An Introduction to Pie

posted by Bob Waldrop on January 31st, 2006

A good pie starts with a good pie crust. I once complained to my grandmother that I couldn’t make a decent pie crust. She said, “Bobby Max, that’s because you haven’t made enough pies. When you have made 100 pies, you will be able to make a great pie crust.”

I suppose I have passed 100 now, and my pie crust is pretty decent these days. This is my favorite pie crust recipe. I don’t know who the “Dorothy” is in the title, “Dorothy’s Never Fail Pie Crust.” I found it in a church cookbook I bought for a quarter in a used book store.

Dorothy’s Never Fail Pie Crust

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup butter
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
5 tablespoons water

Mix the flour and salt, add the butter, mix thoroughly. You can mix this in a blender or you could use a mixer. The point is to thoroughly mix the flour and the butter. Mix the water and the vinegar, add that and the egg, mix together with a fork. Knead a few times. Roll out on a floured board. Manipulate only as much as necessary, the more you roll it, the tougher it will get. Place dough between two sheets of wax paper when rolling it out. To put in pie pan, fold it in half, and then again in quarters, place in baking dish. Then unfold and arrange in pan. If the dough tears, dip your fingers in water and press it back into place, or “patch” with extra pieces of dough. There are as many different recipes for pie crust, this recipe is among the less complicated. Makes enough for 4 one crust pies or 2, two crust pies.

Next we proceed to an actual pie.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar pie crust

Boil sweet potatoes whole until done, peel the skins off (after boiling). Mash with beaten eggs, butter, and brown sugar. Add pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger), pour in unbaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees until a knife in the center comes out clean (about 45 minutes).

Now we have a cobbler, which isn’t exactly a pie, but it tastes pretty good nevertheless.

Mulberry Cobbler

Mulberries are widely grown in Oklahoma and they are the earliest spring fruit. They don’t keep very well, so as soon as you pick them, make mulberry cobbler or jam. Put the mulberries in a pan, cover with water, bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer about 10 minutes. The water will turn dark purple. Mix 1 tablespoonof corn starch with a small amount of water, and add to mulberries and cook until it thickens. (Adjust amount of corn starch based on the amount of water and berries.) Taste, add sugar or honey if necessary.

To make the cobbler, use “Bob’s Favorite Easy Very Tasty Cobbler” recipe which follows immediately:

Bob’s Favorite Easy Very Tasty Cobbler

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 stick of butter
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 or 2 cans pie filling or canned fruit

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add milk and melted butter, mix well. Pour batter into baking pan (use a casserole dish). Pour pie filing (or mulberries as described above, or other favorite fruit cooked a bit) on top of the batter. The batter rises up and covers the fruit as it bakes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes (or until golden brown on top).

I will dig out my pinto bean pie and post it in a day or so.

PS. The real secret to a truly delectable flaky pie crust is to use LARD instead of oil or butter or (shudder) hydrogenated shortening. And don’t use the hydrogenated lard found in stores. Find a farmer, get him or her to raise a pig for you, take the pig to a custom butcher, and get your lard that way. That’s what we do in Oklahoma City.

Bob Waldrop, “Catholic Worker Online Agronomic University Extension Department”

PS. Again: I am presently collecting recipes for the 6th edition of our Better Times Almanac of Useful Information, so we are looking for good tasting frugal recipes.

Published in: Pie | on January 31st, 2006 | Permanent Link to “An Introduction to Pie” | 1 Comment »

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  1. On January 31, 2006 at 05:48 Dr Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    Dear Bob – I look forward to the day when all candidates post pie recipes as a part of their campaign. Peace.

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