If you need a great pie crust recipe, I bet you could ask your mom and she will pull out a wrinkled and faded recipe from the past. Maybe your mom isn’t a hoarder. Maybe she tossed that priceless recipe. Look no further for that perfect pie crust recipe!
There is something about Thanksgiving. I get sentimental. I think a great deal about my childhood. Sometimes, it was perfect. My mom, my dad, and my little brother. We loved each other intensely. We had a huge extended family. Unfortunately, they were all across the Atlantic. So when it was holiday time, it was usually just us. And sweet Mariskaneni. Sometimes we were with our family that lived in Ohio. Those were great Thanksgiving and Christmases usually full of snow and lots of cousins.
Here’s my darling mom cooking her amazing turkey.
Here’s my dad carving his famous Sicilian turkey in the 1990’s.
Mariskaneni was my mother’s aunt and she was like a grandmother to us. Most of our holidays were spent with her and her husband. She was an incredible Hungarian baker. I remember going next door to her house and always hearing the whizzing of her mixer. And the sweet smells of Hungarian treats. Oh, the smells. I get dizzy with happiness just remembering. Sometimes she would let me help her roll out the dough or sprinkle the walnuts on the cakes.
You are probably in the throes of Thanksgiving preparations. Maybe you have been planning for weeks. Possibly you thought you had nothing left to do and then were asked to bake a pie. Don’t be intimidated in trying to make your own crust. It is worth the few steps. The flavor is incredible and there is a huge difference between a homemade crust and the ready-made roll out kind. Huge difference. This is the exact recipe from my great-aunt. I had to translate it from Hungarian with my mom. She believed in using shortening and butter. I have made crusts with only butter before. I kind of like pie crusts both ways.
My friends, if you have children, I urge you to bake with them. Even if it is making ready made cookie dough. Do it! Decorate it together. Have fun getting sprinkles every where! Make your own holiday memories. Tonight, I got to make pie crusts with my mom and daughter. Tomorrow, I will begin baking with my daughter and our neighbor’s daughter. We will make a mess, and hopefully, not eat all our sweets. My little guy will sneak away, like he always does, with a chunk of dough to eat and to play with. We will make some more baking and holiday memories together. Beautiful memories...like the ones I have from my childhood.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (a stick and a half) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup of all-vegetable shortening (8 Tbsp)
6-8 Tablespoons ice water
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse it one time to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse 4 times. Add shortening one tablespoon at a time and pulse each time you add a tablespoon. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no bigger than peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over flour mixture one tablespoon at a time. Pulse once after you add each tablespoon of water. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the mixture just begins to clump together.
Clean off your counter really well or use a pastry board or a nice cutting board. Flour your hands generously. Take the dough out of the food processor. Tilt the rolling pin and sprinkle it with flour as you rotate the rolling pin. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten each into a 4-inch wide disks. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on each disk and then wrap both separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling. When you are flattening the disks, you are not working the dough. You are just simply flattening the shape into a disk. If you are making the pie that day, make sure you refrigerate for at least an hour. It can stay for up to 2 day in the refrigerator.
When it is time to roll the dough out to make my pie, I take it out of the refrigerator and I usually let my dough sit out for about 5 minutes before rolling. It's hot here in Florida. Doesn't take more than 5 minutes to get to the perfect rolling temperature.
On a lightly floured surface, form pastry into a ball; shape into a flattened round. (For two-crust pie, divide pastry into halves and shape into two rounds.) Roll pastry 2 inches larger than an inverted pie plate with a floured rolling pin. Fold pastry into quarter folds and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.
Using a rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough You have a big enough piece of dough when you place the pie tin or pie dish upside down on the dough and the dough extends by at least 2 inches all around.
When the dough has reached the right size, gently fold it in half. Lift up the dough and place it so that the folded edge is along the center line of the pie dish. Gently unfold and be sure to not stretch the dough to fit. Fold pastry into quarter folds and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.
* If you are only making a single crust pie, use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the lip of the dish. Tuck the overhang underneath itself along the edge of the pie dish. Use your fingers in a pinching motion, or the tines of a fork to crimple the edge of the pie crust.
*If you are making a double crust pie, roll out the second disk of dough. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Use a kitchen scissors to trim the overhang to an inch over. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Finish the double crust by pressing against the edges of the pie with your finger tips or with a fork.
Use a sharp knife to cut vents into the top of the pie crust. The vents let the steam escape while the pie is baking.
You could do an egg wash on the crust to give it a nice finish.
On my next post, I will show you the pie I made for Thanksgiving.
If you are a visual person and need good photos, I really like Smitten Kitchen’s tutorial on rolling out the dough.