Friday, November 13, 2015

Cooking for a Holiday - Thanksgiving, Part V - Two Weeks Before

Okay, let's do a recap.

Thanksgiving is 13 days away.  So far, I've got:
  1. the menu planned;
  2. the non-perishables bought;
  3. the pumpkin cooked; and
  4. the turkey ordered.
And today I'm making pie crust.  Not rolling it out, just making the dough.  It's easy.  I promise.  Why would I lie? 

Apologies in advance:  I should have told you to buy a pastry cutter, but I didn't.  If you don't know what a pastry cutter is, forget about it, it's not necessary.  You can get the same result using two butter knives.  And just to show you what kind of person I am, today I'm going to use the butter knives, too, in solidarity.  Pastry cutters are a pain in the ass to clean, anyway.

The pie crust recipe I use, more or less, is the basic one from "The Joy of Cooking".  If you don't have this cookbook, ask for one for Christmas.  I'm guessing you can score a used copy on Amazon for less than five bucks.

The reason I make it a little different from The Joy is that I'm a very lazy cook.  The first time I make a recipe I follow it exactly.  After that I start cutting corners to see if it makes any difference.  As far as pie crust goes, it doesn't, so you can benefit from my experience.  This is a recipe for two crusts because I'm going to make two 9-inch pies.  Don't make dinky 8-inch pies.  You do the same amount of work and 9-inch pies are more awesome.

Here are the ingredients:

4 cups of flour
2 tsp of salt
1 1/3 of a cup of Crisco (easy, if you bought the sticks like I told you)
4 Tbl of cold butter (real butter, please)
8 Tbl of cold water (more or less)

You could use all butter, too, if you think Crisco is ratchet.  But trust me, this tastes good.

Now here's what you do:

Put the flour in a big bowl.  Stir in the salt.  Put the Crisco in a smaller bowl.  Cut the butter into little pieces and smash it in the Crisco with a fork until it's hard to tell the Crisco from the butter.  Now put half of the Crisco stuff into the bowl with the flour.  With two butter knives, cross-cut big X's into the Crisco and flour until it's all sort of crumbly.  Then add the rest of the Crisco stuff, cutting it in the same way.  

When you've got a bowl full of crumbly Crisco and flour, sprinkle the water all over it.  Then take your rings off and start playing with the dough until you can make one large dough ball.  Knead it a few times.  (If it doesn't come together right away, keep smooshing.  You'll get there.)  But as soon as you get your ball, stop handling the dough.  Wrap it up real good in plastic wrap or something, put it into a plastic container with a tight seal, and put it in the fridge.  It'll be fine in there for about two weeks or until you're ready to bake your pies, whichever comes first.

That's it for today.  I got other things to do.  Like have a glass of wine, which I richly deserve, because I am a righteous Thanksgiving-dinner-cooking sister.

I told you this would be easy.


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