The best part of any well made pie is the crust. It’s also the hardest part to master—I have cried over many, many failed pie crusts. So many, in fact, that my friend Ryan guessed that the secret ingredient to my pie crusts is tears.
But last March when I was selling pie to buy a plane ticket home to Georgia and I made about 30 pies in two weeks, my pie crust making technique was majorly streamlined. I now can reliably make a perfect pie crust in about fifteen minutes. Pie crusts are a mystical thing, and what works for one person may not work for another, but for what it’s worth, I’ve written out my own method. Feel free to try it and see if it works for you!
The trick I’ve found to making a crust that’s not to dry or crumbly is in the order of mixing the ingredients. I start by putting all of the crisco in a bowl, all of the salt, and 1/2 cup of flour and 2 tbsps of water. Using my pastry blender, I mix all the ingredients until blended. Then I add another 1/2 cup of flour and again, mix until blended. I keep doing this until I’ve added all the flour and water, and then mix it until it’s fairly solid.
At some point, ditch the pastry blender and stick your hands in there. Form all the dough into one big ball, and then break the ball in half, making two smaller balls. Each ball of dough is one pie crust—so this recipe could either make two pies with just a bottom crust, like pecan pie or pumpkin pie, or one pie with a top and bottom, like apple pie.
Now, you need a place to roll your dough out! I have an awesome marble slab that I got and it’s incredible and perfect because it’s smooth and cool and nothing sticks to it, but it’s expensive so only worth it if you make a lot of pies. You can also use a piece of pastry cloth, or even just wax paper taped to your counter.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour over your rolling surface and spread it out with your hand, and then take one lump of dough and turn it into a big flattened disk, like the same shape as a jelly filled donut. Sprinkle a little more flour on top, and start rolling!
The trick to successfully using a rolling pin is, like most things in life, patience. Resist the urge to do your best impression of a crazed baker, leaning into the dough and rolling back and forth like you’re rowing a boat or something. Always start in the middle of the dough and roll towards the edge. Roll away from you, and then pick up the rolling pin and go back to the middle and roll toward yourself. Go around the dough, rolling evenly in each direction. Don’t press down too hard—it’s better to get a heavy pin (I have a marble one) and let it do the work for you. Sprinkle and spread flour on the dough as you go to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin.
Your crust making endeavors could be going great up to this point, but then maybe you try to pick it up and move it to your pie pan and it TEARS IN HALF. True devastation. A good way to prevent this is to lightly flip the crust in half—if you have a pastry cloth or wax paper, you can just fold the entire cloth or paper in half and then peel it back. Then pick up the crust and set it in your pie pan and unfold it. Much less risky.
Take a knife or scissors and trim off the excess dough, leaving about 1” around the edge of the pie pan. If you do have any tears or gaps, it’s fine! Just use some of your excess dough and wet the back of it with cool water and patch up any mishaps. Now it just looks cool and rustic. Don’t even worry about it.
Finally, if you’re making a single crust pie, take the excess dough and fold it down. You can make cool designs in it if you want, or take your fingers and crimp around the edge. If you’re making a double crust pie, wait until you’ve got your filling and top crust in place, and then roll the two crusts together and crimp them with your fingers or a fork. (I think doing it with your fingers looks cooler.)
There you go! Now just fill it with whatever delicious filling you want and impress all your friends with your homemade pie crust.
wrote a short review of Gone Home to celebrate the reveal of the Steam Reviews beta
“There’s a lot of talk about the cost of this game in the reviews section of this site [Steam]. It seems that such users are using the age old criteria of equating the possible play hours in a game with its worth. The value of this game, of which there is a plentiful amount, reveals itself at a wonderful pace during the 2-3 hours it may take to reach the story’s end. The amazing sense of humanity in the game’s world is strengthened by its temporary nature; the game’s story exists in one evening and as such I find it appropriate that it can be completed in one evening. There is no glitz and glam, DLC gaps, hinted sequels or tacked on multiplayer. This is a game designed for an evening alone at home with a pair of headphones. I don’t want to talk about the story to a huge extent: I’d rather note how the game’s wonderful narrative mechanisms made for a far more consuming and involving process of play than I have experienced with any recent high budget “story driven” games. The soundtrack never quite feels nostaliga-exploitative though I can’t help but feel that this game is perhaps for a certain generation; the generation on the border of a digitisation of life itself. We sit at our laptops now, but in flipping from Side A to Side B of a cassette in Gone Home we are brought back to that sense of unknowing and possibility. Gone Home’s setting echoes this sense, a truly explorable place for once, and albeit linear you always feel like the record button is pushed down right alongside the play one.”