So I know I’ve posted about adopting a healthier lifestyle and eating better. Which I truly have, so I’m sorry if this post seems a bit out of place. As important as this is to me, I certainly do believe in the “everything in moderation” rule… and in my world, everything includes pie. I eat very well most of the time. But I think there will always be room in my life for an occasional slice of heaven … I mean pie.
My mom is the queen of baking pies. She has on several occasions for large functions baked 20+ pies in a single day. The lady is machine. I think baking an amazing pie must be somewhat genetic, because although I don’t think she ever really ‘taught’ me to bake pie, I seem to have the knack for it. I know I’ve watched her whip them up lots of times, so perhaps I’m just a quick study.
Regardless of what you are filling your pie with, you have to start with a really good pastry. I grew up in a Mennonite home with traditional baking and was certainly taught that the only way to make pastry was with lard. I know I know I know.. not on the healthy eating list… but I let it slide for pie. Mom has always used the recipe on the box of lard — fantastic recipe if you want to bake 6 pies. I’ve often made it, portioned into balls and put the extras in the freezer for later use. The other option is to follow the recipe my mom adapted from the lard box which I’m going to share with you below. Makes 2 wonderful pie crusts. Perfect for when you have dinner guests. I’ll be sure to post more recipes in the coming days and weeks with what to fill those lovely pie crusts with! For now let’s start with the basics.
- 2 cups flour (I use all purpose)
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of lard
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of cold water
- In a large bowl mix together flour and salt. Cut lard into chunks and add it to the flour. Mix with a pastry cutter or large stand mixer until it resembles large oatmeal. It's perfectly okay for there to be some clumps.
- In a coffee mug mix your egg with vinegar and cold water. Beat well and add all at once to the flour mixture. Blend together until it makes a thick dough. You will have to press it together to form a ball.
- Cut in half and form each half into a nice ball. Place on a flat floured surface and push it fairly flat so you can start rolling it with your rolling pin.
- Roll out pastry in nice long strokes, rolling from each direction so that the pastry is even. You may need to dust your dough fairly often with flour to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.
- Carefully lift pastry into your pie plate and cut the edges off with a butter knife. Using your fingers pinch the edges for form a nice fluted crust.
- Fill with your favourite pie filling and enjoy!
I store my lard at room temperature. However this varies depending on the time of the year. If you are making this recipe in the summer you may want to chill your lard for 1/2 an hour or more before starting. It will mix better and roll out easier if it's a bit on the hard side. I like open faced fruit pies, and never put a pastry shell ontop of my pie. If you prefer a pastry cover to your pie, this recipe will make one pie not two.