Perfect Pie Crust

Not the best example of this pie crust but it is the same one I use in every pie.

There really is only one way to make a perfect pie crust and it doesn’t involve margarine, butter or shortening. Yes, my friends it involves lard. Now take a deep breath it won’t kill you every once in a while to use some in pie crust and even in biscuits. This uniquely grotesque fat source it what really makes pie crusts and biscuits light and fluffy.

Now you are expecting measurements and such. I will do my best but if you make this the way the “old folks” did you won’t need them and you will have a perfect pie crust every time. I promise.

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Lard (room temperature so that it is soft)
  • Cold water
Directions:
  1. Pour all purpose flour into a large mixing bowl so it forms a mountain. The peak of the mountain should be about half the height of the bowl.
  2. Add 2 pinches of salt.
  3. Take a large spoon and scoop lard into the bowl, I usually use two spoonfuls.
  4. Use a pastry blade to begin to mix the lard and flour together so that it begins to form pea sized lumps. If you do not have a pastry blade use two steak knives and a criss cross cutting motion to cut in the lard.
  5. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time to the mixture. Continue to mix with pastry blade.
  6. Once the dough has begun to come together use your hands to form a large ball.
  7. Cut the ball in half and place on a floured surface (I use a cutting board for easier clean up). And roll out until 1/4 inch think.
  8. Dust the rolled dough with flour and fold in half and place the fold across the center of your pie plate.
  9. Carefully unfold and press into the pie plate. Trim excess dough.
I promise you will have light, flaky pie crust that is to die for.
***Note*** You can place wax paper on top of the dough and roll it up. Store in a heavy duty freezer bag for later use.
Light, Love and Peace

Nutty Caramel Apple Crisp

I love making crisps. I don’t do it near often enough for my own satisfaction but that will change one of these days.

Ingredients:

Crisp topping:

  • 1/2 cup of all purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice (aka 1:1/2:1/2 ratio of cinnamon:nutmeg:clove)
  • 6 TBS softened butter

Crisp filling:

  • 2/3 cup coarse chopped walnuts or pecans (nuts are always optional but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 cup grannulated sugar (I have made the equivalent substitution of stevia and it worked just fine)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp apple spice
  • 3 cups peeled sliced tart apples — Granny Smith
  • 3 cups peeled slice sweet apples — Delicious
  • 2 TBS boiled apple cider
  • 3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • Vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Crisp topping:

  1. Stir together all ingredients until they become coarse crumbles.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x9x2 square pan

Crisp Filling:

  1. In a large bowl stir in sugar, flour and apple pie spice.
  2. Toss apples gently until coated.
  3. Press apples gently into an even, though slightly mounded layer in the pan.
  4. Mixed boiled cider and 2 TBS of caramel sauce and drizzle over apples.
  5. Sprinkle nuts and topping over the apples.
  6. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.
Warm the remaining caramel sauce and drizzle over the crisp and then serve with vanilla ice cream.

Egg Pie

In our house we don’t eat quiche, we eat egg pie. This wonderful concoction looks and tastes much like a quiche, go figure. It is a quick simple recipe that will fill your family up and makes a wonderful breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack if you make minis.

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 cup Cheese
  • 3 TBS Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray your pie plate with cooking spray (put a little oil in a spritz bottle and voila! you have cooking spray you can mist).
  3. Place your pie crust into your pie plate.
  4. Beat your eggs with the other ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup of cheese for topping.
  5. Pour your egg mixture into the pie crust and top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a knife goes into the center and comes out clean (make an allowance for gooey melted cheese on top. You don’t want to see uncooked egg on the knife.)
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
You can add meat and veggies to your egg pie. Experiment with different cheeses for different flavors.
To make mini quiches I use a muffin pan and make small pie crusts to fill.

Amazing Pretzels

Soft pretzels are amazingly easy to make. They are a favorite food around here.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tsp of active dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups of warm water

  • 4 cups of flour

  • 1/3 cup of sugar

  • 1 1/4 tsp of salt

  • 1/2 cup of baking soda

  • 4 cups of hot water

Dissolve your yeast in warm water and sugar.

Add the rest of your ingredients except the baking soda and hot water.

Mix together to form a soft dough. For this I knead in the bowl.

Place in an oiled bowl (or old crock pot insert), roll around to coat with oil, cover and set to rise. It takes about an hour for it to double in size.

Mix baking soda and hot water until the baking soda dissolves.

Grease a baking pan thoroughly.

Dust the risen dough with some flour then punch down.

Turn out on a floured surface and break into 1 1/2 inch balls. Original recipe said it would make a dozen, I get a dozen and a half.

Roll out into 1/2 inch ropes. And pull your pants up.

Dip into the baking soda water and then make your desired shape. This week it was hearts. Sprinkle with salt.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and bake for 6-7 minutes.

 **Notes**
You can use table salt, Kosher salt or Sea Salt. For a change up try some cinnamon and sugar on top.
My 17 year old daughter asked if we could make hamburger or sandwich rolls from them. I think it might just be worth a shot.

Brownies

Borrowed¬†photo my brownies don’t last long enough to grab a pic.



Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.

  3. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter.

  4. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

  5. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder.

  6. Spread batter into prepared pan.

  7. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.