[Sca-cooks] Best bulk pie crust recipe?

Gretchen Beck grm at andrew.cmu.edu
Thu Jan 22 17:04:31 PST 2009

I've used this shell with savory filling (herb tarts) -- it's quite nice
and fairly sturdy.  I have a friend who took the leftover dough home and
made empanadas (her mother still refers to me as "the girl who made the
good dough")

toodles, margaret

--On Thursday, January 22, 2009 6:21 PM -0600 Terry Decker
<t.d.decker at att.net> wrote:

>> I am embarrassed to admit I have never made pie crusts from scratch for
>> a  feast.
> 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
> eaten.
> 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/
> Bear
> 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
> sugar
> 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
> crumbs.
> 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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