Monday, February 27, 2006

Week 46 - PIE CRUST

Saskatchewan Menu of the Week – 27 February 2006

Breakfast – Toast and lingonberry jam
Lunch – Corn chowder
Dinner – Pike fillets. Wild rice. Coleslaw. Cherry pie.

I learned to make pie crust from my mother-in-law, Alma Bertolini. She learned it from her mother, who made pies for a diner. As the story goes, a young man came to the diner because he loved the pies and ended up marrying the daughter. After Alma passed away, I taught her son, Jim, how to make her pie crust. (This is not the son I married but his younger brother.) As she taught me, technique is very important in making a successful pie crust. The ingredients must be at fridge temperature and worked swiftly so they don’t warm up. Always refrigerate the dough at least an hour before rolling – it keeps in the fridge for several days and freezes well.

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lard
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 cup ice water

Fill a cup with water and drop in a couple of ice cubes.
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter and lard with a pastry blender. Using your fingers, continue to work the butter and lard into the flour until it is no larger than squished peas. Work quickly.
Measure 1/2 cup of ice water. Briskly stir in the egg and vinegar.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquid. Stir briskly with a fork, incorporating the flour and water as best you can. Using your hands, press the dough into a ball, pressing in the flour in the bottom of the bowl (if you don’t get all the flour incorporated, that’s okay). Do not knead like bread.
Cut the ball into quarters. Press each quarter into a round shape, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

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