The Art of Making Pie Crust
Remember always to handle pie crust lightly, as if you are not
really intending to do much with it, not like bread dough where you
lean into it and knead like crazy. You have to sneak up on pastry
crust. your genes are on your side. If the pastry tears while you
are lifting it, just pat the rough edges back together once you have
it in the dish They will stick to each other & no one will ever know
you had a parting of the ways.
To make crust for one 9 inch double crust pie,
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
Stir salt into flour with a fork or your fingers. Cut or rub the
shortening into the flour until your have crumbs/ lumps about the
size of green peas.
Do not mix in too thoroughly, as the flakiness of pie crust depends
on thin layers of fat melting between layers of flour. With a fork
or your finger tips, gently toss the crumbs in the bowl while adding
the water, a dribble at a time. You will eed between 1/4 & 1/2 cup
of cold water. When you have added JUST enough water to let the
crumbs begin to stick together, lightly gather them into a ball. A
touch more water if needed, but don't add so much that the dough
becomes too wet & sticky to handle easily.
Divide the dough in to 2 even pieces. Flour a sheet of waxed paper
or other smooth surface on which to roll out the crust. Be generous.
Pat the dough into a disk on the floured surface, then roll gently
with a floured rolling pin. You will want to roll more or less from
the center out, adding more flour between the dough & the rolling
pin & the dough & the surface, when necessary. Never rock the pin
back & forth. Keep moving the waxed paper a quarter turn or so after
each rolling, so that the crust stays roughly circular. When your
rolled circle is about 1 inch bigger, all around, than the pie pan
you mean to use, gently pick it up & ease it into the pan. If you
are using waxed paper, you can pick the whole thing up, invert it
over the pan and gently peel it off, letting it fall into the pan.
If you have been rolling directly on the table top, let's say, first
fold it lightly in half then fold again into quarters, lift gently &
unfold inside the pie plate. Repeat rolling out the second disk of
dough. Fill the pie, dot with butter, lay the second piece,
centered, over the first, then roll yoour loose edges under and
pinch the edges together all the way around the pie.
Wipe the top of the pie with milk to brown and give it a glossy
surface. Cut steam vents in the top crust -- this is necessary! Bake
at 375 degrees until the crust is golden & the filling is bubbling.
You may need to put a cookie tin under
your pie to catch the extra juice which may boil out.
Proceed as above.
It will take between 45 minutes & an hour for the pie to cook.