[Sca-cooks] Best bulk pie crust recipe?

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Thu Jan 22 16:21:18 PST 2009

>I am embarrassed to admit I have never made pie crusts from scratch for a 

Having done it, I can assure you it is no great virtue and a lot of work. 
To save time I generally use purchased pie shells.  I purchase ones made 
with vegetable shortening rather than lard as there are a number of 
vegetarians running around and at least one of the people I feed on occasion 
has an allergy to pork and pork products.

> I am making chard and ricotta pies for a feast coming up, and I'd like to 
> do covered coffin-style pies but I'm afraid a period hard crust would be 
> seen as just "bad pie crust" around here.
> I would prefer not to use vegetable shortening (yuck), but butter would be 
> too expensive and lard means even fewer vegetarian dishes. Oil pastry 
> doesn't have enough stability for a coffin-style pie.
> What is your favorite bulk pastry recipe? Have you made hard pastry cases 
> for feasts? How were they received?
> Madhavi

You might just let people know that the coffin shell is not meant to be 

Or you might try the Elizabethean pie shell recipe that follows.  I would 
recommend blind baking the pie shell and cooking the filling seperately. 
I've used it successfully for sweet spinach torts/


Elizabethan Pie Shell

Another Way. Then make your paste with butter, fair water,
and the yolkes of two or three Egs, and so soone as ye have
driven your paste, cast on a little sugar, and rosewater, and
harden your paste afore in the oven. Then take it out, and fill
it, and set it in againe.

The Good Huswifes Handmaid, 1588

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup flour (approx.)
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup water

In a bowl, cut butter into 1 cup of flour, until it crumbs.
Add egg yolks and cut into mixture. Add additional flour a
Tablespoon at a time until the moisture is absorbed into the
Add the water and cut into mixture. Add additional flour a
Tablespoon at a time, as needed, until the moisture is absorbed
into the crumbs.
Push the crumbs into a ball, working the dough gently for a few
seconds to smooth it.
Let the dough rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
Roll out the crusts on a floured surface and transfer to pie pans.
The recipe makes two 8 or 9 inch pie shells.
Prick the pie shells to let air vent from between the shell and
the pan.
Sprinkle sugar on the shell before baking. I used about a scant
1/4 teaspoon granulated white.
If the shell is to be filled after baking, bake the shell at 325
degrees F for about 35 minutes or until very light brown.
If the filling needs to be baked in the shell, bake the shell at 325
degrees F for about 10 minutes, remove, fill and continue
baking as per the filling recipe.
Notes: This recipe makes very light, crisp pie shells. If the
dough is worked minimally, the result is flaky and very similar
to modern pie shells. The more the dough is worked, the more
the pie shell resembles a crisp or cracker.
By taste, salt is noticeably missing from the crust, but the sugar
modifies the taste. A fine ground white sugar or a brown sugar
might present interesting differences.
As written, this recipe appears to be for a dessert shell, but it
might also represent an interesting contrast for a savory filling. 

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