A while back (sometime back . . . I'm a little slow) someone asked me how I make my pie crust. Infrequently is the answer.
I've mentioned several times that I love pies. They are my all-time favorite dessert and I love baking them. I used to bake pies for an income. BUT . . . I don't like making pie crusts. Kinda like laying the foundation for a beautiful house. Not much fun, but necessary.
So every once in a while, usually when there's something interesting to watch on TV or I have a really good audio tape to listen to, I gather together all my ingredients and stand at the kitchen counter for an hour or so and make up a bunch of balls of pie crust to freeze. Then anytime I want to bake a pie, I just have to pull one or two balls out of the freezer in time to defrost at room temp (or overnight in the refrig) and the fun part of pie making can begin.
For shortening, I use half butter and half lard, one pound of each.
Cut each pound into six (sorta) equal parts.
Measure four level cups of flour into a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and mix in with a fork.
Then plop in two cubes of butter and two cubes of lard.
Cut in the butter and lard with a pastry blender until the shortening is thoroughly and evenly incorporated with the flour.
Next, using the fork I blend approximately one cup of very cold water into the mixture. I fill a cup measure nearly to the one cup mark and then add an ice cube to make sure the water stays cold.
Add the ice water slowly mixing it into the flour mixture with the fork. In the above picture, I'm just adding the very last of the water. (If you need more than the one cup of water, go ahead and use it but don't add any more than you need to get the flour mixture to just hold together. Too much water will make a tough crust.)
Here the dough has had enough water added and is ready to be worked a little bit with my hands to bring it all together in one big lump in the bottom of the bowl.
Take a knife and cut the lump of dough into four (sorta) equal parts.
Taking one section at a time, use your hands to form it into a roundish, flatish ball. This portion will be one pie crust. I wrap each individual portion in waxed paper.
Repeating the above process two more times will use up your pound of butter and pound of lard cubes and yield twelve balls of pie crust. Enough for twelve single crust pies or six double crust pies. Or a combination thereof. (Did I do the math right? I've always been extremely mathematically challenged.)
I then pack the balls of crust in freezer bags, label and date them and store in the freezer.
When I finished making my latest batch of pie crusts, I left two balls in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning I made this peach pie which merrily burbled all over my oven floor. Somebody remind me to clean that out before I light the oven again!
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