the appetizer:

The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, winner of several major cookbook awards, presents recipes ranging from the electic, like Francisco's Tractor-Disk Wok Venison, to down-home favorites like Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie.

Cookbook Profile

Sweet Pie Crust

Makes 1 pie shell or 1 top (for a double-crust pie)
Time: 1 hour to chill, 5-8 minutes to prepare, 25 minutes to bake

This pie crust works well for all kinds of dessert pies. The trick to getting it to bake up nice and flaky is to chill all your ingredients ahead of time in the bowl you're going to be working in. If it's really warm out, we even put our rolling pin in the freezer while the ingredients are chilling. Although some people like to use cake flour in their pie crusts, we like the flavor of all-purpose better.

1. Sift the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the pieces of lard and butter over them and place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Dust your work surface with flour. If prebaking, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut the lard and butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with a scattering of pea-sized pieces throughout. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork to combine after each addition, until the pastry holds together when pinched (you may not use all the ice water).

3. Gather the pastry together into a round disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until ready to use.

4. With a floured pin, roll out the dough on the floured surface to a 12-inch round. To make a pie shell, transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Fold any excess dough that hangs below the rim of the pan on top of the rim so you have enough material to crimp. Cut off any egregious excess and use it to patch any holes or tears. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before filling or prebaking.

5. To prebake the crust for Sorghum Pecan Pie (page 449 of the book) or Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the dough and carefully scatter pie weights, dried beans, or pennies in the pan. Bake on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and the foil, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes more, or until the bottom of the crust appears dry.

Note: To make the top of a double-crust pie such as Grape Hull Pie (page 454 of the book), simply slide a baking sheet under the 12-inch round and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until ready to use.

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This page created June 2007