Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Granny's Pantry-Friendly Pie Crust

So my mother's mother, my Granny, is a remarkable woman who has lived quite a life. At seventy-four years old, she is as spry as a woman of thirty-five; she seems to have boundless energy, and I'm pretty sure she's going to be alive as long as I am!

When I'm with Granny, the rest of the world is on hold. In her stories, I am transported to another life where everything was a little bit slower and the people were a little bit nicer. Though I try, I cannot do her stories justice. However, I am thankful to have them in my memory to share with the younger generations someday, for this will keep my dear Granny alive forever.

Perhaps this family detail is quite telling: my grandmother's family owned a restaurant. From 1944-1968, Granny grew up in the restaurant business, making her bed many nights under the counter of the Mosier Cafe. Granny can tell story after story of taking orders without a pad and pencil and remembering every single part of the order--even when her diners tried to trick her! But luckily, Granny picked up more skills than waiting tables and running a cash register; she stayed by the side of my great-grandmother, known to many as Grandma Restaurant for her renowned cooking skills. 

Make no mistake--Granny's recipes aren't fancy or avant-garde, but I couldn't care less; my Granny 
knows how to cook! I'd take a bowl of her homemade noodles and broth over a filet mignon any day. And when Granny attempts to teach me a recipe, I am glued to her side, trying to mimic her every move as best I can. This summer, she bestowed this pie recipe on me; it's made of ingredients a pantry should always have on hand. It'll save your life--nevermind that it tastes so much better than store-bought crusts. Your tastebuds and friends will thank you.

Granny's Pie Crust (makes two 9-inch pie crusts)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup shortening, preferably butter flavored
  • 1/2 cup milk

In a large bowl, pour in flour and shortening; with your hands or a pastry cutter, work quickly to blend the mixture together until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the mixture, and pour in the milk, mixing the contents together with a fork until the mixture follows the fork around the bowl. 

Flour your work surface well, and place your dough on it. Knead the dough about five times, and divide the dough in half. Flatten one half into a disc, taking care to flour your dough and rolling pin very well. Roll the dough into your desired thickness, until it is about 1/4"-1/8" thick. Place into a pie plate, and use as desired.

**If using for a unbaked pie filling, simply preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Poke holes generously on the crust with a fork, and bake uncovered for 10-12 minutes.

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