Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trying Pie

Do you like pie? I sure do! But I've never baked one.

My mother always makes perfect pies (except for the Thanksgiving that the dog ate them). Flaky crust. Yummy, sweet, gooey fillings. I supposed I've been intimated to try to live up to her standard. And although I love to cook, there's an exactness and precision to baking I find restraining challenging.

So the beautiful red Emile Henry pie pan, along with Mom's recipe for Flaky Pastry crust sweetly handwritten on an index card, has gone unused since she gave it to me the Christmas after Mr. H. and I were married.

But blueberries are beautiful right now and I swear I heard them taunting me at the market this morning, so I decided that for Mr. H's birthday I'd give pie a try.

The result? Well, the dough whipped up like a dream, but rolling it out and working with it got a little tricky. I thought about calling Mom to have her walk me through it... but then I decided to get a little creative. Instead of trying to fashion a flawless top crust, I broke out the heart shaped cookie cutters. Not perfect. But fine. And clearly made with love.

And the crust flaked beautifully.

Next time, I'll ask Mom to take me through pie boot camp. Until then, there's plenty of leftovers. (Hint, hint to my friends whose children have soccer camp in our neighborhood: please come by to help us take care of the extra!)

Or, if you want to try it yourself, here's Mom's recipe for flaky pie crust. I'm not sure where it originated, it's the recipe she's been using as long as I've been eating pie. 

Flaky Pastry:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 + 3/4 cups vegetable shortening 
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt 
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg 
1/2 cup ice cold water 

With fork mix first four ingredients. 

In a small bowl beat ice water with vinegar and egg. Blend into dry ingredients with fork until mixture is moist. 

With hands mold dough into ball and chill at least 15 minutes. Dough can be refrigerated three days or frozen until ready to use. 

Makes two double-crusted pies and one 9" shell. 

Thanks for all the warm happy birthday wishes for Mr. H! And if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by for some pie!


  1. I am impressed! It looks so beautiful...Martha Stewart pretty! What a great idea with the heart shaped cutouts.....I bet it was delicious!

  2. thank you for sharing your heirloom recipe. Bet there is a good story behind the dog eating the Thanksgiving pie ha!

  3. I was just telling my daughter the other day sometimes the best recipes are born when things don't go as planned - I love the hearts! :)

  4. What a great idea for the top crust--far more beautiful than the original. Leave it to you to come up with something so creative!!

  5. i'm a cake kinda girl, but i love what you've done! can taste it through the screen. have you tried to make a crumble? i have probably baked 10 already this summer! they're easy and make people feel indebted to you for life!



    1. Michele, I do love to make crumbles and cobblers! Yummy and easier than pie. There is an amazing recipe for one in Canal House Volume 4 that has a cookie dough crust - can't go wrong with that, right?

  6. I have a real soft spot for pie. But, one dotted with hearts. I think this just became my all time favorite. Absolutely precious! (And, I'm sure delicious, too).

    Happy Tuesday, Jeanne!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  7. looks so pretty with the heary shapes on top and what a thoughtful gift too.

  8. Your pie looks great. Congratulations, it's a skill that takes time and practice to get right. Yours looks pretty darn good for your first time especially. I can't tell you how many pie crusts I dumped in the trash in frustration when I was learning. :)

  9. Jeanne-
    Your pie looks like Martha made ti!! Fabulous job! I love anything EH! I am glad I got all of mine before it got really expensive.
    Happy Tuesday.

  10. Beautiful Jeanne .... some of the fruits in the market have been calling to me lately too... Hoping to try out this recipe soon.



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