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.