Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pie: Part 1 - Crust!

I loooove to make pie and I looooove my pumpkin pie, if I do say so myself it is DARN TASTY!!  You don't have to make the pie crust, but I love to make crusts even if I sometimes get disgruntled and frustrated, so here will be my how-to for pie crust!

First of all, despite having very simple ingredients, crust can be temperamental depending on all sorts of random factors, like humidity!! You never know what will give you a cranky crust! The trick is not getting it very wet at all... (full disclosure, I had to throw away my first batch... luckily the ingredients are cheap!)  Here's what you'll need:

1/3 C Crisco or butter (or mixture of it)
1 C flour (you may need to add some depending on the consistency, so keep it out!)
dash of salt
dash of sugar
dash of whatever spices you feel like!
ice water (water with ice cubes still in it!)

Mix all of the ingredients except water with a fork - you kind of want to fluff it and smush the Crisco/flour mixture through the fork versus really stirring it - chopping and cutting are other good descriptive words for it! It should just look like extra-granulated flour, not like what you'd imagine crust to look like!

Ever so slowly start to add a little bit of ice water. Stir the mixture and the water just until it starts to clump together. You don't want to mix too much or it'll turn rubbery instead of flaky!

Next use your hands to put it all into a ball. Lay out something flat - cheese cloth, parchment paper, what have you, and cover it in flour. Use a rolling pin (or wine bottle if you don't have one!) and roll out the crust to about 1/4" thick. Fold the parchment paper/cheese cloth in half so it flops over gently, and pull the crust off and lay it on the pie dish, and then unfold!  Voila! You have crust!!

Push it down in the pan and have the edges dangling off the sides. Use some kitchen scissors to cut off the excess (just trim to the outside of the dish) and use that to patch up any holes that may have happened with ice water as the glue!  Fold over the edge and crimp it between your thumbs and index fingers to make a nice wavy pattern.  I am actually using the extra crust and a couple of leaf and acorn cookie cutters to make a fall foliage pattern - any cookie cutters will work for any holiday! Hearts for Valentine's, gingerbread men or candy canes for Christmas, shamrocks for St. Patty's!  Wee!

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