[33] Pie Crusts (Ten Crust Variation)

I almost forgot that I’d made this recipe!

I didn’t expect to cook anything that would end up contributing to this blog while in New Mexico for my sisters’ wedding. I knew I wanted to offer to make some desserts for her rehearsal dinner, but I wasn’t sure it would be anyone’s thing.

My sister & her husband are full of awesome, just for the record. You’re probably wondering why in the world I would have even considered offering to make desserts. It’s because our mother was doing all the cooking for a BBQ pool party rehearsal dinner at our Uncle/Aunt/Grandmother/Cousin’s house. Super fun, and low-stress. I love that about them.

This was also a wonderful bonding experience for my father & I, but I’ll get more into that below, in the “cooking notes”. I will say, here, that I basically just played assistant on this recipe. Dad was really the crust master, and then we split most of the “pie guts” duties.

You’ll probably notice there’s no Amazon link above. That’s because this is one of the cookbooks that has more obscure origins. HOWEVER! You can (and totally should) “go here”:http://www.pietowncouncil.com/pie_town_store.html and buy this cookbook. More pies than you can shake a stick at! OR! Better yet!

“GO TO THE PIE FESTIVAL!”:http://www.pietowncouncil.com/pie_festival/about_pie_festival.html

I went in 2008 or so. It was fun, except that the town ran out of pie. They got a much bigger load than they expected that year (pretty sure you could blame AAA’s New Mexico magazine for that one). I did manage to get some pie with the friends I went with. Beautiful country, tasty pies and you can buy your cookbook there!

h2. Ingredients

5 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

1 c butter (I strongly suggest having this & the shortening as cold as possible, though the recipe directions do not specify such.)

1 c shortening (I strongly suggest not changing this number. Read below to find out why.)

2 eggs

2 tbsp white vinegar

2 c cold water (Have some extra on hand.)

h2. Instructions

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter and shortening. In a separate bowl, mix egg, vinegar & water. Add to flour mixture & blend with hands until dry ingredients are moist (more water may be needed).

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

Oooooh, man. I bet this is a good recipe, under normal circumstances. Indeed, it held up quite nicely to my father and I!

To be clear, let me say that I had been considering offering to make pie (or some sort of dessert) for the rehearsal dinner for a couple of days before I left Chicago. Otherwise, I would not have had this cookbook with me, and the ensuing fun would not have happened. And, also, we wouldn’t have been able to test the robustness of this recipe to the shenanigans of a couple of rookie pie bakers.

This basically started while I was waiting for my flight at Midway Airport. Being a modern person of modern attention span, I was screwing around with my phone and at one point checked Facebook. My father had posted a status about following his grandmother’s1 advice in baking cookies, and I responded by saying that I’d recently tweeted about how I WISHED I’d taken the same advice. He said, “Well, she was a baking genius.” I pointed out the possibility that he was just saying that because she made amazing oatmeal cake. His response? “Can you make her pie crust???”

Well, no, I probably can’t. But, to be fair, she never fed me pie. She fed me peanut butter cookies and oatmeal cake.

So I go and offer to make pie for this event, and my sister accepts. At some point my father says we should do it together and try to replicate Grandma’s pie crust. This is because my mother has told him Grandma’s secret. Apparently Grandma said that it didn’t matter what pie crust recipe you used, just so long as you add an extra tablespoon of shortening.

Hey, we can do that! And we can do math! Surely this scales, right?

So, we think about it. We decide to assume that when she meant “any recipe”, those recipes generally made two crusts (a double crust recipe), so we added an extra tablespoon per two crusts, or FIVE more tablespoons of shortening.

The dough was very, very wet. Really, the opposite of what pie crust dough ought to look like. We may not have made a lot of pie crust in our days, but Dad & I have both eaten plenty of pie, and witnessed much pie making. “Wet” isn’t really a good descriptor for pie crust dough. Heck, even this recipe calls for having more WATER on hand, not more flour.

So, uh, we did what everyone would do. We added some more flour, until it considered looking maybe a little bit right. Then we separated them into 10 roughly equal dough balls and refrigerated them overnight. Sunday, day of the rehearsal arrives, and we get cracking on pies.

Dad used Grandma’s old Tupperware branded pie guide mat to measure out his pie crusts. The mat is something like “this”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002OOVB12?ie=UTF8&tag=metaco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002OOVB12, but Tupperware branded and older (and better, because it was Grandma’s). The guide was good, but the dough balls were still super goopy, so he had to add a bunch of flour to make them happen. He also rerolled them several times, because they fell apart a lot. Yes, we both know that’s not the best way to a light ‘n’ airy crust, but we were struggling here! Also, my dad is awesome for these sorts of things, namely, taking on a project and seeing if we can just do it, because, hey, why not?

It was fun. And messy.

h3. Consumption

Not light ‘n’ airy. However, generally the crusts of the pies were tasty (even if they weren’t not “flakey”). Also, they were good conveyances for pie fillings into bellies.

What’s not to like?

fn1. Note: This is not the grandmother whose house we were at for the rehearsal. That grandmother makes “awesome zucchini bread.”:http://metacookbook.com/archives/51-24-Grandma-L.s-Zucchini-Bread.html#extended The grandmother in question is my father’s grandmother, my great-grandmother, Ella. Sadly, she died in 2006.