Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Busy Morning

This morning I made another big batch of zucchini bread and pie crusts. I have had a good zucchini bread recipe for a long time. Until this morning, I was not happy with my pie crust recipe. It is my mom's recipe and is called "Fool-proof pie crust". Ha! It works so well for my mom. I remember, so clearly, watching her roll out her pale, thin dough on the counter. I had visions of it working just as well for me a couple months back when I decided to start making my own crust.

I tried her recipe, substituting in some whole wheat flour. It did not go as well. So, like with almost all the recipes I use, I started to fiddle with it. Now, after the third try, I have what works for me. We eat a lot of quiche around here and when I need a dessert for something, I usually make a pie since I have a lot of fruit in my freezer. I make a large batch every time so I don't have to do it as often.

My Pie Crust (adapted from my mom's recipe)

Note: I go into quite a bit of detail here, in hopes that if this is your first time making crust, the process will be clear. If it's not clear, ask me a question through a comment and I will try to clarify. This recipe makes 11 pie crusts.

7 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/4 cup butter flavored shortening (OR 1 cup shortening and 1 1/2 cup butter)
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 eggs
1 cup water
11 pie plates (the aluminum disposable ones work fine)

In the bowl of your electric mixer, blend the flours, shortening, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegar, eggs and 3/4 cup water together. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing well and adding the last 1/4 cup water if needed. The dough should be on the wet side, but because of the shortening, not be too sticky to work with.

Remove a piece of dough, a little bit bigger than the size of your fist, and roll it out onto a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Depending on how this first one goes, you may find you need to add a little more water or a little more flour. Roll the dough into a circle larger than your pie plate. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Add more dough and re-roll if your circle is not big enough. If your dough seems really soft and you are having a hard time, try putting it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes and try again.

Using a flat, metal spatula that you've dipped in flour, loosen the circle from the counter. Fold half of the circle over and onto the other half and transfer to the pie plate. Then open it back up. Starting at the center of the pie plate, gently press the crust down and up the sides, releasing any air pockets. This dough is very forgiving. If your circle isn't quite the right shape, or if you have a tear, just pull off a little more dough from the bowl and patch it- no one will know:-).

Next, trim off any extra crust with and knife and crimp the edges. Repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat...until you can bear looking at pie crust no longer.

To freeze, I stack my pie plates about 5 high with a piece of wax paper between each of them. Then, I insert my stack into a large plastic bag and close it with a twisty-tie. Grocery store produce bags work well if you have any. I reuse my plastic bags and wax paper each time.

To defrost, just set the pie crust out on the counter for about 15 minutes and it's ready to be filled and baked.


Now, if you think my children were off playing quietly while I was in the kitchen, you are sorely mistaken. They required A LOT of verbal direction from the kitchen (sometimes accompanied with a time-out). "Sam, PLEASE stop yelling at Sadie." "Sadie, do not bite Sam." "Sam, Sadie doesn't want to be a pirate right now, leave her be." "Sadie, we do NOT pee on the magnadoodle." So much for an accident-free day. And on and on it went.

There were some quiet moments. A few weeks ago at the beach, Sam and Sadie's cousins introduced them to perler beads. At the cabin last weekend, their Grandma gave Sam a tub of the beads. It is his favorite new pastime (Thank you, Grandma!!). Sadie likes to play with them, too, but this usually means she digs her little hand into the tub of beads and whirls them around, some spilling onto the floor. Here are some of Sam's creations. The square one he calls "the quilt". That's my boy!

The highlight of the morning was the play they put on for me. I was called into the playroom where Sam introduced the play by saying, "Sadie is the pirate queen and I am a prisoner". He then proceeded to stand on the arm of the couch. Sadie pushed him off and he landed (very dramatically) into a pile of couch cushions and pillows, a.k.a "the sea". Act II came when Sadie announced, "Sadie's nurn!". She became the prisoner and Sam, the pirate king. Pin It


  1. I've not experimented with the pie crust with the whole wheat but I do all my bread with whole wheat - I find you need extra liquid and fats. I don't know if that would help you or not. We don't use white flour or sugar so I've really tried experimenting with tons of combination. I find sometimes its a hit others a miss. I'm hoping to try some wheat free bread here soon. My kids (and me) are allergic. I get some good potato bread at the natural food store.
    You are really inspiring me here. I do a ton of canning and freezing but nothing like you've done. Hopefully I can start doing it again. I've been reading the urban web site. I'd like to get caught up on the chicken thing. I really miss our layers. I'm thinking if we can contain them between table scraps and food we could keep them contained in our little yard.

  2. Where do you get these pie plates? I can't do this with my ceramic and glass ones. :)

  3. Anonymous, Most of the pie plates are aluminum ones from store-bought crusts. Others are glass and metal. They all freeze fine. I pull out one in a glass dish if we are having company and use the aluminum ones if I am taking food to someone- that way, they don't have to worry about returning the pan:-).

  4. These are beautiful sights...both the plethora of eggs (trying not to be jealous) and the delicious looking pie crusts. It sounds like you had a delightful day with your children.

  5. Did this fit in your stand mixer? I tried it and it just wouldn't fit. Donyou think it would work ok wi a hand mixer?

    By the way, this recipe is great. I made it with a girlfriend and we split the pie shells. I just used my last one, and since the holidays are coming, I feel the need to make another batch.

  6. Tara,
    It does all fit in my stand mixer- I just have a standard Kitchen Aid. I do push it's limits, though. I'm not sure how a hand mixer would work- I use the dough hook with my stand mixer. You can always use a spoon and then work it with your hands. It will take some elbow grease, but that's what women did before mixers, right? You can do it! I'm so glad you like the recipe:-).

  7. I tried this crust last week, and I must say I think it is my new go-to-recipe. It makes an awesome quiche, eventually I will try it with something sweet. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Thinking ahead to the holidays,I always make a pumpkin and apple pie for Thanksgiving and this year will also make a pecan one. However, 11 pie crusts are too many for me at one time. Can you adapt your recipe for a single crust or a couple? I thoroughly enjoy your blog. I live abroad and can't always get the ingredients mentioned, but I do try the recipes I can make.

  9. How do you make the bottom of your pie crusts so flat? They are beautiful!

  10. Eggs that are about a week old peel better than fresh day old eggs.
    Salt helps prevent eggs cracking during cooking.
    Put cold or room temp. eggs in pot, covering with water.
    Sprinkle salt in water.Bring to boil.Cover. Reduce heat to #1 or simmer.
    Time for 20 minutes. Rinse in cold water. Peel.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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