My Wonderful World

W e l c o m e... And Enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Favorite Pie Crust

This has to be my favorite and easiest pastry crust.   You can "whip" it up in no time at all.  As you can see, this is NOT a butter pastry.  I don't care for crusts with butter since butter has water.  When blind baking, it creates steam when baked.  I like to use vegetable shortening since there is no water and the crust remains crispy for a few days after filling.  


Note:   Both my grandmothers were expert pie bakers.   Grandma Lola was the Cream Pie Queen while Grandma Grace was the berry pie baker.  They each were wonderful with everything they created in the kitchen and most of the time, they had to work with what they had at that time.  I can assure you that neither had air conditioning, convection ovens, food processors or any other "new fangled gadget" and a matter of fact they probably didn't have electricity in their kitchens until the middle 1940's.  Grandma told me her first electricity was a single bare light bulb that hung from the kitchen ceiling.  They didn't have any other electricity in the house since they didn't have ANY electrical appliances.  

It is hot in my kitchen today (82F.) since I do not have the A/C on.  Great breezes and actually it is quite comfortable.  Both Grandma's made pie crusts all summer long.  They didn't have to chill the dough, the flour, the butter, because they didn't have a refrigerator.  They made their crusts and I know they only used room temperature ingredients including the lard from the hog slaughter last fall.    I though I would try their kitchen conditions.  

Room temperature flour add to the bowl, added vegetable shortening, (secretly, I wish I had lard) and proceeded.  Cut in the shortening as usual.  Gathered my dough ball on the counter and brought it all together.    I let it relax for a few minutes and then proceeded to roll out the dough. It was like a miracle...no cracks or splits...it immediately rolled into a perfect circle.   Placed in my pie pan and crimped the edges, since I was going to blind bake for a cream/meringue filling.  I did put it back into the refrigerator to chill while the oven preheated to 425F.  

I like to use Pyrex glass pans for pies.   The crust color is nicer than in a metal pan.   Have a couple of extra pie pans in the kitchen...you can always use them and they are not expensive at all...about four bucks at most outlets.  

Last week, I read a great tip for blind baking your crusts.  Prepare as usual, and then put the exact pie pan on top of your pastry.  This will keep it from puffing up too much and you don't have to mess with pie weights or docking the crust with a fork.  I baked for 10 minutes at 425F., removed the top pie plate, lowered the temperature to 400 and continued to bake until golden brown.  This really works great!  Try it next time.   
  


Ready for your Favorite Filling


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Vegetable Shortening Pie Crust

Pastry


6.5 ounce flour
1/4 ts baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3.3 ounce shortening; ice cold
1 ts vinegar
2.75 ounce ice water

Add flour, baking powder and salt in work-bowl of food processor.   Pulse once or twice to combine.

Add cold vegetable shortening to bowl and pulse eight or ten times until resembles pea size pieces.  This can also be done with a pastry blender, or two knives if your don't have a food processor.

Add vinegar (produces a tender crust) and ice water.   Pulse a few times until dough comes together.  Mix with spatula if working in a large bowl.

Remove and place on plastic wrap and refrigerate for fifteen minutes for dough to relax.

Proceed as usual with filling of choice, or blind bake at 425F for a nice pastry shell.

Notes:  ©WHStoneman

Yield: 9" crust


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Bon Appétit and Enjoy 
YOUR Wonderful World!

Great Tip for Fresh Berries

A friend of mine shared this tip with me a few weeks ago, and it really, really works. When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water.  Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted I find you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge.

 

The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and I've had strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.

 

Bon Appétit and Enjoy 
YOUR Wonderful World!

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Where Does Time go to....?

Seems like yesterday, it was the first of March...and now we are in the middle of April.   Many things going on including a great Easter Trip to St. Pete Beach to visit with friends and then back to East Tennessee to find out my best friend lost everything in a massive fire at his English Mountain condo.  Four buildings for a total of 48 condos were a total loss.   No one was killed but the fire was devastation beyond belief.    After the building fires were controlled, they then had to deal with winds picking up and catching the mountains of Sevier County afire.    Fires are out...hearts are broken and I am so glad that he is OK and able to rebuild his life.  

On to my next big occurrence in my life.   Culinary.net has contacted me to provide a once a month Desserts issue.   Since that is my favorite area, I was thrilled.   My first article will be published on April 20th of each month and continue monthly. 

Keep an eye out for this badge on my pages! 




Bon Appétit and Enjoy 
YOUR Wonderful World!
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The Fine Art of Cooking involves personal choice. Many preferences, ingredients, and procedures may not be consistent with what you know to be true. As with any recipe, you may find your personal intervention will be necessary -- © WHStoneman 2014