How to make a Pie Crust

Ok, I’ll just show you how I do it, but don’t expect alot of tips and all. Who knows, after this post, you might be giving me a lot of tips! ūüėČ That would be great, it would make us all better pie crust makers. And you might laugh at how I do it, for example,¬†I use Saran Wrap in the pie-crust-making process. *Huh?!*

Warning: Eyes may glaze over… there are lots of pictures and it got a little wordy. :)

First, the recipe. This is the only pie crust recipe I use and I don’t even try others because this one works great and has only 4 ingredients and¬†it gets¬†compliments now and then:

Pie Crust

1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup¬†butter-flavored shortening (Does shortening have an ‘e’ in it? I keep adding then erasing it. I should go look on the can.)
3 Tbsp. ice water

I put the flour and¬†salt into a bowl and give it a few stirs w\ the teaspoon that¬†I measured the salt with. Yeah, I about always measure stuff, I’m not one of those ‘just dump it in’ people.¬†Then, I mix the shortening in with a potato masher…
pie-crust2.jpg¬† I’ve tried a pastry blender, two knives, a fork, and nothing works quite as good as a potato masher.¬†
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When it looks about like this, pour the water in all at once and quickly stir it with a fork. More like pourthewaterinallatonceandquicklystiritwithafork. Not sure why, but I feel some urgency to get it stirred in, maybe because I’m afraid it would soak into the part where it’s pooled, then not get evenly dispersed. Anyway,¬†I think that little tidbit might fall under the category of ‘Weird Quirks’ instead of ‘Pie-Crust-Making Tips’.

When it looks like this,
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stop stirring and get a piece of Saran wrap, lay it on the counter, and sprinkle it with flour. Then, with your hands, get all the dough and squeeze it together into a ball, then flatten it a bit and put it on the floured Saran wrap.
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Sprinkle flour over the top.
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Take the rolling pin and roll it this way,
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then that way.
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Sprinkle some more flour on because the rolling pin will be starting to stick a little.
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Roll it out some more till it’s a couple inches bigger than the pie plate all the way around. Put one hand under the Saran wrap and the other hand on the back of the pie plate, and flip¬†the whole works¬†over.
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Peel off the Saran wrap. Now, here’s an actual tip: Instead of just pressing the crust down into the pan, lift it up off the edge and let it line the pan without pushing down on it. Otherwise it will stretch the dough, then it’ll shrink when it bakes. I don’t really know how to explain it, but just¬†DON’T make the dough stretch by pressing it down into where the side and bottom of pan meet.
pie-crust14.jpg¬†You can’t really see it, but I’m not just pressing the dough down in with my fingertips… I’m lifting up the edge and putting it down in to line the ‘corner’. Once it’s all in there, press down a little around the top edge, this’ll make it easier to cut the extra dough¬†off. Take a knife and cut it off.
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Here’s where my extra dough always goes…
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And she’d get my camera and take pictures of her own pie dough creations. Close up pictures. And the camera would focus on stuff behind the subject being photographed…
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I usually crimp the edges of the dough between my thumb and finger.
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Poke the bottom and side of crust with a fork.
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Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. And you’ve got a pie crust.
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Yeah, it does shrink just a¬†tiny bit, but it’s good enough for me.¬†I’d rather have that than¬†mess with putting beans in it to bake it.

And, last but not least,¬†the famous pie crust question… Is it flaky? I think so…
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Now, let’s hear from you…¬†I know alot of you out there make pies. Please give us some more tips! :)

Peanut Butter Pie!

I¬†get cravings for this pie. And it’s so easy to make. And you can make it and put it in the fridge and it cools down and firms up¬†in less than¬†3 hours. I’ve already got the craving in the morning, made it, and had a piece for lunch. Mmmmm, now I’m¬†thinking afternoon snack today…

This recipe comes from the Derstine cookbook. But I skip the meringue. Meringue on peanut butter pie?! No way! What’s crazy is that most regular peanut butter pie recipes have meringue. One time I tried it and it just seemed really weird. Maybe because Mom always made it without the meringue. I guess people put it on because the filling takes egg yolks and then what do you do with the eggs whites?

I should actually study up on eggs a bit. When I make something that takes yolks only, I throw away the whites. When I make something with whites only, I throw away the yolks. I do wonder how long yolks or whites would last in the fridge if I’d save them. And I also wonder about freezing them… on that laminated substitution chart that I have (part of it is posted here), for the “when you’re out of eggs” part, one of the substitutions is 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp thawed frozen egg. Probably they would only work in baking or cooking. I’m out of eggs right now and couldn’t even make pancakes this morning! And I can’t even make¬†that peanut butter pie that I’m craving! Oh, hey, speaking of peanut butter pie…

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Peanut Butter Pie

Printable recipe

1/3 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 9″ baked pastry shell

Filling:
1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. white sugar
2 c. milk (always use whole milk, it turns out much better)
2 tsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Combine filling ingredients and cook in heavy saucepan over medium heat until thick, stirring often.
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Blend peanut butter and powdered sugar. Sprinkle 2/3 of mixture into baked shell. Pour filling on top.
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Sprinkle with remaining peanut butter crumbs.
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I think I’ll just leave the meringue details off of here because I’m afraid then you’d be tempted to make it with the meringue.

Note of interest: That picture up there where I’m pouring the piping hot filling into the crust was taken at 8:54 a.m. on July 10. And this picture¬†was taken at 11:39 a.m. on July 10.¬†That’s how fast it cools down and sets up!
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I won’t clutter this post with it, but sometime I want to¬†feature making a pie crust, how I do it anyway.¬†I’m not a pro and don’t really have secret tips and techniques, but¬†they don’t shrink and they taste fine. I counted up what¬†I can remember and I’ve rolled out¬†about 20 pie crusts in the last 2 months, and enjoyed every minute of it. Most of those pies were for bake sales, we don’t eat THAT much pie! Two of those pies were peanut butter pies, um… not for bake sales. But I did give one of them away. I made one to go with a meal for a new mom and then got home and was feeling like I had slighted myself by not getting to eat any (I could not figure out a way to take a piece without her noticing it, that’s what’s nice about bars… you can bake a panful, put them out on a plate, snitch a few, and¬†the recipient¬†will never know ūüėČ ). So, anyway, this no-peanut-butter-pie-for-me thing was still bugging me the next day, so¬†I made one for me… the very one that’s featured above.

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Edit: (This will make more sense if you’ve read the comments on this post.) I tried peanut butter pie with Cool Whip…
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It was great. It added something to the looks of it. I still prefer the taste of it without the Cool Whip though. I’ll put it on now and then, especially if I’m taking it away somewhere. But if I’m making it to settle a craving for me, it’ll be without. Richer-looking: WITH. Richer-tasting: WITHOUT. That is, of course, just my opinion. :)

Silk Chocolate Pie w\ Chocolate Curls

Silk is right. I wonder whoever came up with that term for pie. But it fits this one. Smooth as silk. And creamy and light. Light as in not heavy, not light as in diet. Far from it!

My grandma always said that she likes to make pies better than she likes to eat them. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like pie! Sometimes while I’m making pie, I wonder if I have reached that same status now. Then, I eat a piece and decide I’m not quite there yet. BUT, this pie may have been an exception. Not that the pie itself was so fun to make. The fun was in the garnishing… chocolate curls.

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This recipe is taken from my newest cookbook… Simply with Taste. I got it about a week ago. I love it! Sometime, I’ll tell you more about it and its nice¬†features. This silk chocolate pie is the first recipe I tried from it.

Silk Chocolate Pie

Printable recipe

1 pkg. (4 oz) Bakers German sweet chocolate
2 Tbsp. milk
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 cups whipped topping
2 baked or graham cracker pie crusts

Microwave the chocolate along with the 2 Tbsp milk on high at 20-30 second intervals until chocolate is melted, stirring frequently. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and 1/4 cup milk until smooth; add the chocolate
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and mix until well blended.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Fold in the whipped topping.
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Spoon into the prepared crusts. May freeze if desired, or use within a day. Top with whipped topping and chocolate curls for garnish.
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And now for the fun… How to Make Chocolate Curls

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Melt about a 1/2 cup chocolate chips w\ about 1 Tbsp. of shortening.
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Spread into a thin layer on the back of a metal cookie sheet.
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Put in the freezer for 3 minutes. Take it out of the freezer.¬†Immediately, take a flat tool of some sort (I used my Pampered Chef little square scraper that’s actually for cleaning stoneware,¬†I use that little thing for alot of stuff!) and hold it at about 45 degrees and push down and across the baking sheet. The chocolate should curl right up.
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If it just breaks, wait a minute or 2 to let the chocolate soften, then try again. If it doesn’t curl, put it back in the freezer for another minute or so. Depending how long it takes to curl all the chocolate, you may have to put it back in the freezer to harden up again before you’re done. Use a toothpick or utensil of some sort¬†to move the rolls to a plate and put them in the refrigerator. When they’re good and hard again, you can put them in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Or you can just put them on the pies like I did.

Mini Cherry Pies – Cooks in Training #1

Ok, we’re going to have 2 dessert posts in a row. But I’m fine with that… you know the saying, “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first”. And when Lexi tries to talk me into letting her have 2 cookies right before supper and¬†I tell her to wait till after supper because she won’t be hungry and she reasons ‘But if I wait till after, I might not be hungry for the cookies and I’d rather eat the cookies now and not be hungry for the chicken and stuff for supper’, I see her point and actually agree with her. There are very few foods that I like better than cookies. So, yeah, she got that honestly… the willingness to ‘wreck’ a meal by eating dessert first. Which isn’t wrecking the meal at all because the cookies are better than the meal.

In case you’re getting worried, we don’t actaully eat dessert first around here. We just discuss it.¬†I actually don’t usually even make dessert at mealtime because we’re¬†often too full for it anyway.¬†So our cookies and pies and milkshakes and stuff are more often an¬†evening snack for us.

With this post, I’m starting a series called “Cooks in Training”. Guess what that is… anybody have little people in the house? Do¬†our weekly recipe with them. They’ll love it! And you actually will too, just relax and picture the worst case scenario and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it didn’t go too bad. :) My main job was using a rag before the messes took over my kitchen. Lexi (5) and Tiffany (2) did all the work except for the¬†little bit that I¬†did to show them how to do it. I’m not sure how long this will last as being weekly… hopefully I’m not burned out by the 3rd week!

We were grocery shopping one day and Lexi saw some cute little pre-made¬†graham crusts in a pack of 6. She did a sharp inhale and exclaimed, “Mom, look at these sweet little pies! Can we get them?” They were really cute. And only $1.25 for 6 crusts, so I quite easily gave in. Here is what we ended up doing with them:

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Mini Cherry Pies

Printable recipe 

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups cherry pie filling (or filling of your choice)
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
6 Keebler mini ready-made graham cracker crusts

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla till smooth. Spread on bottom and up sides of each crust. 
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Between this step and the next step, “Oh! We forgot our aprons. Mom, just wait. We have to go get our aprons. C’mon Tiffany.” Their aprons were made for them by their Great Grandma, the one who makes THE BEST brown sugar pie.¬†

Put about 1/4 cup pie filling on top of cream cheese mixture.
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And if any filling would happen to miss the crust and land on the counter, just lick it up. —————————————————————————¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
Melt chocolate chips and put in plastic bag. Cut off one corner and pipe the chocolate onto the filling.
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tarts6.jpg And, uh, try not to let the bag drop into the pie. That would get cherry filling on the bag and then might get your hand messy.

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Chill for an hour or two. Eat. They tasted great!

Desserts just don’t get much better than this…

I’m featuring a fudge sundae pie today that is just tops. One glance at the ingredients and you’ll see why you can’t go wrong here.¬†There are¬†not alot of recipes that each separate ingredient would be good by itself. I am, in fact, eating a piece right now. I’ll be taking a bite every couple sentences. I don’t usually eat at the computer, but I make exceptions now and then.

I remember Mom making this when¬†I was still at home. And I’ve seen this recipe now and then in different cookbooks. The cookbook I used for it this time is Cooking with the Horse and Buggy People. It says the recipes were shared by Amish ladies from Holmes County and Wayne County. So, you readers from there, here you go, a recipe from your neck of the woods…

Fudge Sundae Pie

1/4 cup corn syrup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. oleo (oops, what I said about each ingredient tasting good by itself, I take that back here, forgot about the butter when I said that!)
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies

Combine syrup, sugar, and oleo and cook over low heat until mixture begins to boil. *Another bite* Man, this stuff is good!!!
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Remove from heat and add Rice Krispies. Press evenly in greased pie pan.
Mix:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup fudge sauce
3 Tbsp. light Karo (I used the same stuff as the corn syrup above)

fudgepie9.jpg¬†I actually didn’t know what they meant by fudge sauce, but I thought¬†I couldn’t go wrong with this, so this is what I used.

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Spread half of mixture over crust.
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Spread 1 quart vanilla ice cream over mixture. Ok, I usually try to follow recipes exactly so I can feature them accurately, but once in awhile,¬†I just can’t help but substitute, like now… Caramel Collision ice cream won over boring vanilla ice cream here.
Freeze. Before serving, warm remaining sauce and drizzle over the top.
fudgepie4.jpg¬†It didn’t exactly drizzle (and I warmed it till it was bubbling), so¬†I put it into a baggie and snipped the corner off and piped it on. Maybe I used the wrong ‘fudge sauce’.

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All I can say is YUM!!!
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