Friday, April 15, 2011

Pie crusts are the bases of all good pie; as family is for a good life.

I don't actually remember when my mom came across the "never fail" pie crust recipe. I have my suspicions that she read it in a magazine or got it from a friend when we lived in Grangeville. My mother really grew as a cook when we lived there. She was just starting to live again after being depressed for years after her mother had died. She became the good cook she still is there. She to this day makes lots of great pies and the never fail crust gives her a good base to do so.

The never fail crust for those that don't know, as tweak by generational use in our families, is as follows: I always make two double crusted pies, one extra to gift, freeze or for lots of pie cookies.

3 cups of flour (all purpose, wheat or combination)
1cup of lard (it is best but Crisco or butter will work) cold and diced up
1/2 teaspoon optional

Mix together to make a gravelly like flour mixture.

Beat together, 1 egg, 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a small bowl. Add to the flour/fat mixture until it just forms a ball, do not over knead or it will toughing up. Wrap in plastic and chill half hour or more, is best, but if you don't have time you can use without chilling. Roll into round crusts for the pie size you are making.

I had a childhood friend who's mom said you could tell how good a marriage you would have by how nice a round you could roll, I don't know that that is true but you can bet I have always strived to roll a nice round one, roll, quarter turn, roll. I have since noticed Martha Stewart uses the same technique to roll hers. I don't think she invented it but got it from her mother as well.

I have another friend, about my mothers age, that told a story to her daughters, one of which is my friend Going. The prince of the land made a proclamation, much like in Cinderella, that he was going to go into the land and check pastry boards and find the pastry board that had the most flour on it to find a wife. The pastry board was to have flour on it because a good pie baker would use it so much bits of the pastry and flour would still be on the board. The Prince looked far and wide but couldn't find the one that he would choose. One day he came to a house where the beautiful girl had made a pie but as she was not a pig, she cleaned the pastry board up right away. The prince took her straight away to become the princess; The morel of the story was that it is great to make a good pie but a real cook cleans up the mess, who wants to bake in a dirty kitchen. 

I think that as I talk to my friends about childhood things and cooking with our mothers we almost all have a story that includes making a pie. Besides cookie making, mothers probably make more memories with their children, in the kitchen, while making a pie.  I know that I have spent untold hours with all of my kids, girls and my son making pies. We always used the extra crust to make pie cookies. The child's first experience with their own dough was the piece they rolled to make pie cookies. Almost all first attempts at pie cookies are streaked and mess colored, from the re rolling and re rolling a small child will do to make it just right in the own little minds, not to mention they have to get it just right, almost always tough, thinner, thicker and any number of shapes but a master piece none the less. My little girls soon advanced from pie cookies to crust pinching, their little fingers trying to push their little fingers just so, coping momma, to make the crust pretty, I find 2 year old pinch crust is my favorite crust of all.

I don't care what kind of pie you make, the time spent with your daughters and sons, making them, is time you will never forget; you are making much more than a pie. The family bond you are creating will never be broken, the child will not remember the pie, may not even remember their first attempts, you will, but they will remember that momma loved them and had time to just play with them in the kitchen, priceless time. ..... tomorrow.

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