The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Let’s Talk Pie

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Pie! (Easy Chocolate Pie, recipe submitted by TK member Sissy of Sissy Reads, guest post and photo by Laurie McNamara of Simply Scratch)

 
“There’s nothing prettier than pie, with scalloped edges and slits in the top for the heat to escape. Pie gives you the sense that you’re a square person, living in a square country. A pie says home … I wish I invented pie.” (Name that movie.)

Sweet or savory, baked or frozen, double crust or even crustless, offer someone pie and you’re almost sure to get a smile and an eager, “Yes, please!” Pies are welcome at the table any time of the year but we tend to really bring our A-game around the holiday season. Which, coincidentally, is right about now. So here’s our topic for this week:

Got any great pie tips?

Even if you don’t have any tips, do you have any questions that perhaps other members can answer for you? Any persistent pie issues you’d like to solve or techniques you wish you’d finally master?

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Pie! (Pie Crust Tutorial from Calli of Make It Do)

 
Let me start by saying I will be of absolutely no help to you whatsoever. I think I understand enough to be able to properly follow a recipe and that’s about it. We have an awesome pie crust tutorial here at Tasty Kitchen Blog, courtesy of our friend Calli of Make it Do and I love her method as well as the nifty pie-making tools she uses.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Pie!

 
Around these TK parts, Nanci is probably the one most well-equipped to provide tips for making pies, particularly when it comes to the crust. She uses her great grandmother’s crust recipe (which is super flaky and tender) and her mom has been tutoring her over the last year or so, so that she can pass along the family pie-making tradition. 

Nanci’s grandmother’s recipe just calls for flour, Crisco, ice water and salt. She says the key for her is working with very cold ingredients, from the Crisco (which she keeps in the fridge until she’s ready to cut it into the dry ingredients) to the water. Nanci likes to make her pie dough the night before she makes her pie, so that the dough is really cold when she rolls it out. She also freezes her marble rolling pin. Having that frozen surface to roll out the dough seems to work great to keep the Crisco nice and cold.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Let's Talk Pie! (Grandma Inez’s Pineapple Pie, recipe and photo by Natalie Perry of Perry’s Plate

 
Now it’s your turn! All pie-related tips, questions, problems, troubleshooting tricks are welcome. I can’t wait to read what you share! Hopefully, I will finally be able to advance from my pie-novice status and actually know exactly what I’m doing the next time I attempt a pie.

Thanks, and happy Wednesday, everyone!

 
 

51 Comments

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Avatar of Jeff Alexander

Jeff Alexander on 2.11.2014

As the “chef” for my wife and kids (i.e. only cook), I’ve been given the orders for pies of the years and out of all my cooking endeavors–this one remains my white whale. My first batch of crusts always come out as dry-crumbling failures or gloopy semi-bread dough both suitable for the bottom of my trash can. It often takes me several tries per pie to get a workable bunch of dough.

There are some good recommendations in the comments that I am going to try:

1. Refrigerating the Crisco (I’ve tried with frozen butter before but still fail)
2. Using pastry cutter instead of food processor
3. I’ve used the wax paper rolling method and when I finally produced a usable ball of dough, this method worked really well!
4. Vodka…never heard of that but if a recipe involves alcohol, I’m all in!

I’m motivated to try again after reading this post…we shall see

Bette I on 12.24.2013

I have been making pie crust using the same recipe for over 50 years–it is the one Sheilaskitchen posted.. It was originally in the Betty Crocker cookbook I received as a wedding present, I have tried other recipes but always come back to “old faithful”., ingredients are just measured, stirred and rolled out between waxed paper. I think it is a “healthy” recipe since it uses vegetable oil and no animal fat. Ha! I keep telling myself that as I eat my piece of pie!

Nancy Horton on 12.22.2013

A co- worker gave me this recipe for Never Fail Pie Crust. It is GREAT. Makes a LOT of Dough. if not using it all I put a baseball size lump of dough in a zip lock bag, mash it flat, and toss it in the freezer till I need it

Joyce’s Never Fail Pie Crust

Makes enough dough for 4 double crust pies

5 Cups Flour, 1tsp salt 2 cups lard(best) or shortening
1 TBS Cider vinegar & 1 egg, well blended in a 1 cup measure
Fill cup with ICY COLD water to make one cup

Can be re rolled several times without making the crust tough. Dough patches easily if it tears. Just pinch it back together & roll over it. If desired, freeze the remaining dough in a zip lock bag until needed Can make pies, or crust, then freeze and bake when desired.
Instructions
Blend flour, shortening and salt until crumbs resemble corn meal, using food processer, pastry blender, or your hands, whatever you prefer. Stir in egg, vinegar, water mix with a fork. Knead until well blended. If sticky add more flour sparingly.
Pinch off a baseball to softball size section of dough Roll out on a floured linen towel. ( I wrap it around my lg nylon cutting board first, to keep it from sliding all over the counter) Or if you have a lg wooden cutting board, that works well without the towel. Flour rolling pin frequently to prevent sticking. Use a light hand when rolling,
When dough is ½ the desired size, turn it over, re flouring the surface you are rolling it out on, and the rolling pin. When desired size fold the crust in 1/2 and transfer to pie tin, then unfold. Pat into pan, trim crust, leaving 1” overlap. Finish edge as desired.
Follow your recipe for the desired pie

Avatar of Karlajean Becvar

Karlajean Becvar on 12.21.2013

I learned this secret a while back and it has never failed me. Make sure when you are mixing the dough that every single piece of flour is touched by the lard, shortening, or butter that you are using! I always use a pastry cutter…

Pat on 12.19.2013

I’ve heard that when making the crust that you should use vodka instead of water. Vodka makes the crust crispy and light. Never tried it because a always buy mm y crust.