Sunday, March 15, 2009

Great Cooks Speak Now!

The unthinkable has happened. I need advice. I am one of those kinds of people who follows the beat of my own drum; a good thing since I alone can hear it. In my self contained oblivion of knowing all that I need to know, (yikes is this a confession?)or actually, maybe, pretend to know! There, that is better. Anyway the bottom line is I have lost my edge.

I used to have the knack for pie crust. I made them often and they were perfect. Thinking this might be like bike riding one of those things you never forget, I have tried a couple of times, and the whole lousy mess went into the trash. I knew it was over worked, I knew it was tough, and there was no use in even putting it in the oven. Here is the problem, listen closely!

#1. I used to use a pastry blender and after cutting my nearly frozen pieces of tiny butter and a small dollop of shortening I worked by hand to make my crumbles. After refrigerating it and using ice water I forked the water in gently, barely touching it and then rolled it with flour until the whole thing magically turned into a nice soft crust, a thing of beauty.

#2. I have however become LAZY! That pie crust however good, is a TON of time consuming work! I saw Julia Childs use her food processor and whip up pie crust in less than 5 minutes. THIS appeals to me! Every time I use the processor out comes bricks.

#3. For years now I have been cheating and adding a bit of flour to the pre made rolls of pie crust that you buy in those red boxes. No one ever guesses that they aren't home made. But the prices have gone up, and up, and up. Have you noticed how stingy I have been getting? I don't want to buy 2 pie crusts for $3.00. I also don't want to spend an hour or more with my hand pastry blender and my bowl. I used to make about 6 crusts at a time. I also HATE CRISCO. I hate shortening in any form. That stuff is artery clogger. It is vile and disgusting. If you don't believe me then go take a nice big spoonful and eat it straight. Right. Anything that requires that many other ingredients to make it edible was never intended by God to be eaten. It's toxic refuse. Sorry to all the shortening lovers.

#4 The big question. Does anyone have a recipe or method for wonderful pie crust that can be made very quickly and does not contain shortening? Or at the very least just a little bit of shortening and real butter? Does anyone make pie crust?
Really, how about biscuits?

13 comments:

Laura ~Peach~ said...

i used to make breads and biscuts homemade but time became a factor and the canned and store bought was just convient and so far i have not gone back to home made in those areas... I dont know how to make biscuts without shortning and I dont like it either... good luck and I hope you find someting that works!
Hugs Laura

Grandma J said...

Sometimes I make my own crust, and other times I buy the premade ones that you roll out. I think they are pretty good, but If you are budgeting, making your own is cheaper. I wish I could tell you that I know some sort of short-cut or shortening free recipe, but I don't. I think a good pie crust is worth the work, just like a good souffle.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I love you :-)

My husband makes my pie crusts and does them like you used to. When he's away, it's roll-out crusts for me... who am I kidding, in my house people only eat the filling anyway.

Biscuits... yeah, have you ever seen Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in "To Dance with the White Dog"? If not, you must. Seriously, if I never ever suggest another thing for you, watch it. And then laugh when you make biscuits.

Trudy said...

Wish I knew of a good crust with no shortening--I found a page that had it with oil instead of Crisco-

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1514538/how_to_make_an_easy_tasty_beautiful.html?cat=22

but I don't know whether it would turn out well or not!! Good luck with finding one--and God bless you this coming week!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Okay! I'm convicted. I have a note to myself in my kitchen that has been there since your last visit. It reads: Recipes for Karen -- pie crust, biscuits, scones. I promised and I reneged. FORGIVE ME! I will post my recipes this week as I PROMISED!!

You watched me plough away with my flour and ORGANIC NON-HYDROGENATED shortening. It's not hard or even too time consuming. The results are fabulous. I even have food processor recipes for a french pie crust with all butter--fabulous!

You haven't lost your edge, you're just thinkin' how much more fun this would be if we all lived on a country lane and would pop in for pie and coffee (tea for me) and a chat. Maybe we'd blab while the cinammon rolls rise and then just HAVE to taste them, just a nibble.

Oh dear, I've blabbed a post here. Sorry. : ( I'll get back to my own blog and post those recipes this week. XO

Chris H said...

I HAVE made my own pastry... The old fashioned way like you did... nowdays I buy ready made.. I dont' care how much it costs! It saves me time and energy! I am a lazy tart.

farmlady said...

I wish I could help but there aren't any shortcuts for a really good pie crust. Sometimes I use the Butter Crisco and I know some friends that use 1/2 butter with Crisco but if you want flaky pie crust.., the old way with ice water (and I put a tablespoon of red vinegar in the ice water) and Crisco is the best.
Where do you get Non-Hydrogenated shortening? I've never heard of it.

Heidi said...

one four letter word LARD!! It doesnt clog arterys like everyone things because its animal fat - our body know how to dispose of it!!! I dont have an answer for you cuz... I BUY MY CRUST TOO!! I buy Pappys and use so much of them that I must own stock in the company by now! My motherinlaw makes the BEST pie crust ever and I cant do it to save my soul.

Karen Deborah said...

Can I buy Pappy's?

We are waiting to hear from Debbie about the non hydrogenated shortening.

Becky said...

Sorry, pies are not my thing but if you need help with cream puffs or cookies, I'm your girl. ;-)

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Okay, I posted some recipes and the info about the non-hydrogenated shortening. Come one come all -- let's get cookin'!!

: D

LDF said...

I have to admit, I'm with Heidi on the lard. I LIKE pie crusts made with lard! However, my fridge is more likely to HAVE butter in it than lard, so that's what I generally use. Unsalted butter. I had a Yugoslav friend years ago who substituted sour cream for shortening/lard/butter in her pie crusts. It was SO DELICIOUS! She said the secret was chilling it before rolling it, then rolling it with a light hand. Maybe we should do some experimenting ...

Karey said...

I do still make my pie crusts from scratch and I have shifted to a food processor. And I use all butter. I never use shortening for anything since it's a poison and our body doesn't know how to break it down. I have used lard and am not opposed to it, and I've used the organic shortening which is palm oil, and it's good for our bodies.

BUT, with food processing, I think we can tend to over-process. So I'll put some of the water in, dump it all in a bowl and do the final mixing with my hand-held pastry blender. Then flatten in plastic wrap and refrigerate while getting pie filling ready. Then roll out.

But too there's always weird days ... who knows ... like humidity and more moist flour ... I'll occasionally get crumbly messes and patch them into the dish ... Messes can become just cinnamon crust pieces ...