Loaves & Dishes
By Jennie Geisler Erie Times-News staff blogger
Follow Jennie Geisler's kitchen adventures on her Loaves & Dishes blog.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: October 14th, 2010
Old and crusty

I love to bake pies. I’ll take any old excuse, as long as I get a piece. Thus, I’m baking them for a retirement party. Yes, retirement parties usually have cake. But someone told me this particular retiree doesn’t much like cake. A perfect excuse if I’ve ever had one.

I’m no expert, but I have a few rules about crust. My husband, a lifelong connoisseur of pies, has expressed satisfaction with my crust, so I don’t screw around too much. I use the recipe that appears on the side of most Crisco cans.

My rules are:

Cold fat (butter or shortening) makes layers of the dough as you roll it out, making it flaky. Warm fat mushes it all together, making it soggy.

Refrigerated butter will work. I prefer Crisco. I measure it out and stick it in the freezer for 15 or 20 minutes.

I use absolutely ice cold water. I put 6 ice cubes in a glass and fill it with water before I start measuring flour.

In 1-tablespoon increments, sprinkle the water on the flour. After each water addition, use a fork to gently toss it with the flour until you can make it into a ball of soft dough.

My pie crust skills do not expand into the realm of visual perfection. When I roll out the crust, it looks like my kid did it. Don’t even ask me about crimping. I do what I can to seal two layers together, but it’ll never be attractive. The pie disappears all the same.

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Comments
4 Responses to “Old and crusty”
  1. Sue says:

    Any good pie recipes (besides an apple )? Our wedding anninversary is soon!

    Also, am interested in trying to win a cookbook as mine were lost in the flooded basement last June!

  2. Melissa says:

    I remember the first time I made pie crust…I kneaded the dough like bread dough…needless to say we ate the filling and not the crust. My husband and I still laugh about it.

    I like using Crisco too! I’ve never chilled it before using it for pie crust–may have to try that. The trick to a good pie crust is to not overwork the dough.

  3. Beverly says:

    I used to make homemade pies & love it. I’ve since grown accustomed to purchasing them at the holidays but I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like a homemade pie is there? I do miss the taste & wonderful flavors of a flaky pie crust but I’ve been able to find some small, local diners that will help me out for the holidays now. As much as I miss my own, I will confess there’s so much work involved & I can’t stand that long to bake that much since my cancer. But I will say, you are so correct in colder makes better with the butter/crisco! It’s a proven fact that this is what makes the crusts flakier indeed!

  4. My mother was a great piebaker, too–a bushel of Northern Spies from Erickson’s in Girard—and a family weekend making pies!!! And your previous commenter is absolutely correct—there is nothing in the world like homemade pie.

    Try painting the rim of your lower crust with egg white (there’s usualy enough left in the shell after you use the egg for something else) then put your upper crust on and pinch it with your fingers or mash it with fork tines–

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