Preview: Learn how to make a traditional pie crust that uses part shortening and part butter. The result? A perfect combination of buttery flavor with the flakiness and stability provided by the shortening.
As a county extension agent in the ’70s, I was asked to do a short cooking demonstration for a local TV station. Why I picked the subject of pie crusts is a mystery now. Little did I know how many pie crusts it would take to get my technique down.
Nevertheless, crust-making has turned out to be a reasonably useful life skill. Never mind that most people these days are pleased with a pie crust from the supermarket.
At this point in my life, I’ve tried what seems like hundreds of variations. But, in the end, I come back to this recipe when I want to make sure my pie crust turns out beautiful and flaky. I think you’ll have the same experience.
Why not all-butter?
In my experience, most all-butter recipes tend to shrink once baked. Shrinkage is especially catastrophic when you are baking a pie shell without a filling. Shortening helps your pie to maintain its shape.
I know what you’re thinking and Yes! Dried beans, pie weights, chains, and twisted parchment paper snakes–tried them all.
You can use a food processor to mix the dough, which I often do it. However, the pictures that follow show doing it the old-fashioned way. By hand. Guess it depends on whether you want to wash all the parts of a food processor or use some elbow grease with a fork or pastry blender.
How to mix pie crust by hand:
How to roll out a pie crust with a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover:
How to finish the edge of your pie crust:
If you need to bake the crust before adding the filling, my favorite method today is using stainless steel chainlink. No more spilled/storing dried beans or pie weights. Even better, they are good and heavy.
Chains like the one pictured are sold by the foot at hardware stores or online.
Line your raw pie crust with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Use your hands to force the foil to conform to the crust. Finally, drop your chain inside of the pie crust before you put it in the oven.
Pie Crust Tips…
- Don’t roll your dough too thin. It can easily tear and stretch.
- Don’t roll your dough too thick. It will be hard to cut in the pan and messes up the proportions of dough to filling.
- Don’t let the crust get too brown or it will give the flavor a bitter vibe. Go for golden brown–not toasty brown.
- No matter what crust recipe you use, always spray your pie pan with something like Baker’s Joy to keep the crust from sticking.
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Hope to see you again soon!
p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com.