Don’t Be Afraid of Crisco

Contributed by: Melinda, Michigan

When my mom was first married, she wanted to make an apple pie for my dad and went to buy the kind of ready-made dough that her mother always used. She couldn’t find it at the grocers, so she made her own from scratch with a recipe she found in a Cricso booklet. The pie crust was wonderful and easy to make, the pie turned out great, and mom never bought pie dough again! Not only that, my mother because known as a fabulous pie baker. And my dad, who was not a big fan of cake, requested pie every year for his birthday treat. It is the only pie crust recipy I have seen where the water is mixed with some of the flour before adding it to the dough. I don’t know the reasoning behind this method, but it does make a dough that holds together well (making it wasy to roll out and transfer to the pie plate) and is very flaky.

I had been concerned about using solid vegetable shortening because of the trans fat it contains, but the Crisco I buy now says “O g Trans Fat per serving”. They have changed the formulation to include palm oil. It is still fat, and probably not really healthy, but I don’t eat pie all that often anyway. Here is the recipe for original Crisco pie crust:

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon sal
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup cold Crisco vegetable shortening

In a medium size bowl, stir together flour and salt. Take out 1/3 cup and mix with water in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the remaining flour until the mixture is crumbly. Add the paste and combine with a wooden spoon, or the pastry blender, until the dough comes together. (The dough will not look completely uniform. It will have visible streaks of the flour-water mixture.) Pat the dough into a cylinder, cut in two pieces, and form each piece into a disc. Wrap the dough discs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Makes a two-crust 9″ pie or two 9″ pie shells.

I have made delicious pies using this exact recipe. When I bought  ’healthier” version of vegetable shortening and tried it in the recipe, the crust was not as good.

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