This short blog post is for those of you who’ve graduated from the Pie Crust 101 with my Mom as your Mentor entry I posted yesterday.
This post has the “companion video” which illustrates a lot of the techniques that are crucial to turning out a flakey pie crust. You’ll see my Mom, Gerri Robicheau, doing her thing which is making incredible pie crust. She does it without even thinking so I ask her lots of questions and try to get her to slow down and explain what she’s doing. I hope this helps you in your quest to be a great pie maker.
Key things I’ve learned are as follows:
1. Mom goes to great pains to keep the pie dough as cold as possible. The shortening has been chilled, the water is iced, the dough is put in the fridge to cool and firm up before rolling out. All of this is an effort to keep the fat chilled. This will then allow it to expand as it bakes in place to create light flakey pastry.
2. Mom’s touch with the rolling pin is very light. Pay really close attention to how she starts in the center and lightly rolls the pin out. She fans her way around the disc of dough keeping it circular.
3. Mom rarely actually touches the dough. She doesn’t want the heat of her hands to melt that shortening. She uses the rolling pin to lift the dough and move it when she needs to.
4. If she’s going to make a pie, she makes 3 or 4 because that’s how many she can get out of pound of shortening and it is much more efficient to do this than to “mess up your kitchen for nothing” (her idea of one pie – nothing).
5. Pies freeze beautifully in the raw form. We work quickly, fill the crusts with frozen fruit and that fruit is back in the freezer before it has time to think about thawing.
6. I gift my friends at Christmas with frozen pies and the directions of how to heat them. That way, they get to experience the joyful smell of a pie cooking in their home.
7. Pies are just one more way I’ve learned to savour food, savour time with my Mom and therefore, naturally, to savour my life.