Cooking was never my forte' until Whitegrass Cafe entered into my life. Whitegrass Cafe is a small restaurant in West Virginia that creates the most delectable dishes I've ever encountered. The tiny cross-country ski resort packs them in all winter long and the Cafe sells out every weekend. Reservations must be made weeks in advance. The Cafe published two cookbooks and today I found the perfect pie crust recipe from Whitegrass Flavor, the most recent of the two cookbooks. Hubby tried his hand at making pie crust a couple weeks ago using his mother's recipe with mediocre results. Today, he was happy to see the Whitegrass pie crust success. The consistency of the crust was smooth and it rolled nicely. The real test was folding the crust in half and laying it in the pan without any tears or stretching. It worked like a charm. Cost savings making our own crust vs buying ready-made crusts is about 70%. That's significant. I'm now "Crusty" the crust maker and hubby is "Creamy" the custard filling maker. We're such a team. Here's the recipe
Mom's Pie Crust
(Makes one crust)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
2 1/2 tablespoon butter, cold
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
My mom uses all shortening, but I use half butter and shortening. Some say that lard makes a good crust. You will have to work with it and see which you like best. This recipe may seem overwhelming, but you can get hooked on making pie crust from scratch, I did. MBG (Marybeth Gwyer)
Place flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add shortening, blend with a pastry cutter, or by cutting in opposite directions with two knives. Blend in butter until you have coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Or you can use a food processor to mix the dough. Pulse gently for 1 second at a time, don't over mix.
In the bowl, sprinkle one tablespoon of water over different parts of mixture. Toss quickly with a fork until particles stick together when pressed gently. Use only enough water to make the particles cling together (Jill used 3 tablespoons). Dough should not be wet or slippery. Form into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Dough can be frozen for later use.
Remove dough from fridge, let set 5 minutes. To roll roll out dough, scatter a little flour and sugar over your work surface. Flour the rolling pin as well. Flatten dough ball and gently begin to roll out from center to all directions. Turn dough as needed and sprinkle more flour and sugar as needed. You may have to cut and paste areas to make a round shape. Roll to about 1/8 inch thin.
Fold circle in half, gently, then quartered. Pick up and lay in pie pan. Unfold gently. Trim, leaving 3/4 inch overhanging. Tuck that under and pinch around the trim for an edge.
To bake an empty crust, first refrigerate about 30 minutes. Cover the shell with foil and line it with 1/2 cup dried beans. This will keep it from puffing up. Bank in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. then gently remove foil and beans. Bank an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.