Last November when I shared my recipe for savory Herbed Pie Crust, I also shared some advice that I was given about pie-crust making when I was a child by the our across-the-street-neighbor. Like my own mother, Mrs. Rothenberg made delicious pies. Unlike my own mother, Mrs. Rothenberg’s advice did not go in one ear and out the other – it stayed with me: I can still hear her cautioning, “Once you have your ingredients mixed up and you’ve added the water, don’t mess with it! That’s why people have tough pie or soggy pie crusts – they think they need to mess with it.”
Keeping her advice in mind, I spent some time this spring working on my sweet pie crust, and I think I have finally nailed it perfectly. Follow the directions below, and you will too!
Coming Monday: Lemon Party Tarts!
- ½ cup butter-flavored Crisco (Sorry, but this really does yield the best results, and it is the only time I ever use it, I promise!!)
- ½ cup butter - chilled in freezer for one hour (Don't use margarine. I always use salted butter, but you don't have to.)
- 3 cups unbleached flour
- 3 Tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
- 5-6 Tablespoons Ice water
- In a medium bowl, mix flour and sugar with a fork. Mix in Crisco shortening with your fingers, then cut cold butter into ¼ pieces and sprinkle them into the flour mixture. Mix with your fingers some more - until mixture resembles very coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle vinegar over mixture on toss to combine. (The theory is that that a bit of acid helps relax the gluten formation that would otherwise toughen the pastry.)
- Sprinkle ice water over the top and stir with a wooden spoon until a ball forms. Press into a ball and let rest at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator before using. (I tend to let it rest a couple of hours, but you don't have to.)
- For best results, let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before rolling out.
- Bake according to directions for whatever you are making.