We all have them, the Achilles heel of our culinary talents. For me, it's pie crust. I used to follow the directions out of the Betty Crocker Red Checkered Cook Book to the letter and still, my crust was dry or hard or both. My husband, who is notorious for getting all "judgey" about my cooking, would always just eat the filling and leave the scraped-clean crust sitting on his plate, a not-so-gentle reminder that I had once again failed to pass the "best crust I ever ate" hurdle that all wives know their husbands try to make them leap.
Now, I have a recipe for the flakiest crust you can imagine. It's tender and just crispy around the top enough to satisfy all the eaters, and no matter how many times I mush it back together (I also struggle with sizing my crusts) it remains delightful.
I am sharing this with you, from one former failed baker to another, so hopefully more pie crust-challenged bakers will succeed in making beautiful desserts this year. Either way, make this recipe and you will have 5 single or 3 double crust and 1 single crust waiting for you in the fridge.
Makes 5 single crusts
4 Cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 3/4 lard(use shortening if that is what you have)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 Cup milk
1 Combine flour, sugar(if using), salt in a deep bowl.
2 Add lard or shortening and work it in with your fingers, a fork or a pastry cutter until it is well incorporated. You can tell this step is finished, when the lard is no longer distinguishable from the flour mixture, and has become grainy looking. Don’t worry that some of the bits may be almost pea sized. This is still fine.
3 In a small bowl, beat the egg and add the vinegar and milk. Mix until combined.
4 Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until workable(meaning there are no pockets of egg throughout). The dough will be moist and lovely at this point. It still needs to be worked a bit before using though.
5 Dump the entire contents onto a lightly floured surface(I use my trusty Tupperware pastry mat). Fold dough onto itself a few times, until it all comes together evenly. You are not kneading, just working the moisture throughout, so there are no dry pockets. This should take 20 seconds-it doesn’t need much work.
~Do not worry about over kneading. This recipe will NOT get tough with excess handling~
6 Shape into a log and divide into 5 even pieces. These are your pie crusts and can be frozen or used right away. That is all there is to it!