Thursday, December 24, 2009

Baked in a Pie

Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays tend to bring out a variety of pies. From traditional fruit pies (e.g. apple and cherry) to creamy and chunky (peanut butter and pecan) to custard (lemon, lime, and chocolate), all pies start with a crust. In spite of a love for pie, many skip the step for crust making due to the frustration associated with some crust recipes. After trying crust recipes from a few popular cookbooks, I preferred homemade crust but was not satisfied with any certain recipe. I stumbled across a synagogue cookbook from my hometown in Tennessee in a used book sale in South Carolina a few years ago. The book is called Recipes by Request from the B’nai Shalom Sisterhood. I do not know if they print new copies but the date indicates this was the 1967 update. It contains a mix of recipes from all over the world including many traditional Jewish recipes. I decided to pick it up and was pleased. As I tested scattered recipes in the book, I ran across two pie crust recipes. The first recipe produces a sweet double crust that tends to be thick when baked. The second generates a single crust that is savory and rolls out to form a thin delicate crust. Both are easy to follow and tasty! I am modifying them from the original format for readability but the information is unchanged.

Pie Dough (makes two- nine inch pie shells)

½ c. butter
8 tsp. sugar (can reduce or remove for a savory crust)
2/3 c. shortening
3 1/3 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
1/3 c. cold water


In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a fork. Blend this mixture well with soft shortening. Combine flour and salt. Then blend the flour mixture with the butter mixture. With the fork, gradually stir in the water until the mixture cleans the side of the bowl. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until just well mixed; use as directed in pie recipe.

Notes: If you roll thinly, you can make 2 pie shells and two lattice tops from this recipe. I recommend a well floured surface to keep the crust from sticking to the counter top.

Pie Crust (1 crust)


1 c. flour
½ tsp salt
3 rounded Tbsp Crisco (shortening)
3 Tbsp ice water


Measure flour and salt into a large bowl. Blend shortening into flour and salt with a pastry blender or fork until it reaches the consistency of heavy cornmeal. Add water 1 tablespoonful at a time, tossing wet and dry ingredients together with blender until all the flour is moistened. Turn out on floured board. Roll into a circle 1/8 to ¼ inch thick and large enough to allow 1 to 1 ½ inches hanging over the edge of the pie tin. Fold up and back to make an upright rim and flute with fingers. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour. Place another tin the same size over the crust. Bake 12 minutes at 450 F until browned at the bottom. Remove upper tin and allow inside of crust to brown.

Note: If rolled thinly, you can make the bottom and a lattice top using this recipe. The recipe can be doubled to prevent anxiety about having enough dough for the upper crust.

I used the Pie Dough recipe to make caramel apple pie for Thanksgiving. The filling was made as stated for caramel apple crisp in a previous post. The modifications to the filling procedure were that I placed the apples in the crust, made the lattice top, and added the brown sugar and cinnamon into the caramel sauce. I poured the caramel topping over the lattice into the pie. I also added a little more cinnamon to the caramel sauce (2 tsp.) but I could’ve easily added more as it was not a dominant flavor.

Pie Before Baking

Pie After Baking

I also used the recipe to make a sugar free (technically reduced sugar since baking Splenda contains some sugar, as do apples) version. Instead of sugar, I used Splenda’s versions of sugar and brown sugar. The sugar substitutes responded quickly to heat and could only be heated on the stove top for 3-5 minutes. The mixture became very thick and would not pour over the lattice crust. In the future, I would recommend mixing the apples with the sugar free caramel sauce prior to making the lattice. This way the flavors will mingle with the apples.


  1. You're making apple pie look good!

  2. This was the most incredible pie! I had the pleasure to eat some twice!