Pies are one of those desserts that can be intimidating to tackle. Most of the time, it's the homemade crust that is the most daunting. There's always the debate of butter versus shortening for the crust. I've tried time and time again to make a yummy butter crust but in my hands, the flour always gets overworked, lumpy, and difficult to roll. I had never used shortening before, but once I did, it was a game changer. For me, this recipe always yields a pliable dough that bakes up to a deliciously flaky crust. And once you've mastered the crust, the rest is...well as they say...easy as pie!
Carolyn's Foolproof Crust Recipe
(yields 2 crusts)
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of Crisco shortening (I like using the sticks for easy measuring)
3/4 cup cold water
Combine crust ingredients and mix until crumbly and pea sized. Mix in water, lightly. Make sure you don't overwork the crust! Press together and chill. This yields two crusts and can be prepared a day in advance. Just wrap in Saran Wrap and place in the fridge.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Pie crust recipe above
2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb (I use a vegetable peeler over the back to get rid of any tough fibers)
2 1/2 cups hulled, washed, and cut strawberries
2 tbsp corn starch or minute tapioca
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp butter, cubed small
Divide the dough in two and roll out to 1/8-1/4" thick disk. Fold one disk over rolling pin and transfer to pie dish. Place crust and pie dish in the fridge while preparing filling ingredients. 2nd disk can be used as is for a top crust or cut into strips for a lattice top.
Mix all of the ingredients except for the butter in a large bowl and pour into chilled crust. Dot the top of the filling with the butter. Place top crust or lattice strips over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling. I like to serve this pie at room temperature as it's easier to make pretty slices.