If you know me as more than just a passing acquaintance, I’ve probably made you a pie. It is what I do – I feed people because I care about them. In the not-so-distant past I had a dream that some day I would own my own little pie shop where my sister and I could bake and serve pies and pastries to fill the world with love.
Because pie = love.
If you’re extra special and I like you even more, I’ve probably made you a pie that has no recipe. A pie with no recipe? How can this be? It can be if the recipe I use is from MY HEAD. Yep, you heard me: a random, made-up, let’s-put-this-in-too concoction of pastry goodness. Not unlike Jenna from one of my favourite movies, Waitress. In fact, one of my first made-up pies was inspired by said movie. In it, Andy Griffiths (yep, that Andy Griffiths) describes Jenna’s “Strawberry Chocolate Oasis” pie. I took it as a challenge to see how close I could get to creating something as mouthwatering as his description.
But all that aside, what makes a good pie into a great pie is the foundation of all things pie: the crust. Without a good crust, your pie might well fall apart (literally) or become a unfortunate brick with your favourite filling trapped inside. Luckily my mother, to whom I once proclaimed, “Pie is so harrrrrrrrrrrrd”, passed along her recipe for a four ingredient crust. And one of the ingredients is water.
Nope, I’m not joking. You (YES, you!) can make this pie crust in your sleep. Never again will you proclaim pie is too hard because it is not! Never again will you say, “You want me to make what?!” because you can! I should probably not be sharing this recipe with you in case I ever do open that pie shop, but I figure that the more pie in this world, the more love there will be. So pie for ALL! (Click the title to download the printable.)
2 cups pastry flour
1 cup Crisco
1/4 cup cold water
pinch of salt
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Mix by hand until blended. Divide in half. Flatten and roll to desired thickness. Makes one double crust or two singles.
- Filled double crust: 425F for 40-50 mins
- Unbaked shell with cooked filling (ie, lemon meringue): prick pastry; 425F for 12-15 mins, then cool before adding filling
- Unbaked shell with uncooked filling (ie, pumpkin pie): do not prick; fill shell; 450F for 10 mins, then 350F for 30-40 mins
Yes, I realize this is extremely non-specific. That’s the whole point! But if I may impart some pointers:
- Use pastry flour – the better the quality (ie, more expensive), the better the crust. For dog’s sake do not use regular flour as it will turn into something less malleable than a rock.
- Use Crisco. Don’t use Tenderflake or pure lard or anything else but Crisco. It’s the leavening properties of the Crisco combined with just the right amount of oil that cause this crust to be so flaky.
- Yes, actually use cold water. I know, I know. Fussy.
- By a pinch, I mean a pinch. I usually just shake my salt shaker into the bowl a couple times and voila! You’re done.
You can halve the recipe easily – it’s 2 tbsps of water if you don’t want to do the math yourself. I have shared this recipe with the most reluctant of bakers, and everyone has commented on how wonderful their pies turned out. Since it’s a non-sweet pastry, you can use it for tarts or tourtiere too. Now that you all know my secret crust recipe, I expect pies, people! Because as we know, pie equals love.