Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Perfect Pie Crust

Long, long ago, I was single and lived in an apartment building on the edge of Riverside that backed up to the Arkansas River.  It was a beautiful place when we moved in there (Emily and I)... it had been the previous landlord's personal apartment and so it had lots of posh extras.  (We had it pretty good in that little place.) Then, Emily decided to get married. I was happy for her, but I was concerned.  Where would I live? I couldn't afford the place on my own.  In the end, it turned out okay. Emily's friend, Amy moved in and I got to stay until I was getting ready to get married, and someone else moved in to take my spot.  (It was that kind of apartment- the kind you didn't give up unless you were getting married.)

Amy had two (or was it three?) cats, that I wasn't terribly thrilled about, but she was fun person full of spunk and although she was several years my elder... her attitude and outlook on life made me look like on old-schoolmarm at the ripe age of 22. She was in a band (when she wasn't doing her day job as a dental hygienist) with Emily's husband.  The name of the band was Sister Sarah... named after her sister.  She adored her little sister (was more of a second mom to Sarah than a sister, I think) and had what I referred to as a "Shrine to Sarah" in a corner of our apartment filled with photographs and mementos.

(Another of Emily's photos.)

Anyway, one of the best things I learned from Amy was how to make the best pie crust ever.  (At one point she'd won a pie contest, so I know it really is the best.) It was exactly like the one I'd grown up using, with one exception: more shortening.  (That's what makes it flaky.)

So, here it is (this will make 2 pie crusts): Start by putting 2 cups of flour in a bowl, add about 1.5 teaspoons of salt and toss it with a fork.

Add a cup of shortening (Crisco) and that's right a cup... I didn't say it was the healthiest pie crust, just the best.

Take your pastry blender to it...

And mix it until most of the pieces are more or less the size of large peas.

Then, it's time to start adding 5 Tablespoons of cold water a Tablespoon at a time.  (Go ahead and add some ice cubes, the colder the better.  You don't want it to be warm... you'll end up with tortillas instead.)   Stir the dough after each spoonful of water.

Now, it's time to divide your dough into two portions. Get out a large square kitchen towel. (Don't use a good one, it won't stay nice.) Lay it down on your counter and flour it. Work the flour into the fabric, you don't want the crust to stick to it.

Before you start rolling the dough. Toss it around in the flour, then flatten it with a tic-tac-toe board pattern.  

Dust more flour on the top, and on your rolling pin. Then get to work. (Roll it to about a 1/8 inch thickness).

When you've gotten it all rolled out, roll it onto your pin.

And then unroll it into your pie plate.

Leave about an inch around the edge, fold it under and then crimp the edges.  In this picture, you'll see me crimping with an index finger and my thumb... because it's hard to take a photo of both my hands at the same time.  Usually I crimp the edges using both of my index fingers.

This time, I filled the pie crust with a quiche. 

It's really yummy... but most of the time, it's fruit... the problem with baking is not the fact that I'm spending time baking.  It's the mess that follows. So, I haven't been doing it as much as I like.  But tonight was special... we had a small group breakfast for dinner, and because tomorrow morning we're going on a girls trip... and we're going to need something besides McDonald's to eat in the morning.  So, I guess I should go to bed. Good night!


Julie Bodenhamer said...

Bethany, your pie crust was divine! And so was the kiesh (sp) that was in it! I told my mom all about it when I got over to her house to pick up the kids last night! Super yummy. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

mpoffman said...

The quiche was wonderful. Thanks for pampering us with something much better than McDonalds!

Elisabeth Owens said...

Thanks for the quiche Bethany, you're the best!

Cottage Industrious said...

I meant to thank you for sharing this earlier! I am going to the kitchen now to make a raspberry sour cream pie!
And that apartment really was the kind you leave just to get married. Those were fun days...