Divas on a Dime: Keep your eyes on the pies


What do you think of when you think of pie crust? Take a moment, I’ll wait.

I asked my friends and I was so surprised and delighted with the answers. Being a recipe developer and food writer, I was thinking purely technically. I expected answers like “flaky”, “buttery”, “golden brown and delicious.”

Instead, I got answers like “that pie my sister made with blackberries from the backyard one summer,” “Thanksgiving with my family,” and “I miss my Grandma.” If this made you smile from the heart, then you and I can be good friends.

This time of year, more than any other, food becomes so much more than sustenance. It’s a link to our memories, traditions, heritage, and bridge to our future.

I decided right then to change the focus of this column. I was going to write about pie fillings for the holidays but I realized that if you can make a decent crust; you can fill it with just about anything. Anytime. Easy as pie. I went through my family recipes for the easiest, most consistent crust. If you’re looking for a “go-to” recipe for everyday pie crust, here it is.

Easy Pie Crust

This delicious, buttery recipe makes enough dough for one double-crusted pie or two single-crusted pies.

What You’ll Need:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 sticks well-chilled butter, cut into pieces

Ice water – about ¼ cup

Here’s How:

In the bowl of a food processor (recommended) or a medium-size bowl; mix flour, salt and sugar to combine and aerate.

Cut 2 sticks well-chilled butter into small pieces or grate with the largest grating surface of a cheese grater. I put mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes so it’s really cold. Place the butter evenly over the flour mixture. If you’re using a food processor, pulse the mixture in short bursts until it resembles coarse meal. If you’re working by hand, cut in butter with a pastry blender, working until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add 4 tablespoons of ice water and pulse or work the dough with your hands until dough comes together.

To test, take a small handful and make a fist, if the dough holds its shape, it’s good. If dough is still crumbly, add more ice water a tablespoon at a time, up to 3 more tablespoons. Don’t overwork.

Divide dough in half placing on plastic wrap, flatten halves into disks. Wrap disks separately and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

To shape the pie crust, roll dough on a floured surface into a 12-inch round. Carefully wrap around rolling pin and unroll over a 9-inch pie plate.

Press gently into bottom and side of plate. Use kitchen shears to trim dough to a 1-inch overhang; fold under, and seal. Form a decorative rim if desired.

Pie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator before rolling and baking. If you’re making this crust for a savory dish like quiche, reduce the sugar to one teaspoon.

I hope this recipe inspires you to remember your past while making some new memories.

Frugal Festive Foods contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.