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Rosafina's Pie-Crust Secrets

posted Dec 4, 2013, 8:19 AM by Peppy Bristlebrush   [ updated Dec 4, 2013, 8:30 AM ]
By Rosafina Diggle   

Now, anybody with a bit of hobbit-sense can follow a recipe, and we've all got plenty of that, or at least I should hope so. What I'm proposing to offer you here is advice on how to go about executing a recipe--specifically a recipe for pie-crust.

Now as we all know, a really good pie-crust is both flaky and tender. The moment it hits your fork it should shatter into little crispy flakes of buttery goodness that practically melt in your mouth--at least, that is how I think pie crust ought to be.

The first secret I'm going to share with you will be a bit tricky, at least for half the year. The secret to good crust is COLD--keeping it a bit stiff and cold while you roll it out, and having it be as cool as it can be when you pop it in the oven.

In winter or fall, this is fine. Once you've made your crust but before you roll it out, just set it on the open windowsill (and even better, if it's snowing a bit or there's ice in the well, just pack some of that 'round the bottom of the bowl on the outside). I don't claim to know why this helps, but my grandma said the butter shouldn't melt until you pop the whole thing in the oven, or it'll be runny and greasy.

In the summertime, I personally have a marble rolling pin handed down to me by my great-grandmother Chrysanthemum, and my secret is this: we have a deep well out in the yard, and I lower that pin all the way to the bottom of the well on a rope (tightly tied!) and leave it for a while. When I pull it up it is always nice and cool, which helps a great deal!

My next piece of pie advice: don't fool around with lard or fat or oil or anything like that. Just you stick to all butter crusts, and your family and neighbors will thank you. It is much more flavorful, after all!

My last tip, gentle readers, is that you really don't want to over-work the pie crust. If you do it becomes tough and not tender at all, so when you're working the butter into the flour with your fingertips, do it quick-like and make sure you leave some lumps of butter about the size of a pea in there (it does not have to look perfect, just crumbly). Don't worry--it will all come together when you add the (cold) water!

And that's all I can say about pie-crusts--at least, all I can say without giving
away mum's secrets!
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