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Making pies

September 16, 2009 - Kathie Evanoff
This is the only pie crust recipe that I managed to make. I copied it here in its entirety, taking license for paragraph breaks making it easier, I think, to read and follow. I substitute shortening for the lard and it doesn’t seem to detract from the final product. I also don’t always fold the dough three times, as suggested.

The recipe was originally written by Isabelle Gordon Curtis, a modern working woman in the early 1900’s, who was, I suspect, the Martha Stewart of her time.

Flaky Pie Crust Source: Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook, circa 1909

3 cupfuls flour, ½ cupful butter, ¾ cupful ice water, ½ cupful lard.

Sift the flour into a chopping bowl, add the butter and lard, and chop with a knife until no piece of the shortening larger than a pecan can be seen.

Sprinkle the water here and there through the flour, and mix with a fork into a soft dough. Drop on a floured board, dust lightly with flour, press down with the rolling pin, and roll back and forth until the paste becomes an oblong sheet not more than a half an inch in thickness.

Slip a broad-bladed knife under each end of this sheet and fold over toward the center, thus forming three layers of the paste. Lift, with the knife, from the board, dust with fresh flour; lay the paste down again, dust with flour, roll, and again fold over as before. Repeat the operation and the paste is ready to use.

When ice water is added to the flour and shortening, the shortening becomes distributed through the flour in small balls and is not packed together in a mass, and when the dough is drawn together and lightly pressed with the rolling pin, these balls flatten into flakes, which, by repeated foldings, are piled one upon another, and by gently rolling become thinner and more delicate.

Three rollings and foldings are as much as these flakes will bear. Rolling and folding a great number of times causes them to become broken and packed, so that the paste will not rise and puff up, as it should, in baking.

It is well to let the paste lie on ice, or in a cold place, for an hour before rolling out for pies, as its quality is improved by so doing; and if the weather is warm, it may advantageously be placed on ice ten minutes between each rolling out. If a teaspoonful baking powder be sifted with the flour, less shortening can be used, but the pastry will not be as crisp and delicate.


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