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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - Pies!

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I like to make food that is quick, easy, and inexpensive.  The exception to this is Thanksgiving.  It's one of the few times of the year that I make things from scratch...cranberry sauce, rolls, stuffing, pies, yams...prepackaged or precooked just won't do.  So, today I've been making pies.

My well-used ancient cookbook
It's been a while since I've made pie crust so I got out my ancient Better Homes and Gardens "New" Cook Book.  I was planning on making two pumpkin pies, two banana cream pies, one "better than pumpkin pie" pumpkin dessert, and one pumpkin custard.  That meant two pie crusts needed to be made and cooked without filling.

Oops!  Forgot to prick the dough!
I followed the recipe and popped the crusts in the oven.  About ten minutes into the cooking, I realized I forgot to prick the crust with a fork to prevent the crust from puffing up.  Oops!  I peeked in the oven and yes, the crust had large bubbles.  Darn!  I thought about using them anyway but no, I'm going to do it right.  So, I let them finish cooking and started over again.  This time I got it right.  I'll break up the puffy crusts, freeze them and use them for pie shakes later. 
I'll save the oopsies for later  :)

Second time - no mistakes!
The rest of the pies and desserts turned out surprises.

Better Homes and Gardens Plain Pastry  (for 2 single-crust pies)
2 c. flour
1 t. salt
2/3 c. shortening
5-7 T. cold water.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Put flour and salt into bowl.  Cut in shortening with forks until pieces are the size of small peas.  (If forks are hard to use, use your clean hands to gently incorporate the shortening into the flour.)  Sprinkle cold water over the mixture, tossing with fork until all the mixture is moistened.  Form into a ball.  Flatten on lightly floured surface with your hand.  Use rolling pin to flatten dough until about 1/8 inch thick.

Fit pastry into pie pan.  Trim to fit.  Tuck under edge and flute edge (that's the zig zag pattern you see on crusts).   To bake the crust without filling, prick all over the bottom and sides with a fork (I forgot to do this the first time).  If you are baking the crust and filling together, do not prick the pastry.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


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