When I was a small child I called my Grandmother, “Mamaw”. As I got older I started to call her Grandma, I don’t know how that happened, really. But when I wanted something I reverted back to calling her Mamaw.
Mamaw/Grandma was a superlative cook. Every time I went to her house I learned something about cooking, mostly because I was a real pest. Always asking questions, always wanting to know. She didn’t seem to mind, she was always a willing teacher. Always I hope I can be like that for my children and grandchildren and others too.
This is her pie crust recipe. She didn’t write it down; I did. I guess it would have never been written down if it had been up to her. Its a really good, flaky crust. It makes 4 crusts.
4 cups flour (If you use whole wheat, be sure to use pastry flour)
1 – 3/4 cup shortening, lard, or coconut oil – I prefer lard and I chill it before I use it in pie crusts.
1 Tblsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tblsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (you can use white vinegar)
1/2 cup cold water – really, ice water. I put water over some ice and use that really cold water. The colder the better.
Mix flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening, lard, or coconut oil. If you haven’t chilled the lard, it won’t cut in as well, but it will work.
Add liquids, mix well, cover the dough and let chill in the frig about an hour. I think lard works better than coconut oil. It makes the crust flakier and more tender. Coconut oil tends to make the crusts kind of dry.
Here’s a 21st century tip for making pie crusts: use your food processor. If Mamaw had had one, she would have used it. Come to think of it she did have one, but she didn’t use it much for anything.
Put all your ingredients EXCEPT the water in the food processor bowl. Lock it down and turn it on, then drip the ice water in a little at a time. As SOON as it comes together in a ball its ready. Don’t over process.
Divide chilled dough into 4 equal sized balls, flatten with your hand into discs. At this point you can roll out the dough into pie sized pieces and use the dough for a pie or you can freeze the dough.
To freeze the dough: Flatten with your hand, then roll out into pie sized discs, place waxed paper between each piece of rolled out dough and then wrap it up really well and freeze it. You can also go ahead and put the dough into pie plate, wrap them up really well and freeze them. Be sure to label them. That’s the way I prefer. I can just pull one out put the filling in and go.
When you’re ready to use them, just defrost and use as you would a freshly made crust. Don’t try to handle a frozen, rolled out pie crust, it will break. That’s why its a good idea to roll them out and freeze them in a pie plate.
If you want to bake it ahead of putting your filling in it, bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. You can cover the crust with foil to keep it from getting too brown. You can also cover the bottom of the crust with a piece of foil and cover that with raw beans to keep the crust from bubbling up too much.