For generations cooking and recipes have been handed down through the family. The recipes you knew by heart were the ones taught to you by your mother, grandmother, neighbors, or friends. Now, with all the fast and convenient alternatives available, we sometimes miss out on learning these basic recipes and skills. In my family we all would like to preserve these special recipes from my grandmother, but our busy lives and the distances between us make it hard to keep these traditions alive. So in honor of this, I’ve decided to share with everyone a special recipe taught to me by my grandmother, handed down from her mother before her. This is Great Grandma Stuckey’s Homemade Pie Crust.
Less of a recipe, and more of an Art
I always remember the pies that grandma would make for Thanksgiving. I wish now that I had learned more from her, but I will always treasure her teaching me this special pie crust recipe. Grandma’s cooking can only be described as an art. You could write the recipe down and measure it out, but her cooking was always more of a process and a feeling than an actual recipe. That is where the fun comes in, and you can appreciate cooking as more than just numbers and measurements, but as a beautiful and simple act of creating.
Start with 3 cups Flour and 1 teaspoon Salt.
Mix in 1-¼ cup of Lard with your hands.
That’s right, with your hands. For the perfect pie crust you want to pay attention to the unique texture as you mix it. Mix the lard in lightly, breaking it into small, pea sized bits. Don’t over-mix; it should still be very lumpy with a consistency similar to wet sand.
Grandma’s Secret Ingredient
Grandma always used lard, not shortening in her pie crust. You can substitute shortening, but the effect is not quite the same as when you use real lard.
Next, beat 1 Egg and add it to the flour mixture along with 1 teaspoon Vinegar. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons Cold Water.
I recommend starting with 5 tablespoons cold water and adding just a little more if you need it. Again, don’t over-mix! You want to combine the liquid just enough to make a dough that mostly sticks together. It should still be slightly flaky and a few bits may break off.
Roll out the Dough
Sprinkle some flour over your counter top, so the dough doesn’t stick, and turn it out. Divide the dough in half and pat the first half down into a flattened circle before rolling out. As you roll out the dough, frequently flour and turn it, very gently to keep it from tearing. Once the dough is about an inch wider than your pie pan on all sides, gently lift the edges and slide your pan underneath.
If the dough tears in a few places, just patch it in at the end with an extra piece from the edges. Gently press the dough into the pan and poke holes in the bottom to prevent air bubbles underneath. Cut away the excess around the pan with a knife.
Filling and Baking
You can pre-bake the crust now at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes and use the second half of dough for another pie. Or you can add a filling of your choice, and then roll out the second half of dough to cover it. This homemade apple pie filling is one of my favorites, and ready in minutes.
When the filling is covered by the second sheet of dough, press all around the edges with your thumbs to seal and cut slits in the top to vent. For apple pie bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake another 40 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Whether you bake the crust plain or filled, always remember to cover the edges in tin foil first then remove the foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. This will keep them from browning too quickly.
Homemade pie crust can add such a meaningful addition to special holiday events or just as an extra treat. It can also be wrapped and frozen to bake later. This is a fairly simple recipe that is easy to master, with a great effect. You can try all different types of filling or use the scrap dough to create decorative shapes on the edges. Have fun, get creative, and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
3 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1-¼ cup Lard
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vinegar
5-½ tablespoons Cold Water
Mix the Flour, Salt and Lard until it “crumbles” then add the beaten egg, vinegar and cold water. Mix lightly until just combined and roll out on floured surface. Press lightly into a pie pan and poke holes in the bottom with a fork. Always cover the edges in foil before baking and remove for the last 5 to 10 minutes until it browns. Baking time will vary based on the filling used. For an empty pie crust, bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. For an apple pie, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees for another 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
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