Monday, October 6, 2008

Pie Pastry - The Decadent Housewife Way

The first time I made pie pastry, I was making a raspberry pie with gorgeous berries fresh from my Mother's farm garden. But I didn't know much about pastry and rolled and peeled and rolled and peeled and battered around for five hours. When finally finished, the pie sat on my table four days. I was hesitant to eat something that took so, much, time, to make. And unlike now, I didn't live in a houseful of men vacuuming up food as quickly as it appears. The raspberry pie was a beautiful thing and once I'd sufficiently recovered from making it and admiring it, I took it to work and fed it to unsuspecting nurses, although one gaunt third year clerk scarfed the most declaring it the heartiest pie he'd eaten. No doubt.

It dawned on me one day, while some babies were buzzing around my feet and knees, one of whom is responsible for eating the lower half of my recipe card shown in the photo above, to use waxed paper to roll out the pastry. I no longer had FIVE hours to spare for repeatedly scraping a pie crust from a counter top, only to have it fall apart time and time again while I added yet another "dusting" of flour supposedly meant to keep it from sticking in the first place. Secondly, I increased the amount of fat, flour and liquid. Now I know for certain there will be enough pastry to fit the plate and make a rim. I also had figured out how many mini-pies my recipe would make, but as you can see the baby ate that information and I never got around to doing mini-pies again.

Pie Pastry - The Decadent Housewife Way
Makes: 2-9" Single Crust or 1-9" Double Crust or 1-12" x 18" baking sheet for Pie in a Pan
  • 2 ¼ cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 rounded cup lard or vegetable shortening (use a 1/3 cup measure and round each time)
  • 7 Tablespoons of cold water (that’s just shy of half a cup) for a sweet pie OR
  • 7 Tablespoons of cold milk for a savoury pie
Sift lumps out of flour. Add salt. Measure out vegetable shortening. This is how I round it. And do this for each 1/3 cup measure.

Cut the shortening into the flour.

Add the water and stir it to mix with a fork.

Lightly work it together.

Roll into a little log

and cut into two pieces.


With a piece of waxed paper on the work surface, I flatten one of the halves. The other half is waiting its' turn under a bowl to keep from drying.

Cover with a second sheet of waxed paper.

Roll. The waxed paper will form little wrinkles on the underside...no matter...pick up the whole thing...flip it over...peel the paper...slap it down again and roll. Laugh at my rolling pin. Julia Child once called rolling pins like this, "a toy" and pitched it over her shoulder taking out a stagehand. I have a very small space to work in and it works for me. It also fits perfectly onto the 12" x 18" baking sheet when rolling crust for Pie in a Pan. Be not discouraged, oh Decadent Housewife.

Lay the pie plate on top to see how the fit is coming along. Can trim, adjust, roll edges here too. Yes, a little will roll out between the sheets of waxed paper on one side. It will lift with the prodding of a finger..nothing like trying to scrape the whole stinkin' thing off the counter.


Peel off top sheet of waxed paper.

Keeping the remaining sheet of waxed paper to the outside, and the pastry to the inside, fold the pastry in half. Begin to peel away the waxed paper. Keep the pastry in the half moon shape.

Once the top half of the waxed paper is freed, start to peel the pastry free from the waxed paper next to the counter and fold the pastry into quarters.


Place the pastry into pie dish, center and unfold.

Trim up and adjust the edge as needed.


For a single crust, turn the edge under onto itself and flute. For a double crust, repeat the above with the second half of the pastry. Fill the shell, lay the crust on top and then fold over onto the lower crust edge. Flute. Cut vents. For sweet pies I flute. For savoury pies, I use fork tines pressed into the edge. That way I know what the heck kind of pie it is when I find it with a missing label in the freezer.

1 comment:

Leila said...

Excellent tutorial. Soon I have to do one myself, for our family's collective memory's sake, and you and I do things a tad differently, but I appreciate these clear photos!
You are a housewife extraordinaire! And decadent, of course ;)