Saturday, January 23, 2010

National Pie Day...YUM

National Pie Day is to be celebrated by baking, eating, and sharing pies. As pies are my favorite dessert to make, don't you all wish you were living next door right about now? LOL

Okay, the base of a great pie is a great pie crust. I admit to being a bit of a crust snob too. I've never used the pre-made stuff because my mom gave me her recipe, which I have no idea where she got, and I'd rather bake from scratch than use the pre-made stuff -- see? I'm a food snob.

Never Fail Pie Crust

1 pound lard ** (this can be a tough one to find -- in some stores you'll find it over by the bacon, etc.; some stores have it over next to the Crisco, etc.; sometimes you'll find it packaged by the pound and others in big 5 pound cans)
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar (I prefer the cider)
2/3 cups water

Blend together lard, flour, and salt -- coarse crumbs. Whip up egg, add sugar, vinegar, and water. Add egg mix to flour mix and blend into ball. You'll want to put in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling.

Stores in fridge for about a month and makes approximately 5 single crust pies.

** Note about the lard: this is rendered pig fat and I know a lot of people have a problem with this. I've used butter -- NOT margarine -- before with okay results. I have a problem with products like Crisco so have never tried that but it might work. All I can say is with the lard the crust rolls beautifully and cooks up perfectly flaky every single time!

Sadly, no pictures because I can't find my cable to download from the camera. You'll just have to trust me that these are some yummy pies, LOL

Today's pies are two of my favorites:

All-American Apple Pie

6 tart apples
1/2 cup each granulated sugar and brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons butter

Combine sugars, spices, and lemon rind. Roll out pie crust and fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Peel apples and slice. Place half the apples in the pan. Top with half the raisins. Repeat layers. Sprinkle sugar mixture over top. Dot with butter. Roll out more pie crust and cover pie. Trim and press rim with a fork. Cut slits in top for steam to escape. Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes or till apples are soft and crust golden.

Chocolate Chess Pie

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can (5.33 oz.) evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Roll out pie crust and fit into a 9 inch pie pan. In mixing bowl, mix together butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt till well combined. Add eggs. Beat by hand for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and vanilla. Fold in pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. Pipe whipped cream around edges.

Both pie recipes come from My Great Recipe Cards.


Maria Zannini said...

I am saving your pie crust recipe!

My crusts taste okay, but they always look like accident victims.

My elderly neighbor once tried to teach me, but I think I overwork the dough too much and loses its elasticity. But I don't remember her using lard or vinegar, so I'm going to try your way next.


marilyn said...

To add to your pastry info:
I first encountered the results when Dad & I were in the little church in Victoria BC (early 60's).
At a church dinner, I complimented the pie maker on her crust, because I had never had luck with pie crust. Hers was tender & flaky. She gave me her recipe and the nice thing about it is that you can re-roll it 2 or 3 times if you have to and it still comes out tender & flaky - hence the title "Never Fail Pie Crust". I think the vinegar also is a factor in the flakyiness.
When we left to come down here to the States, I was given a recipe book that contained the recipe. I don't know who the originator of the recipe is, but the results sure are great.
I still have some dough left from Christmas pies. Guess I better get busy.