Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Perfect Pie Crust

Just in time for Thanksgiving, and by popular request, here is my adaptation of Betty's oil pie crust. Growing up this was the pie crust Mom would make and I learned how to make it from her. It was always a bit frustrating though because sometimes it would turn out great and other times... not so much, it would be crumbly and mealy instead of flaky.

In 4-H when I made apple pie for the fair one year I made a crisco crust instead of the oil recipe to make sure it would turn out. However, my science nature has made me experiment with several hypotheses and keep trying to figure out how to make this recipe work, since I always have oil on hand, and not crisco, and of course, it's healthier, too.

I do think I've figured it out; the crusts have turned out flaky ever since (several years). And for an early Christmas present I will share all my secrets with you!

Here's the basic recipe and then I'll make some specific comments of the important things:

Double crust for a 9-inch pie (though just barely enough - might want to make 1 1/2 recipes if you like to make sure you have enough or for a 9 1/2-inch pie)

2 c. flour
1 t. salt
< 1/2 c. canola oil
4-6 T. cold water

- Mix the flour and salt with a fork in a bowl. Add the oil, and stir/mix until pea-size pieces form. Add in the water a couple tablespoons at a time, stirring, until mixed.

** Do NOT add too much oil. Use a little less than 1/2 c. Too much oil is the biggest cause of the 'mealy' pie crust. If the flour looks completely saturated with the oil then it's too much - add some more flour. It should still have some almost powdery white stuff after this step.

** Make sure you add in enough water. Even if after a couple tablespoons of water the dough is cleanly coming off the bowl, still add it all or at least add until there are nice, white, 'marbling' streaks through the dough.

** Do NOT wait to roll out the crusts. I used to make up the dough and then peel and cut the apples. This is a mistake! Get your filling completely ready and then make up the crust dough and roll immediately.

** Roll between two sheets of waxed paper. This isn't really different than the original recipe. Just thought I'd mention it for any oil-crust newbies out there. Make sure you get it thin and flip it over and peel off the waxed paper a couple times as you roll.


Happy pie baking! (I think another recipe will be posted soon that should give you occasion to dig out the pie pans and get baking... Caramel Apple Pecan Pie! Yum!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

CNS photos

Drying a field of delicious homemade egg noodles.

Veggies simmering, chicken chillin' in the background.