Is there anything better than a good piece of pie? AppleJack would say yes, "pie, with a good cup of coffee." I have a friend who is on the quest to find the perfect piece of pie. My Mother is a wonderful pie maker. Anytime my extended family has a get together Mother is always asked to bake the pies. Chocolate, lemon, coconut, chess, butterscotch, pumpkin, pecan or any other type pie, Mother excels. Growing up on a farm, Mother always had fresh milk, eggs, and butter at her disposal. These three ingredients seem to be universal in most pie recipes. One of the secrets to a good pie is the crust. As I have added "making a good pie" to my bucket list of things I want to accomplish, I have begun to bake more pies. My pies are not as good as Mother's, but AppleJack says I am improving and making progress and he is always willing to be the taste tester guinea pig.
In 1989, Marcia Adams released a cookbook called Cooking from Quilt Country. Marcia spent more than a year living, cooking and baking with Amish and Mennonites families. PBS had a thirteen part cooking series featuring Marcia, the Amish and Mennonites and their recipes. Below is one of the recipes from Cooking from Quilt Country--Hot Water Pie Crust. Take it away Marcia.
When you mention a hot water pie crust, people look askance, for traditional pie crust recipes always emphasize cold ingredients and ice cold water, And we are talking about boiling water here, But this makes a tender, flaky crust. At one stage, it looks like unappetizing putty, but don't worry about that, I make huge amounts, cut it into wedges, and freeze it for nearly instant pies. This is an old, old recipe.
Makes pastry for two 8-inch pies with top crusts or two 9 or 10 inch pies without top crusts
1 cup lard, very soft
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
3 cups all-purpose flour
Place the lard and salt in a large bowl and beat a bit with a tablespoon until he lard is completely softened. You can also do this with an electric hand beater.
Pour boiling water over the lard and blend again. Let this mixture cool to room temperature, but stir often so water and lard won't separate.
Stir in the flour, and form the mixture into a ball. If you use your hands do it quickly.
Chill for several hours or overnight, then let the cold dough sit out at room temperature for about thirty minutes before rolling out.
If you are preparing a shell to fill later or if your recipe requires a pre baked crust, pre heat the over to 425 degrees F. Roll out a portion of the dough to 1/8 thickness. Transfer the crust to a pie pan and pat it in snugly. Form a decorative edging along the rim and trim off the edges. Prick the surface of the pastry all over with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Stay tuned folks. . . tomorrow we will bake a Never Fail Chocolate pie.