Hello all! While math has certainly never been my favorite subject, I can get behind any celebration of flaky deliciousness filled with sugary happiness.
So for pi day, I thought I would share my recipe for pie crust. It’s super easy and as the name implies, it never fails. Seriously, it is tough to mess this up. Personally, I really think that homemade pie crust is always better than Pilsbury. Also homemade pie crust is really cheap because you probably have everything laying around already, unless you aren’t a proper Southern lady and don’t have Crisco in your pantry.
As you can see, I didn’t actually make a pie, per se, but a cobbler. This one is cherry, my personal favorite. This post is really about the crust, but I will insert a quick note on how I made the filling for this particular cobbler: (If you must buy canned pie filling, I understand, but this is way yummier and not difficult) Get two or three cans of tart pitted cherries in water (I used Oregon brand). Drain a little of the liquid (not all!!) and pour everything into a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup of sugar per can of cherries and a dash of cinnamon. Bring to a boil then simmer until a little thickened (while you are making the crust). Taste as you go to make sure it is sweet enough for your taste.
On to the crust!!
Never-Fail Pie Crust
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup shortening (butter flavor is best)
6-9 T cold water (depending on egg size)
1 tsp. white vinegar
To make sure your water is cold enough fill a small cup and put in a few ice cubes. Measure from this later.
Mix flour and salt. Cut shortening into small chunks and add to flour mixture.
Using a fork or pastry blender, work the shortening in to the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg, cold water and vinegar. Start with 6 tablespoons of water. If you are using a small egg, add another.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and get stirring. It will take some elbow grease, but don’t overwork it.
Overworking the dough is what makes crust tough. You may find that mixing with your hands works best.
You can add another tablespoon of water if the dough is crumbly.
It is done when it looks like the picture to the left.
Next is the rolling. Prepare your surface with a thin layer of flour and rub some flour on your rolling pin as well. Keep the flour canister handy. Divide your dough depending on what shape your finished pie or cobbler will be. For a cobbler like mine, divide 30%/60%, for a round pie, divide 50%/50%. Roll into the appropriate shape, keeping it at least 1/4 inch thick. If it tears, just press it back together.
So how the heck do I get it off the counter and into the baking dish? Dust the top with flour, then gently fold the crust in half. Repeat. Place the quartered crust into the dish and gently unfold. Fix any tears. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look beautiful. Just tell people you wanted a “rustic look” and shove some pie in their mouth and I promise they won’t care.
Now the next step depends on your filling of choice. For fruit or nut pies, you put the filling into an unbaked crust. Custard-filled pies like chocolate or coconut require the crust to be baked prior to filling. If you are pre-baking, prick the surface a bunch of times with a fork before sticking in the oven. If you are filling with juicy fruit filling, brush butter all over the bottom before filling. The fat creates a barrier to keep the fruit juices from soaking into the bottom crust and make it soggy.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Take that, Betty Crocker :)