Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scratch PIE CRUST - OLD SCHOOL - EASY DIY plus BLIND BAKING TIPS - 52 Cakes and Pies at Home

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Old School baby!!!

And what could be more old school than hunting down my Mother-in-Law, veteran baker from the golden years of the 40's and 50's (she turns 80 this year).  She raised her own three children but she is also a small town girl from a HUGE extended family.  She remembers baking the pies for the family gatherings including over 100 cousins.

She knows pies.

I have updated this a bit with a food processor.  Mother Marie uses a pastry blender to "cut" in the shortening to make the crumbles of flour shown in the third photo.  But I am ahead of myself.

In this day and age, the question must be asked, Why make a pie shell from scratch?

It may sound odd, but it is just easier to have this skill at your fingertips than to depend on the freezer section.  All of the ingredients are in most people's kitchen all the time, making pie at your fingertips instead of needing a trip to the store.

Once you go the Old School DIY method and have it down pat, you will notice an industrial bland taste.  This recipe is easily adapted to add new flavors and textures.  Such as adding almond meal in place of some of the flour... But that's a post for another day.

A few terms...

Blind Baking is to bake a pie shell without a filling.  You will need this to fill with cream and custard pies that do not need to be baked.  Pies such as a Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, etc.

This is as opposed to a "raw" pie shell that is then filled and baked... Pumpkin Pie would be the best example that everyone knows about.

This "Old School" DIY Scratch recipe works for both types of pies. Most recently for my Christmas dinner I made a Coconut Cream pie (that will be my next post) which needed this blind baking technique.  I also made a Sweet Potato Pie, which needed to be baked along with the filling.

The recipe does give you enough to make 2 pie crusts.  Great if making two pies but also these freeze just fine.

There is a step in the recipe where you chill the dough for an hour.  if you plan on freezing one, just wrap tightly in cling wrap and move the disc to the freezer.  Be sure to date the package ad use within 2 months (never a problem for me).

So, thanks Mother Marie... You made me a pie baker!

Here's my two pies... the one on the right is the Coconut Cream without any whipped cream topping.  This was "Blind Baked" and then filled.  The one on the left is that Sweet potato Pie... The shell was filled and then baked along with the filling.

Easy Peasy, versatile and old school flakey!

OK... Here's what I did...

My Mother-in-Law's Lard/Shortening Crust recipe

  • Makes 2 pie crust, or one to freeze for later and one to cut into 6 tart size
  • 3 Cups AP Flour
  • 1 Cup Lard (COLD from Refrigerator) ... Can substitute Shortening
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp White Vinegar
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix Flour, Lard and Salt until crumbly
  2. Add water, egg and vinegar and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX as this will make the crust dense and tough, not flaky.
  3. Divide into two equal parts, flatten into disc shapes and wrap with cling wrap.
  4. refrigerate for an hour (or at this stage, freeze.thaw completely before using)
  5. Roll out chilled dough and use as you will in the recipe of your choice!!!... 
  6. TIP - Easiest to roll out between two sheets of Saran Wrap, Flip onto the pie plate (this is the hardest part, but as all skills once mastered, will be no problem).
  7. TIP - If blind baking, using a fork, pierce several holes in the bottom of the crust to prevent the bottom from bubbling up as shown in the photos.  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until crust begins to bake to a golden brown.
  8. Make your pie and ENJOY... Nothing beats scratch made pies!!!


This simple recipe has been added to my growing list of "52 Cakes and Pies at Home"!

These are the desserts you make for your family.  No fancy amazing wedding cakes, just the rustic beauty of the classics.  From pumpkin pie to cheesecakes to layer cakes, these are what your family craves for dessert.  You may even see a few unusual crusts and frosting ideas to try.

You get the idea. These recipes are simple, delicious and will have your family wanting dessert first...


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