We have to have a talk. It’s necessary. It’s…about….pie.
If I had been prepared (or known) I would have done this post last week on Pi Day, but I wasn’t so here we are. Pie. It’s possibly the world’s most important food in my opinion, and the art of making pie is something that every cook NEEDS to know. Why? Because once you understand pie making, it opens up a world of easy, inexpensive and mind-blowing meals and desserts that you can whip up, many times without even having to go grocery shopping.
Let’s start with crust. It’s not difficult. You need 3 ingredients (4 if you count water) – flour, Crisco (or butter), salt. That’s it. Yet the prospect of making pie crust to most people seems completely unfathomable. Here’s why. If you know how to make pie crust, it’s practically impossible to tell someone else exactly how to do it. You just know what it’s supposed to look and feel like. AND if you follow a recipe, it’s almost guaranteed to not turn out the way you want it to. It’s because there are all of these subtle variables that no one can explain, but that can make the difference between an amazing crust and a huge disaster. From the temperature of the Crisco, the humidity in your kitchen, the material of your counter top, it could be anything. But once you get the hang of it, nothing could be easier and you can whip up a pie crust in less than 5 minutes. And once you can do that, you can make a pie out of almost anything. Here’s what I do for a single crust pie:
- Put a little over 1 cup of flour in a bowl, add a generous pinch of salt and mix it around
- Add a few tablespoons of cold Crisco in pieces and then mix everything together with your fingertips for a couple of minutes until all of the flour is incorporated into the Crisco and the mixture resembles course corn meal. *If you’re a beginner, it may be easier to go a little heavy on the Crisco as this will ensure your crust comes together, but as you get better at it you’ll learn what proportions work well for you.
- Now, sprinkle just about 2 tablespoons of cold water to the mix and lightly toss it all together with your fingers. If you think it’s enough to make it form into a ball, do so. If not, add tiny amounts of water until you can. Too much water will make your crust tough.
- Once you have a ball, flatten it into a disk and roll it our on a floured surface. If you had a heavy hand with the Crisco, you will need to use a lot of flour or your crust will stick, but it should be pretty forgiving.
- Then just transfer the crust onto a pie pan, trim and pinch the edges, and you’re ready to fill it with whatever fruit, custard, nuts, etc that you have in the house (within reason). Voila!
I had some buttermilk left over from my soda bread, so I decided to make one of my favorites – a buttermilk pie! It’s delicious
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugar. Then add the flour and combine
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk, salt and vanilla until they are well combined
Pour the egg mixture into the sugar mixture and blend well, then pour it all into the prepared crust
If desired, sprinkle the top with a pinch of nutmeg
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes. The top should be golden and the middle should not giggle when you shake it
Cool completely and serve at room temperature.