Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cooking with Missy: Basic Pie shell

Any good southern cook has this recipe memorized. You can use it in so many ways, with a fruit filling fresh from the garden to the standard family favorite of Chicken pot pie.

My grandmother taught me how to make the best crust with the flakiest lightest texture ever. The real trick to keeping your crust perfect is not over working the flour and using very cold ingredients. Chill your water in the freezer before you make this and it will turn out perfect every time. If the dough starts to get too warm, put the whole bowl in the fridge for a few minutes and then go back to rlling it out and cooking it.

Basic Pie shell recipe

•1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening, or combination of shortening and butter, chilled
•3 tablespoons ice water


Sift together the flour and salt; sift again. Cut in the shortening or lard with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add ice water a tablespoon at a time (approximately 3 tablespoons in all), stirring the dough around the bowl with a fork. As soon as it is moist enough to gather into a ball, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Handle the dough as little as possible. Roll half of the pastry dough out on a floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness. The pastry should be about 1 1/2 inches larger than the the pie plate. Repeat with the other half of dough for a double crust pie, or freeze the remaining dough for a future pie. Makes enough for a double crust for a 9- or 10-inch pie, or two single crusts.
If recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, prick the pie shell with a fork and bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 3 minutes; remove from the oven and prick some more if the crust is puffing up. Return to the oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Place on a wire rack to cool, then fill as recipe directs.

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