Thursday, December 19, 2019

Holiday treat? Always bake a favorite...pie.

My all time favorite dessert is pie. Pie you say? Which is what most people say when I tell them my go-to dessert or dish to pass. And my answer is always; you’ve never had homemade pie. 

I’ve tried countless slices at diners, restaurants, and even pie shops, hoping for heaven and instead getting tough crusts with tasteless filling. No wonder people aren’t clamoring for pie! 

But, I aim to change that and introduce you to a flakey, melt-in-your-mouth crust that holds bold fruit flavors with a hint of sweet inside. It’s fairly basic and after a couple of attempts, because doing anything well takes a few trial and errors, you’ll be pulling your own piping hot pastry from the oven.

Click to read on for the recipe...

Crust Recipe:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup + 1 Tbl lard (or shortening)
~1/4 cup ice cold water 

*in the words of my middle school Home Ec teacher, the only kind of pie worth eating is one made with lard. Make your own choice…but choose wisely. ;)

Step 1: Mix your shortening/lard with your flour. A hand mixer works well, or if you want to go old school, grab a pastry cutter.

Step 2: Once the lard and flour are blended into tiny balls, add your ice water 2 Tbl at a time and mix with a fork until just incorporated. 

BIGGEST TIP FOR MAKING PIE: Mix the crap out of your shortening/lard and flour, but once you add water, only mix until combined. The more you stir, the tougher your dough will be.

Step 3: Roll out the dough. If you’re like my husband, this will prove to be a challenge likened to hiking Mount Doom. Just take your time and after each roll, change directions. And if you don’t end up with a circle, no problem! Extra crust edges sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar make excellent sides for your second breakfast tea! 

Step 4: Use a wide pie spatula, or a couple of spatulas if you don’t have a big enough one, and place your bottom crust in the pie plate. Leave the edges to overhanging the pie plate. 

Step 5: Then it’s time for the filling! You can use a can, if you want to make your grandmother cry. Otherwise, pull out that fresh fruit and start peeling! 

*This is the point where I could go deep into the chemical compositions of each type of fruit and expound on the necessity of adjusting your sugar/flour filling amounts to compensate. Instead of putting you to sleep…I’ll say: add 1/2 c white sugar and 1/4 c flour and toss your fruit! 

Fruit Filling Recipe:
5-7 large peaches (peeled and crush 1 cup of fruit)
1 cup white sugar
3 Tbl corn starch
1 tsp almond flavoring

Step 6: Mix the sugar and corn starch in a small sauce pan, add the crushed fruit. Simmer until thickened, then add the almond flavoring. It’s going to smell irresistible…but it’s HOT, so taste with caution.
Step 7: Dump the fruit into the pie plate.

Step 8: Repeat the crust process. Before placing it on top of the pie plate, use a cookie cutter and cut out a shape, but leave the dough together. Or, free hand a design. Then, using your spatulas, lift and place the top crust on the pie plate.

Step 9: Using a knife, go around the edge of the pie plate, cutting off the extra crust. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together. Try make it pretty, but if it looks like a mess don’t worry, the incredible aroma of the baked pie will distract even the toughest critic.

Step 10: Sprinkle some sugar on the top. It looks pretty, like a dusting of frost. And you already have a vent from your cookie cutter shape. So pop that into the oven! My oven bakes perfectly at 375 degrees F for ~45 minutes. When the top is lightly browned and your filling is bubbling at the air vents, take it out.

I can’t ever resist cutting into a fresh pie before it’s cooled, but it will set up better if you can manage to leave it alone. Oh, and those crust pieces you cut off the sides? Put them on a cookie sheet, cover in cinnamon and sugar, then bake for about 12-15 min. Then you’ll have a delicious addition to your second breakfast while you wait for your pie! 


  1. Zomg, homemade fruit pie... ~drool~

  2. I love this! You do a great job of demystifying the process and explaining in clear terms. You should do a cookbook!