Some of you may be asking…”Why are we making homemade pie crusts when it is so easy to use those store bought things?”

Have you checked the ingredients in those store bought things? Here’s what you’ll find in the name brand, “unroll and fill” pie crusts…

“Bleached flour, partially hydrogenated lard with BHT and BHA (to protect flavor), wheat starch, water, salt, rice flour, xanthum gum, potassium sorbate and sodium propionate (peservatives), citric acid, yellow 5 and red 40.”
 
And they actually call it homemade???!!! Do I hear a collective YUCK?!
Let’s see if we can’t do better…even though it might take 5 minutes more to create a pie.

Now that you know what ingredients you need, it is time for the recipe and a picture tutorial! We’ll be making a single crust pie today.

Gramma’s “Never Fails Four Crust Receipt”

Before beginning get a 2 cup measuring cup and fill it with ice – then with water.  Set aside.

You’ll need a good size mixing bowl and a pastry blender. I have used several kinds of pastry blenders over the years and I think my favorite is from Pampered Chef. You can use whatever works best for you.

You are going to place 4 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour into a mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of pure cane sugar.
Add 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt.
Now, whisk all of your dry ingredients together until well blended. And set the bowl aside.
Measure out 1 3/4 cups unsalted butter or Crisco.
I’m using Crisco today because a bunch of young males (who will remain nameless but reside in my home!) finished off my unsalted butter…on bagels!
They said they thought it tasted funny…..Hhrrmmmpppp!
Put your unsalted butter or Crisco into your dry ingredients and begin blending using your pastry blender.
At first, the combination will be large “chunks”…keep going!
You are looking for small “pea-sized” pellets.  Be sure to scrape the bottom and throw any loose flour back on top…same with the sides!
When you think it looks ready, it is time to get your hands dirty.
You can’t tell if it’s ready till you blend it a bit with your hands.  Just run your hands through, squeezing a bit as you go to blend and make sure everything is well mixed – this should only take 3 or 4 seconds – don’t blend it to death… you’ll make it tough.
Set the flour mixture aside.  Put your egg into a separate mixing bowl.
Add one tablespoon of rice vinegar.
Whisk together. Add only 1/2 cup of your ice water and whisk again.
Add this to your flour mixture stirring just until it’s moist.
Don’t overwork the dough or it will be tough!
Knead lightly right in the bowl for 10 seconds or less to make sure it is thoroughly mixed.
Turn out onto very lightly floured dough board – too much flour and it will be tough!
Form a large ball – cut that ball evenly into quarters.
Pat each quarter into the shape of a ball. Try hard to make them close to the same size.
Wrap each ball with plastic wrap and place into refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.
Anything you aren’t going to use right away, put into the freezer.  I put mine into a zip-lock freezer bag.
I have a note on the bag reminding the boys not to throw the bag away when it is empty – I can reuse it until the zip-lock doesn’t hold anymore. (Wouldn’t Gramma be pleased we are “makin’ do”?!)
While you are waiting for your crust to chill, grease one of those glass pie plates we talked about in my last post.
Flour your dough board and get your dough out of the refrigerator when it is thoroughly chilled.  The secret here is to use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking but not so much that you make the crust tough. The colder the dough the less it will stick!
I flatten the ball with the heel of my hand before I start rolling.
Begin rolling from the center out to the edges in each direction – remember you are making a circle!
Once around the circle and then I flip the dough and do it again – I want this fairly thin and much bigger than my pie plate.
Have a nice big circle?  Good!
Fold that circle in half.
Now do it again.
Looks like a triangle?  Good.
Place that triangle in your pie pan with the point in the middle – it sort of looks like a huge piece of pie!
Gently unfold and fit it to your pie pan – make sure it is laying directly against the glass – not “draped” you don’t want to leave space between the dough and the glass or your crust will shrink!  You should have plenty of “overhang”.
You are going to use that overhang!  Scrunch a bit of it up and pinch it between your fingers to make a pretty edge to your pie….if you are making a single crust pie. I use two hands to “pinch” but no one was home to take pictures. The pinch is between the thumbs and forefingers of both hands.
Do this all round the edge.  At this time, scrunch together any tears and smooth.
Can you see my “patch job” where the crust was torn?  No one will ever know….sssshhhhh!
Even after you have pinched your crust, you will still have overhang.  Let’s cut that off.  You’ll need a sharp knife.
Hold your knife horizontally under the edge of your glass pan.  Move it along the edge letting the glass above guide you and cut off any crust hanging BELOW the edge of the glass pie pan.  As you do this, lightly push the edges back to the glass if they are pulled away. Just a light pat around the pie usually takes care of any problems.
Don’t throw the “leavings” away as Gramma said – I’ll tell you later what she did with them!
Now..what a pretty pie crust!  Take a fork and pierce all over your crust – this will help keep it from bubbling up. Be sure to do the sides!
Slide this beautiful thing into a 450 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes or 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on it till you know how your oven cooks.

 

  It’s done when it has a light golden color!
Just wait till you fill and taste it!  YUMMY!
You can do several things with the dough you cut from the edges. You can form a ball and put it back in the plastic wrap and freeze it. Sometimes, after baking several pies,  I’ll end up with enough to do another crust – or a lattice top.
Gramma used to roll it out, fill it with a thin layer of  her homemade jam, fold it over, brush the edges with egg white and pinch them closed with a fork and bake it! I think they call those pop-tarts now but I’ll guarantee they don’t taste as good as what Gramma made!
Sometimes she would brush it with melted butter, cut it into strips, then sprinkle the strips with cinnamon and sugar!
Sometimes I’ll add a pinch of garlic to the butter and substitute herbs from the garden for the cinnamon and sugar.
Yummy with a salad!
Let me know if you have any questions…and after you make one I really want to hear what you think!
Now…go bake a pie!

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