As much as I would like to be more ambitious or aggressive in my approach to finishing or beginning some projects, I am not in that particular place at the moment. Lately it’s like the season has settled into my soul. So I have been doing little in “accomplishing” and instead I have been tinkering. A little baking, a little crocheting and still keeping up with routine maintenance around the house. And for now that feels like enough.
Today I was going to run some errands including stopping by our nearby rural bulk food shop to pick up a few things. Instead I baked pies. (See what I mean? I’m just kind of coasting through the days right now) I figure with all the berries we were able to gather and freeze over the summer, I may be baking pies and cobblers all winter. Nothing wrong with that, though.
I’m a good pie baker. No brag, just fact. But then it really doesn’t take a lot to be good at it. You just need a dependable dough recipe and the right ingredients and tools.
Here's my basic recipes for pie crust and cooked berry filling. The dough recipe will make five 9 or 10 inch crusts. I usually make two double crust fruit pies and one shell for a cream pie or to freeze. The filling will fill two 9-10" pies.
Basic Pie Filling (berry or cherry) for two 10” pies
About 10 cups of fresh or frozen (and thawed) berries
1 ½ - 2 cups sugar depending on particular berries and their tartness. This time I used black raspberries, so I used 1 ½ cups sugar since they are naturally sweet. If I were making elderberry or sour cherry pies I would likely increase the sugar to 2 cups.
6 T. cornstarch
Up to a cup of water if needed. Sorry, I don’t measure, I just pour a little out of the tea kettle if necessary to make sure they are a little liquidy.
Mix sugar and corn starch in a bowl. In pan, place berries. If fresh, mash down somewhat to get them juicy. If from the freezer, do not drain.
Add sugar mixture and stir in well. Add a little water if necessary. Cook over medium high heat until bubbly, glossy and thickened, stirring continually to prevent sticking. Remove from heat to cool.
Dough for five 10” pie crusts
6 cups unbleached flour
2 cups Spectrum organic shortening or lard.
1 T. salt
about ¾ cup cold water
Mix salt and flour together.
Add water by sprinkling it over the dough mixture with a spoon then working it in with your hands until you get this.
Once blended, form a nice sized ball of dough with your hands and pat it out somewhat on a piece of wax paper. Lay a second piece of wax paper on top and begin rolling it out.
You must be firm with the rolling pin and turn the wax paper around fairly often to get an evenly rolled crust. I have always rolled my dough like this because it’s never failed to guarantee me a nice crust without integrating too much flour or having it stick to the rolling surface or having your rolling pin stick to the dough. It just works for me.
When adequately rolled, peel off the top layer of wax paper, flip the dough into the pie plate and then carefully peel off the other layer of wax paper that is now facing you.
You will do this again for your second pie.
Once you have filled your crusts with pie filling of your choice, then repeat dough rolling process for your top crusts. Just before applying top crust, wet edge of bottom crust. This seals the two crusts. Crimp edges by pinching dough between your thumb and index finger…at least that’s how I do it. Then with a knife edge, shave off excess dough. Vent your top crusts to allow steam to escape and bake as directed. I like to lightly sprinkle some sugar on the top crust. Just makes a prettier pie imo.
Tah Dah! Who cares what's for dinner, let's eat pie!