Pie Crust Making and IPC Holiday Hospitality 2011

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness” ~Jane Austen

Last weekend, I participated in IPC's Second Annual Hospitality event by giving a quick tutorial on pie crust making. Along with a cooking demonstration, we also had flower arrangement and bow making classes as well.

Mr. Mitchell, our beloved retired banker-turned-florist, taught us how to make beautiful floral centerpieces.

Beautiful Leah learning how to make holiday bows from Mrs. Scott.

Here are few helpful tips you can use to make your pie making easier this holiday season...

Use a scale to measure your ingredients! This is the key to all baking success, especially when baking in large volume. Whether you are measuring flour, sugar, butter, or cocoa powder, a scale is the quickest way to get accurate amount the recipe calls for.

Here are several choices of simple and inexpensive kitchen scales you can purchase online.

Chill your fats, by keeping shortening in the freezer (measure out, wrap and freeze ahead) and butter in the refrigerator until ready to process.

Use the food processor.
For quick blending of fats and flour, cut the butter and shortening into small chunks and "pulse" the mixture until coarse crumbles forms. (Don't over process!).

Wanna know a secret ingredient to making your pie crust flakey and light? Vodka....I know I am a church cook.....

With only 60% water, vodka gives supple and moist dough for easy for rolling with less gluten which makes the crust light and flakey without any alcohol taste. Give it a try, you will love the airy and scrumptious crust.

Roll out the dough on a cutting board and freeze before cutting the strips for lattice pies. The cuts will be crisp and neat.

Even though clear Pyrex pie dish is the best, when making several pies, use deep dish aluminum pans. Shape, cover well, and freeze until ready to bake.
And remember, the dough should be lightly handled, the less you knead the better. You want to keep the butter and shortening in dough cool as possible.

When you have pie crusts already made, making Classic Apple Pie is a snap....

And how about a pecan pie?

Cherry Pie? Easy as pie!

Here are the two must-have crust recipes:

Fool Proof Pie Crust (Makes double crust)
Butter/Shortening Recipe

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12.5 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (6 oz), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening (3.2 oz) , cut into 2 pieces
1/4 cup vodka , cold
1/4 cup ice cold water

1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse 8-10 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with small pea size pieces of butter. Empty the mixture in a medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide and flatten dough into two 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (Note: the dough will be very tacky, lightly flour when making dividing and flattening the discs)

3. Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

4 Add filling to the pie.

5 Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Gently pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together, then trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.

Brush on egg white and sprinkle with white sugar right before baking yields glossy and beautiful crust when baked.

Fran's No Fail Pie Crust
(All shortening recipe/makes double crust)
This is perfect when you need pre-baked crust for custard or chocolate pies.
You won't need pie weight when pre-baking this. Shape the dough in the pie pan, freeze at least an hour, pre-bake, then add your filling.

4 cups. all-purpose unbleached flour (20 oz)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Baking powder
2 cups of vegetable shortening (13 oz), freeze and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1 Tbsp vinegar
5 Tbsps. of ice cold water

1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add shortening and pulse 8-10 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Empty the mixture in a medium bowl.

2. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg, vinegar and cold water. Add to the coarse meal mixture and blend with a rubber spatula until mixture forms a supple dough. Divide dough in half, and shape into two 4-inch discs. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least one hour.

3. Roll out dough on a floured counter. Use as directed in pie recipe.

Brush on egg white and sprinkle with white sugar right before baking yields glossy and beautiful crust when baked.


  1. Ok, not that I will be making ANY of the above, but the pictures are so beautiful that I will come back again and again to look at them! Love your posts.

  2. hi kaye...i love the recipes for the pie crust and you make it seem so easy that I plan to try it this season rather than the frozen ones at the grocery store! I do have one question though, will the first recipe work substituting water rather than using vodka?

  3. @Kathy, if you are using all water, reduce it to about 5-6 tablespoon of ice cold water only or 4 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, mixed. Just be careful not to make it too wet, which will need more flour=tough dough. :)

  4. Such beautiful pies Kay! I think you sold the world using vodka instead of water! Genius!

  5. I love your tips! Especially because I have certainly struggled with my pie crusts before. I think it's time to buy some vodka!

  6. Vodka! Who would have thunk it? I will definitely be putting that tip to good use. Beautiful pies!

  7. thanks for the vodka tip, I'll have to try it.

  8. Your pie crusts are just BEAUTIFUL! They bake up so golden!

  9. Two great pie crusts recipes. I have heard of the vodka being used, but haven't tried it yet. I do freeze my butter, however, learning that from the Dorie Greenspan-Baking From My Home to Yours.

  10. What magnificent pies! Your pie crusts look perfect. Thanks for sharing your recipes with us.



  11. Great looking pies!! Thanks for the vodka idea. I am going to try it.

  12. Your photos are making me drool! Looking forward to trying the vodka idea - thank you for the tip.

  13. Saw you featured over on The Tasty Kitchen, so I thought I'd pop over to check your blog out. Gorgeous pie crusts!

  14. Thanks for your message Kay! You've inspired me to work on shaping my pie crusts better. Your pie crusts look so perfect! The lattice pies are so impressive. I still need to learn how to make them.

  15. I'm enjoying reading your blog! I used to cook for about 100 people in our homeschool group once a week when we met together. Now, my children are grown and I cook at our church some, helping with youth dinners and funeral dinners. I really enjoy it. So reading your large recipes is giving me more ideas!

  16. Thanksgiving is a time to recognize that God has put a smile upon our faces each passing day. We say 'thanks' for the most precious gifts in our lives - our family, friends and loved ones. So this Thanksgiving Day, you are being thankful for having as a never met in person friend over each other's blog! Thank you! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  17. What a clever trick! Vodka, I would have never thought of it. I'm wishing your family and you the best this holiday! I hope you guys have a delicious Thanksgiving!

  18. Vodka, never thought of it! Will have to try this, next pie I make... Today it's just Egg Nog Ice cream here, but I am sooo intrigued by this, maybe I will add a pie for tomorrow :)

  19. Thank you Kay, you're a great inspiration. I'm learning a lot from reading your blog. I love your blog. Bless you!

  20. Dear Elajr, you are the pie master! Wouldn't it be so wonderful to be able to get together and cook? :) Our Lord bless you and your ministry at your church!