Friday, February 13, 2009

Lifting The Veil Of Mystery On Pie-Making

Years ago my brother changed my must-make-everything-to-perfection existence with one simple sentence: "We ain't makin' watches.". That sentiment applied well to one particular situation then and has applied to many more since. I used to avoid trying something if I thought I could not do it perfectly. Now I try any darn thing I feel like and have yet to fail!

So let's apply the "We ain't makin' watches" to one of those elusive, mysterious things that only somebody else's grandma is supposed to be able to do - pie making!

We've got fruit trees so we make fruit pies, mainly. Here's what we do.

We put some fruit in a pan with just enough water to get it simmering. Once the fruit starts to break down a bit, we add a couple tablespoons of cornstarch, stirring it in. We then add 1/3 cup or so of sugar, stir in and bring back to simmering. While the fruit filling is simmering and becoming thicker we start on the crust.

There's only 4 ingredients to pie dough - flour, salt, water and shortening. We mix 2 and 2/3 cup flour and 1 tsp. salt, add 1 cup shortening and then cut that into the flour mixture until it is crumbly.

We then add 6 tablespoons of ice water and stir to form a dough. We quickly divide this dough into 2 equal balls, set one aside and...

...pat the other one into a 8-10 inch disc (using plenty of flour). We then apply a bit of flour to a rolling pin and roll the dough out. (We skip the commonly advised "refrigerate dough for 20 minutes" as we've found it to be unnecessary). such (working it in various directions):

We the roll the dough onto the pin...

...roll it onto the pie plate, pat it in and tear off the extra, poke some holes in the bottom with a fork and bake for 8 minutes at 425 degrees F:

By this time, we'd already finished our filling so, once the crust bottom has cooked for 8 minutes, we simply pour in the filling and roll the top on:

There's a lot of fancy ways to crimp the top but we just fold under the excess and...

...use a fork to form a fluted sort of edge:

We then cut some slits in the top with a sharp knife and bake it for another 45 minutes or so at 375 degrees F. By the time we get the dishes cleaned up and coffee made, we've got pie!!

When the coffee is all gone, so is half the pie! Pie is good, darn good. Try it, we did.

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