Pies, Tarts And Pastries
The secret to any pie or pastry crust is to NOT over-work the dough! Too often we tend to get a little over-entusiastic and we knead the flakiness out of it!
This usually results in a very tough pie crust. It's always best to under-do it, unless the recipe itself states otherwise. I personally learned this the hard way! You can read about it in the Pie Crust section.
If you have a pastry cutter, use it to cut the lard into the flour, until the dough makes tiny pea-sized lumps. If you don't have a cutter, use two knives. This takes time, but is better than using your fingers, unless stipulated in the recipe.
Make a well in the center of your flour and lard mixture and add any liquid the recipe calls for and gently blend the liquid into the flour mixture with a fork. Blend until the dough "just" sticks together.
If you're making enough dough for multiple pies, grab a good handful of the mixed dough, and place place it on a lightly floured surface. Pat it, flip it to cover both sides with flour, and with a rolling pin make a 12" circle (large enough to cover the bottom and sides of your pie dish).
Grasping the edge furthest away, fold your dough in half. Gently pick up the edges at the fold and place it in your pie plate.
Unfold the dough and gently arrange it so it covers the bottom and sides of the dish.
Trim any excess with a sharp knife. I always make three or four 2" cuts in the bottom of the dough because my mother said I should! Always a good idea to do what mom says! (Actually, if you have to pre-bake the shell without the filling it helps keep it from bubbling, allowing the dough to shrink more uniformly to the pie plate.)
If this is a double crust pie, follow the same steps, folding the dough in half and placing the fold of the dough in the middle of the pie over the filling.
The crust is Crescent moon shaped. Unfold and seal the edges. Trim any excess dough.
Using your knife, score the top with thee or four slices, allowing steam to escape. If you don't do this, the upper crust will probably lift away from the bottom crust allowing spillage in your oven. It can also create a large gap between the filling and upper crust, so when you cut the pie, your crust will crack and it won't look as nice as it should.
· Pie Crusts
· Holiday Baking
· Cakes and Muffins
· Cookies, Candy, Fudge
· Diabetic Dessert Recipes and Cookbooks