A few nights ago, I made a crust that was, Charlie agrees, pretty darn good. Here are some small and simple things I do differently than I did when I made my first one, and I believe they make a big difference.
First, the recipe:
Single Pie Crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup shortening*
- ice water
So, first, the sugar makes the crust tender instead of tough. Second, the colder the water is, the better. Third, mix all the dry ingredients and then add the shortening, and stir it with a fork until all the flour is incorporated with the shortening, but don't mix it into a paste; you want little lumps of shortening in it. Now, add a couple of tablespoons of the ice water and stir a few times. If the pastry doesn't seem to be holding together, add another tablespoon or so of water and stir another few times. This is kind of tricky, because you want the pastry to hold together but not be wet. You want to mix it, but not to break up those little lumps of shortening.
Now, dust a board with flour and roll out the pastry. Start in the middle and roll it toward the edge, turning it so you can roll it from the middle out to all edges. Carefully pick it up and put it in the pie pan. Work with it as little as possible, and run cold water on your hands if you need to to keep those little shortening lumps from melting while you work it. Cut off the bits that hang off the pie pan's rim, and crimp or do whatever fancy thing to the edge you want to. Or leave it plain; it eats just the same.
NOW, put the crust into the refrigerator to chill before you bake it, or before you fill it and bake it.
I baked it at 450 for between 5 and 10 minutes. When it started to bubble up, I took it out, poured in the filling, and baked it until the filling was done.
It was crisp, light, and done on the bottom, just the way Charlie and I like it. Not big fans of soggy pie crust.
On my blog tomorrow, I'll talk about what I filled it with.
Marian Allen, Author Lady
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