This is what you need to know about dessert in our house: It's the fault of my dearly beloved and his mother, or to their credit, depending upon your viewpoint. You see, he explained to me many moons ago that while his mother was an adequate (but not good) cook, she was a great baker. That, in his opinion, is what gives children fond memories of meals at home. Since I have no fond memories of childhood meals, I have to take his word for it.
When I started making dessert every night, I used a lot of boxed mixes. I still think highly of boxes; they are one of mankind's greatest inventions. It's just that sometimes I want something else. And, since I bought a pie and pastry cookbook at a used book sale this spring, I've been timidly inching toward trying my own pie crust. (Don't you just love old cookbooks with other people's notes in them? It makes you feel like you almost know the previous reader!) My dearly beloved adores pie above all other desserts. And with fewer people in the house, I can make pie. Let's face it, with 9 or 10 or 11 people in the house, if I don't have 2 pies for one dessert, people are going to be seriously honked off.
Lots of you left me helpful suggestions and encouragement last week. So, remembering that Paula was put in charge of pie crust as a little girl, and Linda said to use the food processor, and skip the fool pastry cutter, and Annette said butter can be used, I happened upon this pie crust recipe. Trust me, it's worthy of its own post.
HALF & HALF PIE CRUST
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 cups flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
In the food processor, pulse together everything except the lemon juice and milk for a few seconds. Then, with the processor running, drizzle in the lemon juice and milk. Let it form into a ball. Roll it out. This recipe makes 2 crusts - top and bottom, or 2 glorious pies.
Of course, I had issues in rolling out the crust - sticking, lack of symmetry, lack of roundness, stuff like that. I tried to beat it to death at one point. But I persevered, and made two decent pies, and one that I considered a failure (although there were no leftovers). All of this leads to the question, from whence is the size of the pie plate derived? Outside diameter? Inside diameter? Top or bottom? Believe me, I have 4 different measurements on one pie plate, and I don't like this. The engineer in me is searching for precision in this endeavor.
Oh, and my dearly beloved, the world's greatest fan of pie? He hates pie crust. And he ate every bit of this, declaring that it is the best pie crust he's ever had. High praise, indeed.
Here's a hint as to what my first pie was. See you then.