I kind of feel like I’m giving away the farm here, but a friend asked for my pie crust recipe. I am never one to deny anyone pie.
My recipe has been handed down from my grandmother. She hand wrote it for me on an index card, and it’s probably one of my most cherished cooking items. There’s something spiritually nourishing about seeing this visual link to the generations of women in my family. If you look at the picture, you’ll also notice how much I have elaborated on what’s in the original recipe. I love that Nana wrote it knowing that I already knew all the basics because I’d watched her and Mom do it a million times.
The great part of this recipe, in addition to how super simple it is, is that it’ll make a top and bottom for one pie or two bottoms. You can freeze the dough if you don't need all of it and just defrost it in the fridge for next time. This makes it really flexible. I’ve used it for dessert pies, turnovers, quiches, and savory pies. It’ll also make enough crust to fit my deep dish, 9-inch Pamper Chef stoneware pie plate, which is an accomplishment all in itself.
One last note: I know I was talking all about whole foods last time. I totally use butter-flavored Crisco to make my pie crusts. It is not a whole food. But it does taste good. You can use butter if you prefer.
2 ¼ c all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 to 3/4 c shortening
8-10 tbs ice water
Preheat the oven to 425.
Fill a small bowl with ice and cold water. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut the shortening in with a pastry blender or two butter knives. You want coarse crumbles throughout the flour. Add the water a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing the dough with a fork. Keep adding water until the dough forms a ball. Be careful not to make it too sticky. If it does get a little wet, just sprinkle with some flour.
On a floured countertop, knead the dough until it’s smooth and flexible. Divide the dough in two. Roll out using a floured rolling pin. Another trick: when you think that you’re crust is big, turn your pie plate upside down and use it as a guide to see if the crust is a bit bigger than the pie plate. You want a little overflow to help make the yummy edges.
When the crust is big enough, roll it back onto the rolling pin like you’re rolling up wrapping paper. This will allow you to roll the crust off the pin and onto the pie plate without any muss or fuss. Press the crust into the pie plate. If you just need to bottom, you can roll up any excess at the top and flute the edges. If you’re doing top and bottom, wait to flute until the top goes on.
If you’re baking the crust for a one-crust pie like a chocolate cream pie, either pierce some small holes with your fork in the bottom and sides or place aluminum foil inside the crust and fill it with uncooked, dry beans. If you skip this step the crust will puff up when you cook it. Bake for 10-12 minutes.