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Old 10-23-2012, 09:52 AM   #11
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Are you teaching the kids to make pie crust or just letting them see how it's done and letting them try doing it?

Do you have access to a food processor and can the kids use one safely? A food processor will do the mixing of the flour and fat far more easily and quickly. It will do it quickly enough that you don't risk the fat melting and not incorporating properly into the flour. If you can't use a food processor, make sure that the flour, butter/shortening, water, bowl, and pastry cutter are straight out of fridge cold.

Shortening and lard are 100% fat, while butter is only 80% fat. I would go with what it says in your recipe or substitute up to 1/3 butter for shortening/lard. I use a different recipes for lard and butter. Like acerbicacid, I use the lard crust with savoury and the butter crust with fruit. Yes, I think the improvement of flavour is worth using butter.

I use a Danish recipe for my butter pie crust that adds sugar to the flour. It has always worked well for me. I don't know if that is because it is an easier recipe or because I was already pretty good at lard pie crust before I tried making it. The recipe for the butter dough is here: Pear Tarte. Apples work really well with this recipe too. I like the fact that I don't have to cook the fruit, cut it up much, or add anything to it.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone! I decided to use the regular Crisco recipe and save my butter for something else - or another pie later in the year if we have the ingredients. I couldn't test the vodka theory because, um, . . . I like my job. The kids with good enough hygiene that I trust to handle food did all the measuring. The other kids are our go-fers. They go get whatever we need from the fridge and put dirty dishes in the sink. They also watch everything we do and participate in the discussion of which kind of measuring cup to use, how to measure flour without packing it, but then they have to pack shortening. I showed them how to cut the shortening and flour together and they mixed the water and flour mixture. We wrapped the dough in plastic and put it in the fridge for tomorrow morning when we will prepare the rest of the pie. They will peel & slice apples, measure and mix the seasonings, roll the pie dough and fill the pie. I'll show them how to seal the edges and they can try doing a little of it. We'll have to bake in the morning so we have time to bake before we leave for lunch/P.E. Our afternoon work periods are shorter, at least they seem to fly by faster.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:45 PM   #13
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I use water + vinegar + vodka. I find that the combo makes for a tender, flaky crust (but that could be the lard and Crisco)!. Okay, I guess you can't use the vodka with the kids. I use cider vinegar when I make a crust for a savory tart. I use the same amount of ice water whether I add the vinegar and vodka or not. And, being of Scandinavian descent, of course I keep vodka in the freezer. I just assume everyone else does as well.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
I use water + vinegar + vodka. I find that the combo makes for a tender, flaky crust (but that could be the lard and Crisco)!. Okay, I guess you can't use the vodka with the kids. I use cider vinegar when I make a crust for a savory tart. I use the same amount of ice water whether I add the vinegar and vodka or not. And, being of Scandinavian descent, of course I keep vodka in the freezer. I just assume everyone else does as well.
The vodka in my freezer is right next to the akvavit.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #15
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I've had the best luck with butter-flavored Crisco. Of course, lard is wonderful, albeit unhealthy.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:51 PM   #16
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The lard you buy in the grocery store is hydrogenated so it's processed. If you would go to the meat market & ask for the fat then go home & cook it down & strain it, let it set up (rendering your own lard) using that in your pie crust would be very inexspensive & you would be a tender flakey crust. Once the lard is very cold use a cheese grater to grate the lard into the flour, salt, baking powder & a slight amount of brown sugar. Add this to a mixture of very cold water, egg & vinegar.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:01 AM   #17
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One of the advantages of living in the "pork belt" is the availability of lard in the grocery store that is not hydrogenated. We have a brand here Lundy's that's pretty widely available, and not expensive. Haven't tried it though.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:30 PM   #18
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We finished our apple pie yesterday. It turned out really good. The top crust surprised me by staying in the same position it was before it was baked. I expected it to fall as the apples cooked down but it didn't. It was nice and flaky. The bottom crust was a bit soggy because the juices bubbled and must have found a thin spot to get between the crust and the pie pan - plus the apples in the crust were juicy. We ate it warm with vanilla ice cream and shared the extra two pieces with the superintendent (who told the kids it tasted like it came from a local restaurant known for its pies) and the gym teacher. It did taste good.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cindercat
We finished our apple pie yesterday. It turned out really good. The top crust surprised me by staying in the same position it was before it was baked. I expected it to fall as the apples cooked down but it didn't. It was nice and flaky. The bottom crust was a bit soggy because the juices bubbled and must have found a thin spot to get between the crust and the pie pan - plus the apples in the crust were juicy. We ate it warm with vanilla ice cream and shared the extra two pieces with the superintendent (who told the kids it tasted like it came from a local restaurant known for its pies) and the gym teacher. It did taste good.
Very nice, Cindercat! Kudos to you and your kids! A number of my schools have had restaurants, where our disabled kids cook and serve food from various recipes. They shop, prep, cook, serve, and sell. Wonderful programs!
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:47 PM   #20
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That's so cool, CCat. The kids must have been so excited.
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