Friday, March 26, 2010

Fool Proof Pie Crust

I've been wanting to share this recipe for awhile, and with Easter coming up, I thought it would be the perfect time. I love to make pie, but it has taken me years to find the perfect crust recipe. I have tried several methods, but most seem either hard to roll out, or are not light and flaky. Since I married into a pie baking family, and my pie is constantly being compared to my mother in laws. I am always feeling the pressure. If you don't believe me, last Thanksgiving more time was put into planning the pie menu than the actual dinner. We ended up with twenty seven pies between my mother in law, sister in law, and myself (there were more pies present than guests). Anyway, this crust is easy to mix together, and fairly forgiving. The best part is that is rolls out like a dream, and is light and flaky.

Fool Proof Pie Crust

4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup shortening
3/4 cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 large egg
1/2 cup ice water ( I place several ice cubes in a glass of water and let it sit. When I'm ready for the ice water I remove the ice cubes and measure out 1/2 cup)

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Cut butter and shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, your fingers, or if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer use the paddle attachment until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. In a separate bowl whisk together egg, vinegar, and ice water. Mix into the flour mixture until just combined. Gently press together to form a dough. Divide into four equal parts and form into balls. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let chill for at least an hour. Roll out and place into greased pie plate. Follow pie recipe for baking instructions.

It also freezes well. When ever I make a batch I double or triple it. There are several ways you can freeze uncooked pie crust.

1. Divide the extra into individual portions. Shape into a ball. Wrap them tightly in wax paper and freeze them. When the pie crust is frozen I place them all in a gallon freezer bag for extra protection. When you are ready to use them let the frozen balls of dough thaw out on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Roll them out while they are still cold, but not frozen. Place in a greased pie plate.

2. You an also save yourself time later and roll the crust out between layers of wax paper. Freeze them between the layers of wax paper flat on a cookie sheet (you can stack them two high). When they are frozen slide the frozen sheets into a gallon freezer bag. Just thaw out and place in a greased pie plate.

3. I have also bought aluminum pie plates at the Dollar Store. Roll the crust out and placed them in the greased pie plates. Freeze them. Wrap them well with plastic wrap after they are frozen and stack them in the freezer. Just thaw out and fill when you are ready to use.
Pie crust will stay good in the freezer for six months.

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