I spent many years in search of the best pie crust recipe I could find, but it was only a couple of years ago that I realized why it was so hard to find a good pie crust recipe—I was trying to find a low-fat recipe. I know. I know. It was a big mistake.
After many, and I do mean many, failed pie crust attempts (all of which my sweet husband ate and encouraged me by saying “It’s not too bad” or “It’s pretty good”), a couple of years ago, I found a recipe that I could adapt well, and it was not low fat.
The biggest lesson I learned in my quest for good pie is this one: It’s just going to have some calories, and that’s OK with me.
Now, calorie-wise, I can’t afford to eat a lot of pie, and some might argue that I can’t afford to eat any pie. But there are some things in life that are just worth it. To me, a good piece of pie is worth the calories. I’m totally willing to walk a few extra miles or even skip lunch for a good piece of pie. I feel like this says a lot about me as a person. This is where I am in my life. Pie is important.
So, here’s the recipe for the crust, and I have some tips below. This recipe was adapted from a couple of pie crust recipes but most closely with one from Allrecipes.com.
Makes One Pie
A Top and Bottom Crust
2 cups flour
1 cup butter-flavored shortening (or 1 cup butter)
*As a note on this ingredient, I actually use a little more than ¾ of a cup of the butter-flavored shortening. It’s like somewhere between the ¾ of a cup and a full cup that is the perfect amount, at least we think so.
1 Tablespoon white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup ice water
*This gets tricky, but you can do it.
½ Tablespoon white vinegar
Mix all of your dry ingredients together, and let your water sit with some ice in it to get really cold. Add in the ¾ cup to 1 cup of butter-flavored shortening or butter. Cut it in, so everything looks crumbly.
Now, add your wet ingredients. Add your ½ egg. I have added just about a whole egg before. It still works. Add your vinegar and water (just take out your ice).
Mix everything together with a wooden spoon—but not too much. You just want to mix it enough to work with it. The original recipe says to let the dough sit in the freezer for some hours before you work with it, but I never do. I can never plan that far ahead.
Cut your dough into two pieces, one for the top and one for the bottom. Roll it out pretty thin-like. When the dough is thin, it comes out flakier, I think, which is good to me.
Of course, you can put any kind of deliciousness inside your pie crust. I prefer fruit pies from fresh, sweet fruit and just a little sugar and cornstarch. If you’re going this route, just fill up your pie shell with the amount of fruit you like. *Please note that you will need an official recipe for the filling if you go with apple pie, but I just stick things like strawberries, raspberries, peaches, etc. right in there with a little bit of sugar and cornstarch.
Cut some kind of hole in your topic crust or you can make the lattice top. When I have more time, I make the lattice top. When I am in a hurry, I cut a heart into the top crust. Pinch your edges together. You can get fancy with this, but I have no skill in this department.
Cooking time and temps totally depend upon your oven I have found. I have made some big mistakes following recipes on temperature and time, but with a fruit pie, I recommend 400 degrees and that you start checking and turning (if you have a sad, uneven oven like mine) at about 20 minutes. The trick is to cook until the crust is golden brown on the top.
Now, here’s the story of and recipe for the best pie I ever ate in my whole life.
Our neighbor grows raspberries every summer, and they are lovely. The raspberries in the grocery store cannot compare, as the ones from our neighbor’s garden are so flavorful. And, thankfully, every year, she shares said raspberries with us. I am always making raspberry/blackberry pies with those raspberries, and they are delicious. But, this year, I decided to get some super ripe peaches and make a raspberry/peach fruit pie with this delicious pie crust recipe.
I used about 2 cups of raspberries and close to the same amount of peaches. The peaches were bought at the local grocery store, but I put them in brown paper bags and let them sit in the basement until they were so ripe I could hardly hold one. Then, I cut them up and put them in the pie. I added ¼ cup of sugar and a tablespoon of cornstarch. I cooked the pie about 25 minutes, until it was golden brown.
This was my first go at this pie, so I wasn’t sure. Still, I was hopeful. But, after dinner, everyone was full, so no one at a piece of my raspberry/peach pie. But I didn’t forget about it. No, I didn’t.
That night, before bed, I announced that I was having a piece of the pie. My husband said he would have one “maybe later,” so I proceeded on my own. Upon taking the first bite, I was frozen. My taste buds were overwhelmed with deliciousness. I ran to the living room and told my husband he was going to have to try this pie.
I said, “I could be wrong, but I think this is the kind of pie you win awards for.”
So, of course, he had to try it. It turns out I was right. It was amazing; he said he thought so, too. He agreed it was the best pie he had ever eaten.
So, when you make pies like that, you have to eat pie sometimes. I hope you enjoy this recipe. I hope you get some fresh raspberries and ripe peaches this summer and get to make a pie that might literally bring you some joy.
Pie brings me some joy. Thankfully, in the summer, we are all working so hard and so long in the garden and with the animals that we can afford the extra calories.
Life’s too short not to have some pie, especially pie made with love!