It isn’t the recipe. It is the technique.
Mom’s Pie Crust
- 2 Cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups shortening
- ¼ cup plus 2 tsp chilled water
Sift flour and then measure 2 cups. Cut shortening into flour using two knifes. The shortening should be about the size of peas and small lima beans (more peas than lima beans). Keep it cold so keep your fingers off. Put mixture into refrigerator to chill. By the tablespoon, add chilled water. Don’t use frozen water like I did. I dropped a few slivers of ice in the dough. It doesn’t help. Gather gently into a ball using a fork. Keep hands off dough. Your body temperature isn't good for the shortening. Divide into two, making two balls. Okay, you can use your hands at this point, but the less man-handling the more flaky the crust and that is what this is all about.
Before rolling ball make a small indentation with thumb into the ball of dough. Why? I am not sure, but those are Mom’s instructions and you don’t mess with perfection. I think it helps rolling the dough out in round shape.
Do all this dough rolling (not rolling in the dough) on a floured pastry cloth and roll the dough in one direction from the center to the outside. Rotate the pastry cloth if needed to get a round crust 2 inches larger than the top of the pie pan. Fold in half and lift into pan.
The Pie Filling
Cut enough Macintosh or Macoun apples to fill the pie plate with a “heap in the middle” (a cooking term yet to be defined by professionals on FoodTV). Peel and cut into eighths. Coat apples with the following mixture.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons flour
Put coated apples into pie plate and then take 2 tablespoons of butter and dot the apples. (A secret ingredient.)
Cover with the other half ball of dough (rolled out of course).
Now trimming, tucking and folding the top and the bottom crusts together to make a pretty little wavy edge along the rim of the pie is a technique I never mastered. It will be one of those lost arts.
Cut a few bird feet in the crust, sprinkle with cinnamon and place in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until apples are soft and pie bubbles over and makes a mess out of the bottom of the oven. Of course, I know how to avoid that, but some things should be kept a secret.
Cool on rack and enjoy with cheese, as Mr. Grey (Mom once taught Faith Grey how to make apple pie) use to do or make it ala mode as first introduced to the world in Cambridge, NY.