The Journey to Perfect Pie Crust

Making the perfect pie crust is not an easy task,  so I thought.......

When I was first married I wanted to impress my groom with a homemade pie.   I got out my Betty Crocker cook book (it was a wedding gift) and got started.   How hard could it be?  Only a few ingredients mixed together and rolled out, right?  Wrong!
 Those few ingredients turned out to my worst nightmare.

Everything went great until the rolling pin and pie dough met.   Ugh!  What a mess!   My poor groom came into the kitchen to see what all the commotion was about.   Right when he walked into the doorway I hurled the pie dough across the room and started to cry.   The look on his face was one of confusion and terror.  I am sure he was thinking "what just happened and how do I get back out of the kitchen with out getting hurt?"  LOL.  

Fast forward 34 years.................I now own a Café and am know for my pie crust and pies.   How did that happen?   Well,  it wasn't really by choice that I became a  pie baker.   When I opened up the café I hired a gal that was a well know baker in the area.   She would come bake for me when she got off of her full time job.  As most good things do, it came to and end.   It was too hard for her to work two jobs and take care of her family. That left me to either pick up the baking or hire someone else to do the job.   I once again thought "How hard can it be to make pies?" I could by this time make pies, but they were not anything special.  My crusts were okay, not flaky, really nothing special. 

Over the next few weeks I worked and worked at perfecting my pie crust.    I tried so many recipes and found nothing that suited me.   I finally combined a few recipes and came up with what, for me, was the perfect pie crust recipe. 

Just out of the food processor
Some of the crust recipes called for things like eggs and baking powder.  Of course, all pie crust recipes call for shortening of some sort, flour, salt and ice water.   The combination that I found that works best is lard, butter, flour, sugar, salt and ice water. 

Do I have any great secrets to share?  No not really.   Sorry!

I process  the lard, butter, flour, sugar and salt in the food processor until crumbly.  Once the first five ingredients are combined,  I put it into a large bowl.   I pour in ice water 1 tablespoon at a time.  Then I hand blend the water into the flour mixture.  Once, the mixture holds together I consider it done.

Ice water added

I roll the pie crust out on a thin flexible cutting board that I dust with flour.  It makes it easy to invert into a pie pan.   I prefer metal pie pans over glass,  I feel like the crust bakes, flakier and browns better.

Rolled out and inverted over pie pan

There is something about the combination of lard and butter for me that work the best.  The butter seems to add more flavor and the lard provides for a flakier crust.  The lard only crust did not have as good a flavor and butter only crust was not as flaky.  So, why not combine the two?

I am not here to make a YouTube video of how to make a crust step by step.   There are a ton of those already out there for your viewing.  I am just here to let you know that I found a way to make it that works great for me.   Persistence and pure stubbornness always seem to serve me well.

I know that for many people making a homemade pie crust seems like a daunting task!  It was for me as well.  Still, there is nothing quite like making a perfect pie crust, other than eating it.

 So, get out your rolling pin and dust the cob webs out of your pie plates. Experiment and find a crust recipe that works for you.

Nebraska Prairie Girl


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