THE JOY (AND FRUSTRATION) OF MAKING PIE CRUST

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year!  I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions but I always have a few things on my mind that I would like to accomplish or achieve.  And for a long while, pie crust has been on my mind.

I love to cook and bake and most of the time I am quite pleased with my creations, except for pie crust.  I have spent countless hours researching the art of making pie crust.  I have read and studied just about every recipe I could find online and in print.  I guess I was hoping that being well-informed about making pie crust would mean that all I needed to do is mix all the ingredients together and poof like magic, I would make the perfect pie crust.  Not so, my friends!

I have to admit that I have not tried to make pie crust more than a few times.  Now I understand completely why I read so many times in my research that “practice makes perfect” when it comes to pie crust.  But as my family and friends will tell you, I am not the most patient person!  The first time I tried, the dough was as sticky as super glue.  It stuck to my hands, it stuck to the counter, it stuck to the rolling pin.  Flour could not break the hold that it had.  The second time I tried, using a different recipe, the dough was kind of like dried Play Doh, very crumbly and not sticking to anything.  I felt defeated by pie crust and did not have the patience to try again.

My determination to conquer pie crust was renewed at Christmas when I opened my gifts.  I love to get baking and cooking items and I received several from my children, including a beautiful Pampered Chef baking dish (perfect for a pie) and a cookbook from Country Living, “the little book of Pies & Tarts”.   On New Year’s Day, I decided to try again.  Would the third time be a charm?

pie2

Success!  A beautiful and very tasty apple pie!

Here is the recipes:

Grandma’s Pie Dough

4 cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 ¾ cups (3 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 large egg

½ cup ice water

1.         Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter using a pastry   blender, 2 knives, or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

2.         Whisk the vinegar, egg, and ice water together and mix the liquid into the flour mixture    with your hands until just combined.  Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and gently press to form a mass.

3.         Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.  Shape each into a disk and wrap it in plastic.  Chill   for at least 1 hour or freeze extras for up to 3 months.

FARMHOUSE APPLE PIE

½ recipe (2 disks) Grandma’s Pie Dough

2 ½ pounds mixed apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into ¾-inch pieces

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1.         Preheat the oven to 375°F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the disks of dough into          rounds about ⅛ inch thick; transfer one to a 9-inch pie pan.  Place remaining dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; keep both dough pieces chilled.

2.         Toss the apples, flour, ¾ cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and lemon juice together and mix until combined.  Pour the apple mixture into the prepared pie pan and place the top dough round over it.  Trim the edges of the dough, leaving a ½-inch overhang; fold that under and crimp the edges.  Sprinkle the top of the pie with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar; chill for 10 minutes.

3.         Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden brown – 50 to 55 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

pie1Now I must admit, the pie crust was not perfect.  I need to work on rolling the crust to make it more consistent.  Some areas were a bit thick.  And I need to work on the crimping of the edge.  But all in all, I am quite happy with this pie and this wonderful pie crust recipe!  My husband Murray, whose mother was the greatest cook ever and made spectacular, perfect pies and pie crust, said that my pie “was not bad”.  That’s all the encouragement I need!

Happy baking!!!

Thanks for stopping by and please visit again.

Pat, Kathi, and Carla

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