Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Slice of the Sweet Life

One of my favorite things about cooking and food is the traditions that come with it. For as long as man has existed, people have been gathering together to eat. In more recent history, it's not just about eating together, but also cooking together and using these times to celebrate. I love the idea of passing along family recipes from one generation to the next. Today I am going to share my experience of making my first real pie using the pie crust recipe that my mom got from my granny and recently passed along to me.

I say that this is my first real pie because I've really only made Pecan Pie with frozen crust. This is my first real home-made pie. Since strawberries are in season (and they don't require peeling like apples), I made a strawberry pie.


Pie Filling

4-5 cups of sliced strawberries

1/4 cup instant tapioca

1 1/4 cup sugar

Pie Crust

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

12 tablespoons butter, sliced thin

1/4 cup crisco

1/2 cup ice water

Note: keep the crisco and butter in the fridge when not using it. It should be very cold for this recipe.

1. Mix the strawberries, tapioca, and sugar and let sit for about 90 minutes to get juicy

2. In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients for the crust and pulse a few times until mixed.

NOTE: I usually use wheat flour for everything since it is so much healthier. However, I do not recommend it for this recipe. The pie was delicious, but the crust was not as flaky--I attribute this to the heavier wheat flour.

3. Add the crisco and butter and pulse 8-12 times until the butter forms in pea-sized balls.

4. With the food processor running, pour in the ice water and process until a ball of dough forms.

5. Remove dough, wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 400. Cut the dough in half and place half on a floured surface. Roll the dough out very thin in a circular shape. Flour and turn the dough often to prevent sticking.

7. Fold the rolled dough in half and lay over a 10 inch pie dish. Unfold to cover the dish. Press into place.

Note: Dough is best when handled the least. The less you roll and handle it, the better it "behaves."

8. Fill the crust with the strawberry mixture.

9. Roll out the other half of the dough and cover the filling.

10. Press the edges of the dough together to seal and cut slits in the top crust with a knife.

11. Bake for 50 minutes on a baking sheet. Allow to stand for 4 hours before serving.

my first pie--hot out of the oven

This recipe yields a little more than 2 10" crusts. With the excess dough, my granny and mom used to make tarts. Roll the dough thin and sprinkle it with sugar and cinnamon. Place a spoonful of preserves on a strip of dough and roll up. Pinch the edges together to prevent leaking. Bake with the pie. Because of their size, the tarts will be done about 10 minutes before the pie.

strawberry tarts made from extra dough

Bon Appetit!

The Food Whore

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