Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Basics: 'Fool-proof' pie dough

I'd love to be able to make pastries. I really would. My waistline wouldn't, but I would. I'm sure B would too. I just can't get the hang of it... there's some aspect that I just haven't been able to master yet, much like my woes involving yeast. But if it's one thing any self-respecting cook should have in their arsenal, it's a pie dough recipe. I finally faced my fears a few months back and decided to find my go-to recipe. I started as basic as possible and tried the recipe on the box that proclaimed it was fool proof! I don't generally put much faith in recipes advertised on the box, but figured I'd give it a shot. The box I found the recipe on was.... a box of lard. Now before I lose you! Don't be too quick to judge... I know lard is generally frowned upon in this day and age, but really is no worse than any other fat we put in our foods. Well, ok, maybe a bit worse, but still! The brand I used was Tenderflake and the box was plastered with reassurance that their product is non-hydrogenated and so on and so forth. So basically it's not as awful for you as it used to be, but it's still fat, so use wisely. You can, of course, use shortening instead, but that's just as bad nutritionally speaking, it just comes from plants instead of animals ;)

So, all that being said... I tried the recipe, and I loved it. You heard me... I LOVE LARD!

A 1 pound block of the stuff yields enough dough for 6 pies/quiches/etc. It freezes beautifully and bakes like a dream. I'd found my go-to recipe on the first try.... score :D

Fool-proof Pie Dough
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 lb. lard
1 egg
1 tbsp white vinegar
cold water

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Using a fork, cut in lard until coarse crumbs form.
In a measuring cup, mix egg and vinegar, then add cold water to equal one cup. Add to dough, 1 tbsp at a time, using your fork until a dough forms. Press into a ball.
Dough makes enough for 6 pie shells (6 open-top pies or 3 covered pies). Can be rolled out and used immediately or divided into portions and refrigerated up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.

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