I learned how to make pie crust from two of the greats. My Dad, and Ina Garten. I’ve tried about a dozen different pie crusts over the years, but I always find myself going back to the one my Dad taught me how to make as a kid- probably the simplest one there is, but in my opinion, also the best.
One of my favorite childhood memories is making pies with my Dad on Thanksgiving morning, and there must be something about making pies, because my kids love to help me too. We take the leftover scraps and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar and bake them too, because pie crust is a terrible thing to waste. 🙂
Now, I would be lying if I said that making homemade pie crust is easy. It is not. Not even this recipe, it’s just the easiest of the hard. In fact, it is one of the things I hate making the most. Unfortunately though, refrigerated pie crust is just not the same.
I don’t know how Martha Stewart and Ina Garten magically roll out these perfectly elastic pie crusts that never break apart, always in the perfect round shape, but as a friend of mine said to me while we were discussing how homemade pie crust can bring frustration and even tears, “They have a staff. Their staff is probably in tears.”
Anyway, if you follow these directions just so, you should come out with a beautiful and VERY tasty homemade pie crust. Hopefully without shedding a single tear.
Recipe from Crisco
For this pretty pie, I make the double crust recipe. You need a double crust to have the scraps to cut out into shapes for the border.
For the crust:
- 2 2/3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- OR 1 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
- 6 to 10 tablespoons ice cold water
For the pie filling:
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1 can (15 ounces) Libby’s 100 percent pure pumpkin
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk, preferably Nestle Carnation
- Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat your oven to 425°. Mix together your pie filling ingredients in a large bowl and set it aside.
Place your flour, shortening, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Using a pastry cutter, or old-school like me, with a fork, cut the flour into the shortening until it is completely combined and has lumps about the size of peas: like so:
Don’t believe anybody who tells you that you have to have a pastry cutter for this step. A fork works just fine.
Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing with your hands, and kneading the dough to turn it over until it is a nice, solid ball. Do not over-work the dough- this is the number one mistake people make that will cause your pie crust to fall apart. Touch it as little as possible- your hands are warm, and you want it to stay cold.
Once you have a solid ball, tape a piece of wax or parchment paper onto your counter (thank you to my friend Tracy for this tip.)
Lightly flour the parchment paper, and roll your dough out into a large circle.
Place your pie pan upside down in the center.
Flip it over.
Press it down around the sides, and use a knife to trim off the excess dough.
Take the excess dough and cut it out into small shapes. You can use a leaf cookie cutter, or hearts, or just the end of a pastry tip for circles (like I did.) Make an egg wash (one egg + 2 tablespoons of water) or just use water.
Wet the edges of the pie with the egg wash or water, and take the small circles and press them, barely overlapping, onto the pie crust, sort of “gluing” them together with the egg wash.
Brush the top of the finished pie crust with the egg wash and fill with pumpkin.
Place a pie crust shield on top. If you don’t have one of these amazing inventions, loosely place foil around the crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°. Then, without opening the oven, reduce the heat to 350° and cook for an additional 50 minutes. Check the pie crust about halfway through, if it isn’t browning enough, remove the foil or shield- I usually keep it on the entire time.
Remove from the oven and cool completely to room temperature before serving. Happy Thanksgiving!