Thursday, December 17, 2015

No-Roll Pie Crust


Sift directly into pie pan
      1 1/2 c. flour
      1 1/2 tsp. sugar
      1 tsp. salt
In measuring cup, whip with fork
      1/2 c. oil
      2 T. cold milk
Pour liquid over flour. Stir and toss with fork (careful, it will seem like there is a lot of flour) until all the flour is dampened.

With finger tips, make an even layer on the bottom, up the sides and on the rim. Flute/pinch the rim crust with your fingers. If one place is too thick and one too thin, you can patch, but try to be even as you go.

      unfilled: 12-15 min at 425 deg. Before baking, place
           circle of parchment paper on top of crust and fill
           with pie weights or dried beans
      filled: 15 min at 400 deg, then 30 min at 350 deg.

      P.S. At the end of the 30 min., I've been turning off the
      oven but leaving the pie inside for another 30 min.-1 hour
      (because I forget to take it out or I'm taking a nap and
      tell Phil to just turn off the oven when the beeper beeps).
      The crust texture has been perfect every time. I have yet
      to see what it is like if I actually remove the pie when
      the baking time is over.

      P.P.S. Now that I've tried removing the pie on time, I
      think it is a better idea not to, especially when the fruit
      is very juicy. So whether it's accidentally or on purpose,
      leave the pie in the cooling oven to dry out a bit.

Phil's Aunt Shayna mostly made this crust for her fabulous lemon meringue pie. But that may be more ambitious than you want. You can just make any old fruit pie using this crust. What fruit? Really, any of the usual: apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or a mixture of two or more. I tend to make apple or peach myself. Here's an R3A2 recipe from Joy of Cooking.

Joy-of recommends
     5 cups of fruit
This seems like a lot to me, but it depends, literally, on how you slice it. If you use apples or pears, peel and core them and then slice them thinly so they cook down faster. If you use peaches or other stone fruit, you don't have to peel them unless you really want to. In that case, use the boiling water trick*. Leave the sliced fruit in a bowl, and in a smaller bowl mix together the SUGAR MIXTURE:
      1/2 to 2/3 c. sugar
      1/8 tsp. salt
      1 to 1 1/2 Tb. corn starch
      1/4 tsp. cinnamon
      1/8 tsp. nutmeg
You can toss the sugar mixture with the fruit and then put everything in the unbaked crust, or you can put a layer of fruit in the crust, top with some sugar mixture, and repeat until everything is used up. Or, if you happen to have put all the fruit in the crust before making the sugar mixture, don't worry. Just pour the sugar mixture all over the fruit. It will sink in and be fine. I often sprinkle some other things on top, such as
      1/8 tsp. allspice or
      ground walnuts (ground unto flour, if I happen to have
           ground too many for Vegetarian Epicure
           Eggplant (recipe on request))

Joy-of says to add lemon juice if the fruit is dry or if you like a little lemon. (I'd squeeze on the juice from 2 wedges of a medium lemon.) Joy-of also says always to dot with butter before baking. I routinely forget to do the butter and have never noticed the lack.

Phil's Aunt Shayna, may she rest in peace, taught Cooking in a middle school in Detroit for many years - which meant that she also taught the kids math, geography, science, nutrition, civics and everything else. I don't know if she invented this recipe or found it somewhere, but it is definitely perfect for middle-schoolers. And for everyone else. It's like making mud pies.

* Boiling Water Trick for Peeling: Fill a small pot about 2/3 full of water and bring to the boil. Have a pyrex cup or bowl half-filled with ice water standing by. Throw in (one at a time) whatever it is that needs peeling (can be a tomato as well as a peach or other fruit). Do _not_ turn off the heat. Leave the thing in the pot for 30 seconds, then remove it with a slotted spoon and plop it into the ice water for about 10 seconds. Take it out and the peel should come right off without any implements. If it needs help, use the tip of a knife to start the removal process. Repeat for the rest of the things in need of peeling. Add water to the pot or the bowl if you need to. Don't worry that the boiling water gets colored by whatever it is you're trying to peel. When you're all done, toss the water - into your garden during a drought.
rjm 8/25/93; 11/13/14;12/17/15