Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pillsbury? Pshaw. I have Grandma Kahn's.

This week we are making the pie crust for the Thanksgiving pies. When I am done forming them, I will freeze them until the day before Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas Eve. We will be using Grandma Kahn's Perfect Pie Crust. Previously I used wax paper for my pie crusts. But for a couple years now I've been using cereal bags.

I just open them at the seams and use just like wax paper. After I have all four circles of pie crust wrapped nicely in cereal bags I put them in one bag, label with a sharpie "Nikki's coveted pie crust" and the date.

When you are done with a box of cereal, shake out the crumbs and save the bag. I like to save the cereal bags in a cereal keeper from Tupperware. I feel good knowing I'm recycling these bags and that they work much better than wax paper. Cereal bags are also great for crushing cracker crumbs in and shake and bake type recipes.
Now to the pie crust. Click on the link above to my post about Grandma's pie crust. It will open in a new window so you can toggle back and forth if you need to.

The key I believe with preparing your own flaky-shatter-at-the-touch-of-a-fork pie crust is in not over-kneading. Step 3 where it says, ". . . add to flour mixture and stir until moistened," do just that. Stir until moistened. Then stop. Do not knead and knead until it resembles playdough. It does not need to have a consistent smoothness to it. In fact, when I get to step 4, "Divide dough into 4 portions and shape each in a flat circle . . ." it is quite crumbly and falling apart. This would've bothered me years ago, but I've learned with baking that patience is the key.

I mend the crust when I'm rolling it out. If it's too moist (ugh, hate that word) and sticking to the rolling pin, then I dust a little flour on. If it's too dry and cracking and falling apart much too easily, I use a little water. Don't pour it on. Just dip your clean fingers into a small bowl of cold water and sprinkle it on. Seriously like a drop or too. Not even a half teaspoon.
I was twelve or thirteen when I made my first pie crust. It was for a dessert contest at Young Women's. I made Lemon Meringue Pie. I was so frustrated with the pie crust- mostly the rolling part. It turned out hideous but tasted really good. I was tired out from it and didn't try crusts again until I was eighteen or nineteen.
Pie crust gets easier with every try. But you can't let it go six years in between-- or you won't remember the tips and which parts you want to modify. Try it out on your family first. Make pot pies or meat pies. If it's REALLY bad on Thanksgiving, say your four year old helped you. ;)
To me this makes sense. If it doesn't to you, leave your question in the comments and I'll do my best to clarify. I'll post my pics when Danny is home to remind me yet again how to upload them. Or download. Whatever.


Lisa said...

That's so awesome! I just taught a class on making pie crust, and I used the tips my mom gave me. Instead of mixing with a fork or by hand, we put our ingredients in a tupperware, snap on the lid, and shake. It really helps prevent over-mixing because you don't agitate it as much. Also, keeping all your ingredients in the fridge for at least an hour (even the flour) before mixing and another hour before rolling allows the fat to melt slower in the oven, and therefore helps keep a really flaky texture. Although, if you're freezing it, this isn't as necessary a step.

I think everyone has these old tips and tricks to use, and I'm glad--I need all the help I can get! :)

Rach said...

aaahh yes mom's best pie crust. I make them & I get GREAT & FABULOUS reviews...even a friend of ours where his mom owned a dessert shop said mine were better!! yes thanks mom. I love them.

Cynthia said...

I love this! Thank you! I am doing the exact same thing you are this week. The best part of Thanksgiving is the PIE~! The only difference is that I make mini-pies so everyone can have several different flavors and it's easy to send the leftovers home with other family members (thus saving what's left of my waistline!

Oh- and my Christmas cookies are baked and in the freezer. Clearly, we're on the same wavelength here. I love baking too.

Oh- and I popped over from the MMB in case you are wondering. LOL!

Leslie said...

I haven't tried this recipe in years because I've been using Joyce' recipe (Troy's mom) which is basically flour, butter and cream cheese. Her's is a dream to roll out and looks gorgeous every time but the last few times I've made it I almost feel like it tastes too rich and competes with the taste whatever pie filling I've used. So I think I'll give Grandma Kahn's recipe a try again. Thanks!


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