the appetizer:

Sweety Pies by Patty Pinner, dispenses down-home wisdom with recipes like Flaky Pie Crust; Caramel Tin Roof Pie; and Miss Oleda Halliburton's Easy Pear Pie on a Baking Sheet.

I Love Desserts

Flaky Pie Crust

The glory of a good pie isn't established solely by the thick, sugary juices that bubble up to the top; the magnificence of a good pie has as much to do with the taste and the texture of the crust as it has to do with the filling.

My mother taught me how to make pie crusts. She used to say, "A woman doesn't have to be a gourmet cook to set a nice table. But there are certain things that every woman who considers herself a decent cook ought to know how to do well; making a crust from scratch is one of them."

This recipe is easy and produces a crust you will be proud to serve.

9- or 10-inch Single Crust
9-inch Double Crust
or 9-inch Deep-Dish Single Crust
9-inch Deep-Dish Double Crust
or 10-inch Double Crust
9 x 13-inch Double Crust

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium-size to large bowl. Using a pastry blender, a big serving fork, or the tips of your fingers, cut in or pinch or squeeze the shortening until the mixture resembles a bowl of sweet peas. Tossing the mixture quickly and lightly with a fork, sprinkle in the cream or milk 1 tablespoon at a time. (It's better to err on the side of not having enough liquid than to have too much; you don't want a soupy crust.) Continue tossing until the dough holds together when lightly pressed.

With lightly floured hands, loosely gather up the dough into a flat ball, place it in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until you are ready to roll out the crust. I try to chill at least 30 minutes but not too much longer than overnight.

Gather together your pie dish, rolling pin, flour canister, flour sifter, and a small, sharp knife. Prepare a clean surface for rolling out the dough. Sift enough flour over the surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Lightly flour your hands and the rolling pin. Place the chilled dough on the surface. If you are making a double-crust pie, divide the dough into two balls, one ball (it will be used as the bottom crust) slightly larger than the other (top crust). Keep the top crust covered and refrigerated while you roll out the bottom crust. Press it into a small, flat disk. Using the rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle, working from the center to the edges. Starting at the center, roll straight up to the edge, turn the dough slightly, and roll straight up to the edge. Repeat the process—turning the dough and rolling—until the dough has formed a circle that's slightly larger than the pan. (Make a 12-inch circle for a 9-inch pan, or a 13-inch circle for a 10-inch pan, or a 12 x 16-inch rectangle for a 9 x 13-inch pan.) Be careful to keep the dough as even as you can, about ^ to Vs inch thick.

Place the pie plate upside down on top of the rolled-out dough. Using a small knife, cut a circle around the plate, leaving a 1-inch border of dough around the plate. Set aside the scraps. Remove the pie plate. Gently fold the crust in half. Now, fold the crust into quarters. Gently pick up the crust and place it in the pie plate so the center point of the crust is positioned in the center of the plate. Unfold the dough and press it firmly into position in the plate. Trim all excess dough from the edge, except for a 1/2-inch flap of dough around the edge.

If you are making a single crust pie, crimp the edge first, then fill with the pie filling. If you are making a double-crust pie, fill the pie, then roll out the second crust the same way you rolled the bottom crust. Cut the top crust so it extends beyond that of the bottom crust. (Cut an 11-inch circle for a 9-inch pie, a 13-inch circle for a 10-inch pie, and a 10 x 14-inch rectangle for a 9 x 13-inch pie.) Place the top crust on top of the filled pie. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold the top flap of dough under the edge of the bottom crust, until the edges are even with the rim of the pan. Using the tines of a fork, flatten the hem evenly against the rim of the pie plate, moving completely around the pie. To prevent sticking, dip the fork in flour, if needed. Cut a few slits on top of the crust to let out the steam, then bake as directed in your particular recipe.


Prebaking a Pie Crust

To partially bake an empty single pie crust, you need to line your pie plate with the crust. Flute the edges of the crust, refrigerate it for 30 minutes, then take it from the refrigerator and line it with parchment or waxed paper. Place pie weights or dried beans on top of the paper so the dough doesn't puff up and rise out of the plate as it bakes. Set the crust in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake until the top edges start to turn light brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and remove the paper and pie weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, return the crust back in the oven, and bake until the crust just starts to turn golden brown, another 5 minutes. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

To fully bake the crust, leave it in the oven an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until fully golden brown. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.


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This page created November 2007