I had a chance this weekend to make some pies with my grandma, using my grandfather’s mother’s recipe. The saying ‘easy as pie’ has always struck me as odd, because making pies has never seemed all that easy. However, the ingredients are fairly straightforward, and I had pretty good luck rolling it out (see photos below). We made the pie shells ahead of time, and put them in the freezer overnight. So the real test will be tonight when actually eat them!
- 1/2 lb lard or shortening
- 1/4 lb butter
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup very cold water (best with ice cubes)
- Makes about 2 covered pies, or 3-4 uncovered pies.
- Pie dough needs to be very cold when you handle it, so that it stays light and flake and doesn’t get tough. To keep things cold, it’s best to put the lard and butter in the freezer and add some ice cubes to your very cold water about 10 minutes before you start.
- Start by cutting the lard and butter into cubes and place in a bowl. Add some of the flour and mix/cut with a pastry cutter – if you don’t have a pastry cutter you can use two knives to cut the butter and lard into small pieces in the bowl. Try not to compress the dough, rather try to cut and lift. Keep adding flour and cutting until you have about pea-sized pieces. Now slowly start adding most of the half-cup of water (you can always add more water, but it’s impossible to take the water out!) and keep mixing/cutting with the pastry cutter. When it’s ready, the dough should stick together when you pinch it, but shouldn’t stick to your fingers. Add a little more water if needed. Form into 3-4 rough disks (about an inch thick), wrap in wax paper and put the disks into the fridge to rest (and cool) for about 10 minutes before you start to roll it out – this should also help it if it’s too sticky.
- Once the dough has rested, take out one disk. Lightly cover your cutting board with flour, and then place the dough on the cutting board. Sprinkle the dough with a little more flour and then gently start to roll it, starting at the centre of the dough and rolling outwards. The goal is to try and keep the dough in a round shape so it will fit the pie shell, so try to roll it evenly in each direction. At least once you should gently lift up the dough, recover the cutting board with flour and flip the dough over. Once it is an even 1/4″ thick, run a knife under the dough to make sure that it isn’t stuck to the cutting board. Then, use the rolling pin lift it on top of the pie shell by rolling the dough around the rolling pin, and then unrolling it over the pie shell. Tuck the dough into the bottom corners of the pie shell, and then start pinching along the edge – you can make this crimping as fancy as you have time to, but just make sure that the edge of the crust is higher than the pie shell.
Tools you’ll need:[br] pastry cutter (or two knives)[br] bowl[br] rolling pin[br] large cutting board (a heavy one is best) or counter space[br] pie shells