Do you remember that scene from Man on Fire where Denzel is trying to get Dakota not to flinch when she jumps from the diving block into the pool? Oh, am I the only one obsessed with that movie? Sorry. If you’re ever looking for a good ugly cry, turn it on. Anyway, to get her to jump, he has to convince her that “the gunshot holds no fear.” She repeats it again and again until finally, she takes off without a second thought.
Dear readers, Dakota and the gunshot = me and pie crust.
I don’t know what it is. I don’t bat an eye at AGOMYR asking me to make her wedding cupcakes but mixing some flour and butter gives me pause? I mix flour and butter all the time, and there has yet to be a great disaster. I think the trepidation comes from people’s intensity over exactly what constitutes the best pie crust. The butter vs. Crisco vs. some of each wars are real. The only recipe I feel that strongly about is cream cheese frosting (you can never have enough cream cheese in cream cheese frosting!), but who else cares about that?
So while people assure me that my cakes are great, and these brownies are amazing, I love this cookie, and OMG this cheesecake, I smile, attempt to be gracious, and still don’t think of myself as a baker.
Bakers make pies.
There is a legendary CV(D) story involving her rudely mouthing, “WHAT. IS. THIS?” at her mother at a Thanksgiving table when a crust didn’t measure up to her own. Turns out someone tried to slip a store-bought crust on the table and pass it off as acceptable. It was not. She brags about this pie crust the whole year long, though I’m fairly certain it’s only a part of her life a couple times a year. PKV is the undisputed queen of the crusts.
So CV(D) started coaching me in the art of pie crust making, via text message, mostly.
These were helpful, but didn’t do much to quell my nerves.
Nonetheless, I was responsible for all dessert efforts at not one but two Thanksgivings. And Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without pie(s). So I went to work with the recipe her mom swears by, the Betty Crocker recipe, and CV(D)/PKV’s tips.
And in about 5 minutes, I had 3 crusts chilling in the fridge. They were so easy to make by hand, and I was thrilled not to have to wash the food processor at the end of it all. Taste-wise, I don’t know how they measure up to the ones that CV(D) holds in such high esteem, but I do know that I got my fair share of compliments on them. These crusts make me think that maybe, just maybe, I could get pie on the table more than once a year.
To make a perfect baked pie crust, you will need:
- To read the tips from PKV, via CV(D) in the screen-shotted text messages above
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 C Crisco
- 2-3 T ice cold water
Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in Crisco using a pastry cutter, or two knives (pulling across the bowl in opposite directions), until Crisco is the size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and toss with a fork, until the dough starts to pull together, and pastry almost leaves the sides of the bowl.
Gather the dough into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 45 minutes, if not overnight.
When you’re ready to roll out the dough, flour the surface on which you will roll it, and flour the rolling pin. If your crust has been in the fridge overnight, you may need to take it out two minutes in advance of rolling.
If the recipe you’re using calls for prebaked pie crust, you want to preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Roll the dough to a circle large enough to cover your pie dish. Lift the dough according to PKV’s instructions (by rolling it back onto the rolling pin), and gently drape over the pie plate. Press into bottom and sides of pan, and use your fingers to crimp the edges, if you want to be all fancy. I have enough going on when making pie crust that I never really worry about crimping. I just smush whatever part hangs over the edge with my fingers. Prick the bottom and sides of your crust with a fork, and bake 8-10 minutes, until crust starts turning light brown in color.