The Best Laid Plans

So, here’s the plan. Today I was going to blog about making pie crust. Y’see…I make really good pie crust – all flaky and tender. And I know it’s a challenge for some people, so I was going to show you how *I* do it. And then, tomorrow, I was going to blog about turning that pie crust into cobbler.

Well!

The Kitchen Trolls must be hiding under my cutting board. Things just kept going wrong. Little things…but they added up to a big mess. The last two were when the top crust took on a life of its own and literally LEPT from the rolling pin onto the top of the filling…before I was ready for it to. And it didn’t do it neatly, either. It just dove in and made a big, splashy mess. So, I crimped it all around and was just making the most of it, when I realized, I hadn’t put the “under” crust in. ARRRRGH! For me, that’s the most important part. I love the bits of crust floating inside the filling. So, I poked holes in the top crust and shoved inner crust pieces through the holes. Total disaster! I guess it’ll taste OK, but it looks like hammered hell, and you’re not going to see it!

So, I’m just going to do the bit about the pie crust, and I’ll try to describe how I turn it into a cobbler…unless I blow up the computer while I’m at it.

Here’s what you need for a two-crust pie (or two pie shells, or one cobbler):

2 ¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
¾ cup Crisco – DO NOT SUBSTITUTE ANYTHING ELSE!
1/3 Cup Ice Water

If you’ve got time to break the Crisco into tablespoon-size bits and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes, so much the better.

Put the flour, salt and Crisco in a largish bowl and start blending the Crisco into the flour with a pastry blender. I’ve seen cookbooks suggest you use two forks as a substitute, but that seems kind of clumsy to me. Pastry blenders are way cheap. Check your friendly local thrift store…lots of ’em end up there.

Good gracious! How did my grandmother’s hands get in that picture????

Anyway….keep blending the flour and Crisco until you get a lumpy mixture that looks something like this:

Then measure out 1/3 cup ice water – it really needs to be ICE water…not just cool. Pour the water over the flour mixture and toss it gently with a fork. You can use your fingers if you’re quick and have a light touch. But, be careful. You don’t want to “work” or knead the dough at all…and you don’t want to warm up the ingredients. I think my flour has been dryer than usual lately, as I’ve found that I need to add another couple of tablespoons of ice water to get the stuff to hang together. You may find that’s true for you, too.

Once your dough starts to stick together, turn it out onto a piece of plastic wrap and gently press it into a ball. The temptation at this point is to really mash it around, but don’t. Just press until it sticks together and leave it at that.

Your crust should have a bit of a mottled look. That texture is what will become your flakes during baking Mottling is good. Wrap your dough ball in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least an hour…longer if you’ve got the time. Overnight is fine.

If making pie shells, roll out and fit into pie tin, prick all over and bake at 425 until golden brown. If making a filled pie, bake as directed in the pie recipe. Pie dough can be frozen and used as much as six months later with no change in quality.

Now…for the cobbler. If you were raised on cobblers with a crumb crust or biscuit-like crust, you won’t like my cobbler. My mama made cobbler with pie crust, and that’s the “right” way in my mind. Everyone’s mileage differs.

So, for cobbler my way, first take just under 1/2 of the chilled pie dough. Roll it out a little more than 1/8 inch thick. Cut into small rectangles and bake them on a cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven until golden brown. Watch them closely, as they burn quickly once they start browning.

For the filling, you’ll need six cups of chopped fruit (or whole berries). Mash about 1/3 of the fruit to get some juice started. Stir in 2 cups sugar, 2 TBS cornstarch and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to avoid sticking. Pour into a deep casserole dish.

Poke the browned bits of crust down into the filling. Then, roll out the remaining crust to fit the top of the casserole, with about 2 inches extra. Turn the extra crust under all the way around and pinch decoratively…or not, depending on your patience. Return to the 425 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven, and place several small dots of butter all over the top. When it has melted sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Yum!

This cobbler I made earlier this summer is how it’s supposed to look. We’re not going to even think about the rag-tag disaster cooling in my kitchen right now.

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8 Responses to “The Best Laid Plans”

  1. noble pig Says:

    Ha! Maybe the weather is affecting the dough…humidity?

  2. City Mouse Says:

    Ooh – Good thought. The humidity.

    Thanks for this – I do pretty well with cakes and bread, but never had much luck with pie crusts. I ended up always buying them from the store in rolls. I’ll try it!

  3. Tammy Says:

    Yeah sure, temptation, temptation, and yet no invitation. 😦 LOL I’m sure even your disaster turned out great!!

  4. Kacey Says:

    I make pie crusts like you do. You’re right. I HAS to be Crisco! No substitutes!!

  5. Gettysburg Mom Says:

    Hello, my name is Gettysburg Mom. I have pie crust issues. (sob) My Mom makes outstanding pie crust. I’ve watched. I’ve studied. I’ve tried to replicate. I’ve failed miserably. I’ve purchased pie crust in the dairy section of the store. But, then, Aha! I’ve always used cold water, but never cold crisco. Never have I refrigerated my dough before rolling it out. I think I just had a pie crust epiphany!

  6. Shimmy Mom Says:

    Now I’m cravin’ pie!

  7. Christine Says:

    I’ll bet the cobbler is fabulous and frankly it wouldn’t last long enough around here to need to be pretty anyway. Love all your tips, I’m going to have to try this.

  8. Bargain Seeker on the Prowl » Blog Archive » Salsa, Grape Jelly & Aliens Says:

    […] make matters worse, my friend Suzette over at Just a Girl From Texas made a delicious looking cobbler using homemade pie crusts, of which I have never tried before, and DID NOT even invite me over for a […]

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