or two. Roll out quickly and lightly on a floured pastry cloth or floured board and then fold into thirds and place and shape into pie pan, fluting the edges as shown. Refrigerate overnight for a flakier crust, if you have time, or even for a couple of hours.
Line crust with parchment paper and fill with dried peas or beans. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Carefully remove parchment filled with peas. Let cool for 15 minutes before filling. You’re a hero – you just made a crust from scratch!
Now Margaret says to take out 1/4 cup of the flour-salt mixture and mix it with 1/4 cup of ice water to make a slurry and then add that back in gradually to everything. I will try this the next time and see. Margaret has this German heritage and you know they know everything about making great pastries!