Yesterday, Ancestors in Aprons posted a pie crust recipe. The perfect pie crust recipe, she calls it. No way, I thought. MY pie crust recipe is the best. When I clicked over, though, I was surprised to see that her recipe—one passed down through the generations—is very similar to my recipe, which came from my grandma.
Both of the recipes call for an unexpected ingredient: vinegar. I’ve always thought that was the secret to the wonderful flavor of this crust. I’ve modified Grandma’s pie crust recipe a bit—I use butter instead of Crisco—but it’s still our go-to recipe for pie making.
Grandma’s Pie Crust
Makes two crusts
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups butter, chilled
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vinegar (here’s why I use real apple cider vinegar )
Measure flour and salt into large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until you have a fine crumble. Crack egg into measuring cup; add vinegar and then enough water to make 7/8 of a cup, more or less. Use fork to whisk egg mixture together. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients almost all at once. (I usually hold out about a quarter of a cup.) Mix with the fork, gently gathering the dough from the outside of the bowl. Add the rest of the liquid if necessary. Do not over mix. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer – just be sure not to over mix.
As soon as the dough comes together, turn it out onto a floured surface. Use your hands to carefully press the dough together—you’re not kneading here, just binding the ingredients together in a solid mass. Divide dough evenly, then roll out on a liberally floured surface. Fold the dough in half for easy lifting, then move into a pie pan. (I just use a simple glass pie pan like this.)
For a single crust pie like pumpkin or lemon merengue, tuck the dough edges under and then crimp all around. For a filled pie, add a generous amount of filling, and top with the second crust. Roll both dough edges under at the rim of the pie pan, and crimp them together. Crimping is an art! Perfect crimping takes years of practice. (My pies are still not as beautiful as my mom’s, but I’ve got her apple pie recipe down pat. You should try it.)
These days, my youngest son is in charge of our holiday pies. Let me tell you, folks. If my teenager can tackle pie crust made from scratch, you can too! No more Mrs. Smith’s frozen pies for you.
Want to learn to make more of your own pantry staples?
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