My mother was an expert pie maker. Her crusts were perfect, thin and tender and she always knew just the right amount of sugar and thickening agent to add to any fruit. That type of skill comes from many practice runs. Years ago, she found this recipe for perfect pie crust, which beyond the standard combination of fat and flour, has also an egg and a touch of vinegar (to keep the dough from getting tough) and a tablespoon of sugar (to help with browning). It is one of those recipes that will make a novice pie baker successful and an experienced pie baker extraordinary.
1 pie, serves 6
Equipment: 9 1/2" Pyrex pie pan and rolling pin
Perfect Pie Crust
Makes 2 double crusts
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ¾ cup shortening - preferably organic, non-hydrogenated such as Spectrum
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ cup cold water
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine
Add the shortening and with your fingers mix in the shortening until ingredients are crumbly and the size of a pea
Combine the wet ingredients and add to the shortening mixture
Stir until well combined
Gather the dough and divide into four quarters
Pat into four disks and wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
This dough freezes well, save the other double crust
The family favorite pie apple was Mutsu, also known as a Crispin, I used Ginger Gold for this pie. Every apple will give a slightly different result so go ahead and experiment, you can also mix. Some others to try: Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Jonagold or Braeburn.
5-6 cups apples, peeled, seeded and sliced
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoon tapioca flour (depending on how juicy)
2 tablespoon butter (dot with the butter after you put them in the pie shell)
Toss the apples with the sugar, cinnamon and tapioca flour
Remove two disks from the refrigerator and roll the first disk out into an even circle about 12", large enough to line the bottom of the pie pan and above the edge by about 1/2"
Fill the pie shell with the apple mixture and dot with butter
Roll the second crust to the same size, If you would like to do small cut outs, do this before you place the crust on top - otherwise you can just prick the crust to allow the steam to escape after the top crust is in place.
Fold the top crust over the bottom crust to seal and cut away any excess dough
To seal the dough, either crimp the edges or use a fork and press down lightly all around the pie edge
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 325 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly
Let the pie cool to room temperature for the juices to absorb
I love this pie crust!