The Pie Project

Well, I guess I’m joining the blogging universe!  This blog has been two years in the making, and I wish I could say that something other than a rainy, out-of-the-blue day off was the reason I finally started it, but better late than never!

I’m a very lucky girl for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is a fabulous family recipe for pie crust.  My dad’s mom taught him, and he taught me.  There’s nothing so rewarding as cooking something for yourself that people often buy.  As I told my mom on the phone recently, it “just makes you feel so legit!”  I’m working up to breads and cheese and homemade goods like that slowly, but those are a little more daunting, so for now I’ll stick to pie crusts (somehow I don’t think anybody will mind too much)!  Two years ago, I decided I was going to make my summer the “Summer of Pies.”  I made a pie every week for three months straight, and by the end of it I had pie crusts down pat.  But I also felt connected to my dad’s mom in a way that I never have before.  She passed away when I was very young, and using her pie recipes all summer made me feel like a part of her was there with me.  This pie crust recipe is probably one of the more emotional food memories I have, so I can’t think of a better way to kick off this new adventure than this.  I hope some of you will be able to use this recipe to make memories with your families too!

Clearly I'm still working on my lattice-top skills-- those are the roll-ups at the top of the photo there.  Apple Pie Recipe to follow soon!

Clearly I’m still working on my lattice-top skills– those are the roll-ups at the top of the photo there. Apple Pie Recipe to follow soon!

Connie’s Pie Crust

Makes 1 pie crust (if you’re making two, I find it’s easier to make them one at a time–two crusts is a lot of dough to manage at one time)

Sift together:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking powder

Cut 1 c. minus 2 T. of Crisco into flour mixture, then cut in 4-5 T. of COLD water.  You could use a fork for this I suppose, but I’m in love with my pastry blender.  It makes it so easy!

HINTS: Use as little water as possible (so put in 4 T. and add a 5th only if it seems too dry), and handle as little as possible!

You’re looking for coarse crumbs, so once you’ve cut the water in, pack the dough into a loose-ish ball and plunk it onto a floured rolling surface (I use a pie board– you could use your countertop, but transferring the crust will be a LOT easier if you use a surface you can pick up).  It’ll be messy, and there will be floury bits all over, but that’s good!  Too much water/handling is what kills the flakiness you’re going for.  Roll it out and place your pie plate upside down over the crust.  Cut around the plate, leaving about an inch extra so you can crimp the crust and make it pretty.  Loosen the crust (I use an icing spatula for this, it’s nice and long and flat) and flip the pie board while holding the pie plate in place, so the crust will transfer to the plate.  Tuck the crust into the pie plate and trim any excess crust, then crimp the edges.

Bonus Recipe!  If you’re anything like me and my dad, you won’t want to let your excess crust go to waste.  Roll out any leftover crust and sprinkle on a mix of cinnamon and sugar.  Cut the crust into short strips and roll it up.  Pop the roll-ups in the oven with your pie and keep an eye on ’em until they’re a light-golden brown.  YUM.

My copy of this recipe reads, “This is the holy grail of crust recipes– don’t lose it!” at the end.  Just sayin…

Pie crusts have a reputation for being hard and finnicky, but I promise this recipe isn’t too tough!  And hey, practice makes perfect…I’m sure your friends and family won’t mind too much if you make them your pie crust guinea pigs!

I’ll post some pie recipes soon so you can fill those crusts!  But don’t limit yourself to just pies with this recipe– I use this crust for quiches and tarts too, and it works just as well with savory fillings as it does sweet.