Pie Crusts 101 by a Novice

Ingredients

I like pie, I’m pretty sure most people like pie, and some people may even love it. To make it from scratch is a lot more time consuming than you might imagine but crusts are pretty easy. Flour, salt, shortening, and water. That is all it takes to make some crusts, but you might want to have a few other things handy. A rolling pin of course is required, although I know some people that prefer to use a metal pipe. Yes, seriously. A pastry knife is very handy, especially if you’re a novice when it comes to “cutting in” shortening. Plastic cling wrap can also be a lifesaver if your dough is especially crumbly or if you run low on flour when it’s time to roll the crusts out.

Pre-mixStart by mixing together 2c flour and 3/4tsp salt. I usually just swipe the pastry knife around to mix it gradually in. Then you’ll want to plop in some shortening, my recipe recommends 2/3c but if you feel that’s a little too rich, you can easily use 1/2c instead. To measure, grab a 1/3 cup and scrape it out until it’s doubled over, roughly, then prepare to get dirty 😛 Then starting squishing, turning, and mashing gently to get the shortening worked into the flour as evenly as possible. It might start sticking together a bit if you’ve used the full amount of shortening, but just keep at it until you turn the bowl and no “lonely” flour is visible.

Shortening in the flour mix rolled out

Now is the tricky part, you’ll want to add enough water to make it stick together well without being sticky and yucky. Some of the other similar recipes say 5-6Tbsp of water, I use about a 1/4c mixed in gradually. Generally you don’t want to knead the dough at all, but I find it really hard not to do that at least a little bit. Flour your counter/board and roll it out. If you’re using a 9” pie tin, you need it to be at least 11” across to fill in the pan and have some overhang. If you’re like me and everything you roll out looks like a continent, no worries, just trim the edges (use a knife that’s been coated in water) once you’ve got it in the pan.

Pick-Up  This may be the hardest bit to explain, but if you ever run low on flour you can use cling wrap for your backing instead of flour. This also makes it crazy easy to lift your pie crust into the tin. You can also place wrap on top of the rolled out dough, tuck the edges under, to keep the crust from sticking to itself while you fold it together. Once you’ve got the dough edged into the pan, don’t trim it yet! Let it settle down a bit into the pan so that your crust will be evenly baked. Crusts can be a delicate pastry and you really don’t want one to split in half between your counter and the tin. Once it’s settled, trim the edge a half inch below the tin rim, then fold it up on top of itself. Doubling this edge will help with a problem I ran into with this pie baking session, the edges burned. If you want to be extra cautious, wrap the edging with aluminum foil (shiny side out) to prevent them from cooking too quickly.  The apple filling recipe is something I probably won’t share, as it’s so shiny I couldn’t stand it if someone made it better >.< Innards

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