Let’s get one thing clear. I don’t do pie. Or pie crust.
Before I moved to Florida, dessert in our house meant one thing: Kone King. Our suburban neighborhood in Upstate New York didn’t have much to boast in the way of food but they definitely knew good soft serve ice cream. I can remember begging my parents to take me to Kone King after supper on warm summer evenings (read: any night of the year that they were open) where we would make bets on what the flavor of the day would be. Orange and vanilla swirl with sprinkles for me and black raspberry swirl for my parents. Twenty years later, I still think of Kone King just before I take my first bite of a new frozen treat. Will it measure up? Will this be the bite I’ve been waiting for? Usually, no, although there have been a few worthy contenders over the years.
That was a long way of saying that frozen dairy is my thing. It’s my jam. It’s the butter to my bread and the frosting to my cake. I know ice cream and am crazy about it in a weird way that would probably make most people feel a little uncomfortable. My husband even orders extra yogurt when we go out and I dig in to his once I’ve polished off mine. I’m not embarrassed about it; that’s just part of our routine and 75% of the reason why I’ve decided to spend my life with him.
When I married Brett, I didn’t understand why he didn’t like ice cream as much as I did. That first time, in fact, that he let me finish his yogurt, I remember thinking that it was a really sweet gesture. But alas, Brett was not being generous. He was simply sparing his stomach from the internal apocalypse that was imminent upon finishing his cup of frozen bliss. God bless the people who have dairy intolerance. Let’s have a moment of silence for them.
So what was I supposed to serve my dairy-hating man friend? I posed this question to him one day. His response?
Pie? Your favorite is pie?
Ok. I can work with pie. But… But, how? I had never made pie crust from scratch in my life. Isn’t that why they make that delicious processed pastry in a box at the grocery store? Or that perfectly patted out graham cracker crumble in a tin? My future husband, the man I so desired to please and serve well, liked a dessert that I really had no idea how to go about making.
So I set out to learn. I started small with crumb based crusts and along the way I ground and patted my way to sweet Oreo glory and buttery Biscoff bliss. My Mimi gave me a lesson on pies at Thanksgiving and after six sticks of Crisco were sacrificed on behalf of my apple and pumpkin pies, I scarfed down more than my share of pie with little hesitation (or dignity).
There were a few not-so-glamourous moments too including an apple crumb pie with a doughy center (???) and a banana cream pie that never really set up (but thank goodness, we’ve since resolved that). Even after the lesson from my grandmother, there were still times I found myself covered in flour and wanting to dump my pie in the trash.
That is, until it happened. The day that me, my deep dish pie pan, and a few stalks of rhubarb walked the hall of victors to the glorious podium of success. A pie crust equal parts buttery and flaky, lightly golden, and perfectly baked around a tart and juicy filling of berries and rhubarb. Perfectly set slices of pie were shared with friends and it was agreed that this was a recipe for the books.
So this recipe for pie crust is for my husband. Yes, it’s just the crust, but it’s the product of hours in the kitchen and it’s a gesture that says, “Honey, I respect that you don’t know crap about ice cream and that you prefer pie. So here, this is yours.”
Try this recipe next time you’re looking to make a pie. Trust me one this one. And stay tuned for another recipe later on this week. (HINT: it’s a pie!)
- 3 ½ cups (420 gm) all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons (12 gm) sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon (4 gm) salt
- 2/3 cup (135 gm) chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks, 170 gm) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 10 tablespoons (approximately) ice water
- Give the dry ingredients a whiz in the food processor to combine.
- Pulse in the shortening and butter, just until barely evenly dispersed.
- Begin adding ice water, 2 tablespoons at a time until moist clumps begin to form.
- Remove dough from food processor and separate in two round disks. Wrap in Saran wrap and chill for at least two hours prior to use.
- When ready to use, roll out to 1/4" thickness and line the bottom of a 9" pie pan. This is enough dough to fill a deep dish pan as well. Prior to baking, brush with an egg wash, if desired. This is done by whisking 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water and lightly brushing crust prior to use.
- This recipe makes a double crust. If you want extra dough for decorating the top, I recommend doubling the recipe and saving leftover crust for a future pie! The dough freezes nicely when wrapped well.
- Chilling the dough is essential. If your dough gets too warm while you are rolling it out or decorating the top, you may not get as flakey of a crust as you might desire. So work swiftly!
- Patch up holes or tears in the crust with leftover dough. Even small holes on the bottom of the pie plate can make a burned and sticky mess of your pie and you're not going to want to waste a drop of this deliciousness!
- You can easily substitute the shortening for butter and visa versa, however I cannot vouch for any other substitutions. Unless you're super anti-shortening or anti-butter, I strongly recommend this combination for a buttery, flaky crust.