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Baking Dessert Holidays Pies

Thankfulness and Twelve Hard-Learned Truths about Pie Crust

November 23, 2021

I was pooped last night and just wanted to get into my jammies and go to bed. But, if I had, I would have missed such a pretty little scene in terminally cute Harmony. I’m glad I forced myself to bundle up like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story, and go for an evening walk.

(If this is fall, I’m in for an ugly surprise when winter arrives.)

I stood in the cold watching the moon play peek-a-boo while golden holiday lights lit my way to a couple of perfect benches. I didn’t sit for long because you can morph into an icicle on a twenty six degree night, but it was lovely for a few minutes.

Harmony is decorated for Christmas because they have a big New Year’s Eve bash, plus a couple of weeks ago they held a German Christmas Market. Carolyn and I braved the freezing rain, drank hot mulled wine, and shopped. After 40 years of being away, it’s great to spend time like that, even in freezing rain. I’m sure I’ll be back to taking everyone for granted soon, but for right now, I’m still pretty thankful for every moment.

Which brings me to Thanksgiving and pie baking, which is probably what you’re doing tonight and tomorrow!

If you need a good pie crust recipe, try the one below. It’s my mom’s updated recipe. Some people know all the science behind a good pie crust and God bless them. Chemistry was never my forte (or my mom’s) but here’s a link to a website that breaks some pie crust chemistry down for you. It’s called Kitchn. I learned through watching Mom, plus a lot of trial and error. And if you’re looking for a great pecan pie recipe, check this one out, it is Kimberly Swan’s Amazing Pecan Pie. She made it one Thanksgiving and I about died it was so absolutely delicious!

Here are my twelve, hard-learned truths about pie crusts. Below them is my pie crust recipe:

#1. All butter is the way to go. My mom used Crisco because everyone did back then and that was good, but butter is better. I used to use half Butter Flavor Crisco and half butter, but I think the flavor is just better with all butter. This was proven this summer when my lifelong friend Dawn of Heliographics fame made me a peach pie to die for and the crust was all butter.

#2. I also know that a crust turns out flakier if you bake it at a higher temperature like 425 at first then reduce the heat to 350.

#3. I know that a pie crust shield l stops your crust from burning. My favorite is Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Pie Crust Protector Shield. You can get it at Amazon.

#4. I know that pre-baking a pumpkin pie’s crust can help reduce soggy bottoms.

#5. People say that making a pie crust with vodka makes the crust flakier. I’ve tried it and didn’t notice a difference. I just use milk with an ice cube in it, or half whipping cream and half ice water. As long as the liquid and the butter are cold, you’re on the right track.

#6. Always use a food processor to mix your flour, sugar, salt and butter together. Not only is it easier, it makes the crust turn out great with very little effort on your part. Next add the milk or cream mixture with a spatula. (The woman at Kitchn says this makes a flakier dough…we’ll have to take her word for it. This is the only truth I’m taking her word for on. The rest I KNOW! )

#7. Don’t overwork the dough. Add just enough liquid to make it hold together.

#8. After you mix your crust together with the milk, or cream and ice water, flatten it into a disc, wrap it in floured plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. After about an hour, roll it out. Once your pie is put together, pop it back into the freezer for about 10 minutes, then bake it.

#9. Before baking, you can brush your crust lightly with whipping cream or an egg white to give it a nice finish.

#10. If you’re just baking a pie shell, be sure to prick the bottom and the sides of the crust so it doesn’t bubble up.

#11. If you’re making a double crust pie, put your pie on the bottom rack so the bottom cooks and doesn’t get soggy.

#12. If you’re baking a fruit pie, always put a cookie sheet underneath to catch the drips from the cooking fruit.

I wish each of you a wonderful, healthy, happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for always taking the time to read my blog. I am so grateful for you! Please feel free to share this post if you thought it was helpful. And if you’re not following me already, please do! I need all the followers I can get! Happy Thanksgiving.

Mom’s Perfect Pie Crust

Yields1 Serving

 2 ½ cups flour
 1 tbsp sugar
 1 tsp kosher salt
 1 cup butter
 1 cup cold milk, or half whipping cream, half ice water

1

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.
Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and process until the flour looks like small pebbles.

2

Mix in the the liquid (cold milk or cold whipping cream and water)with a spatula. Next divide the dough into four parts. Place each part on floured plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc and freeze it for about an hour.

3

Roll out the dough, lay it in the pie pan and fill it with your favorite filling. Place the top crust on and poke holes in it with a fork. Brush it lightly with whipping cream or an egg white. Place the pie crust shield on. Bake pie for 425 for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350.

Ingredients

 2 ½ cups flour
 1 tbsp sugar
 1 tsp kosher salt
 1 cup butter
 1 cup cold milk, or half whipping cream, half ice water

Directions

1

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.
Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and process until the flour looks like small pebbles.

2

Mix in the the liquid (cold milk or cold whipping cream and water)with a spatula. Next divide the dough into four parts. Place each part on floured plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc and freeze it for about an hour.

3

Roll out the dough, lay it in the pie pan and fill it with your favorite filling. Place the top crust on and poke holes in it with a fork. Brush it lightly with whipping cream or an egg white. Place the pie crust shield on. Bake pie for 425 for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350.

Mom’s Perfect Pie Crust

  • Reply
    Nicol Z
    November 29, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Bookmarking this one for any pie adventures I may have. I didn’t grow up baking, but I sure do love to eat it!

  • Reply
    Charles Burkett
    November 26, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Thanks Fran. I’m on a mission to improve my pie crusts!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 26, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      Me too Chuck, even after my last post, I’m re-thinking it again!!!!! Mine turned out so crunchy when I put them in at a high temp at first. Some loved it, but I like a more tender crust. I love that you are working on it too!

  • Reply
    Nora
    November 24, 2021 at 7:46 am

    Perfect timing with your sage advice Fran! Thank you so much.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 24, 2021 at 8:55 am

      Thank you Nora, I miss seeing your smiling face when I get off the elevator. I hope you are happy in your new position! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xo

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