I was reading a past post on The Amateur Gourmet’s blog about how much trouble he has with pie dough. It reminded me of my early teens when I was into baking, as in bread and pie. For whatever reason, my mom didn’t make those things (which seems strange since she was raised by her Victorian grandmother). And we didn’t have food processors back then.
Actually, thinking about it, my great grandmother was probably really tired by the time she had to raise a second family of her granddaughters. I know my mother was all about convenience though she did have a few really good “from scratch” recipes.
Anyhow, I was famous in my family for my “lead bread”; dense, barely risen loaves that only my little brother Rusty would eat. Bless his little heart. This was before I learned about killing yeast which I’m sure I did on a regular basis back then.
I really wanted to make pies too, as in apple, pumpkin and so on. I tried the pie crust where you cut the butter into the dry mixture…omg, I hated it. Pure torture that never yielded a decent flaky crust. I inevitably had thick, unruly, cracked crusts like the one pictured below. Of course we also didn’t have the internet or the plethora of cookbooks either, where I might have learned to chill and cube the butter and keep the dough from warming up. But I didn’t.
Photo Source. Note: this is a link to a traditional crust tutorial you might enjoy.
Then one day, I was looking through something like “Woman’s Day” and came across the pie crust recipe that was going to change my teen age world and become my “go to” formula to this day. It’s so disgustingly easy that I couldn’t believe it would work. But work it did and I’ve had gorgeous, thin, flaky crusts ever since.
I’ve used it in single and double crust pies, lattice pies and even tiny pie crusts when I use my mini-muffin tin and made teensy pecan pies. So cute!
Disclaimer: I’ve never claimed to be a great cook or baker. I just know when I’m happy with something. When you read the ingredients, you won’t believe it but it’s never failed me no matter what I’m making with it. I’m sure it will be pooh-poohed by the “real” bakers out there, but I’ve always been more than satisfied with its performance.
My No-Fail Pastry Crust (or the Pie Crust Recipe for All Those Cooks Who Cringe at the Thought of Making a Pie Because the Crust Will Fail
1 c. plus 2 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. neutral vegetable oil (like canola)
2 T. cold water
Mix 1 c. plus 2 T. flour and 1/2 t. salt. With fork, stir in 1/3 c. vegetable oil. Sprinkle with 2 T. cold water and mix into a ball. Roll between 2 sheets of waxed paper, wiping counter with damp cloth to keep paper from slipping. Between passes with rolling pin, pick up waxed paper-covered dough and flip. Then carefully peel off the top sheet and reposition for the next couple of passes with the rolling pin.
Repeat this procedure every few passes and replace top sheets as they start to become wrinkled and worn looking. This allows dough to stretch out without the wax paper ripping. Make sure you roll the dough out far enough to cover pie pan and edges.
When you’re satisfied with the size and thinness (about 1/16”-1/8” thick), flip and carefully lift and replace the top sheet. Then flip again, lifting the other sheet of wax paper, removing it completely. Use the remaining bottom sheet of paper to support crust as you transfer it to pie pan.
Makes a single shell 8”- 9” pie crust. Note: For 2 pie shells, do not double the recipe. I have found that this never works well. Instead, just mix a second single crust by itself if making a covered pie. Be sure to slice a couple of slits in the top crust or the filling can ooze out the pie’s seam.
If you find it’s a bit crumbly, add a bit more oil, half a teaspoon at a time. You can fill the crust as is or blind bake it if you like. Looking back I noticed that I usually cook this with filling on 375F for 35 to 50 minutes depending on the filling and my oven.
I’ve never tried it as a rustic galette but think I’d make two, combine them and roll out a bit thicker than 1/16 -1/8 inch. BTW, I won’t be making this until temps have dropped out of the 100’s which will probably be in November. :( Now go feed your pie-hole!