We are a pie-making family. It has always been so.
January rolls into February, and I miss holiday pies. Not just pies, but also the family and memories and savory foods that come with them.
This recipe is my Grandma Stewart’s. I love claiming her as kin. She is the very sort of matron that I wish to become. Aside from giving squeezy hugs and making large-portioned dinners, Grandma is KIND.
Grandma called me today, just to say that she loves me and she has been thinking of me. Conversations and letters with Grandma are peppered with compliments. “I love you,” she says. “I am proud of you.” “You’ve accomplished so much, my dear.” “Your girls are darlings.” Does it sound cheesy on paper? Not out loud. Grandma says all of the things that I crave to hear, and she says them sincerely.
This is called “Grandma’s No-fail Pie recipe,” but you should know that it isn’t really no-fail. My sister once read “cup” instead of “Tbsp,” which resulted in six times more sugar than the recipe called for. It was actually quite good until we used the leftovers for a meat pie. So yes, you can fail.
Also, we use lard. That’s right, rendered fat from a pig. Appalling? No, no, no. It gives it a lovely flake.
I don’t know whether Grandma used lard or whether that was an innovation of Mom’s, but I love it. You can use shortening if the lard frightens you.
Happy January, dear heart.
Grandma's No-Fail Pie Crust
- 4 C flour
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1¾ C lard or shortening
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1-4 Tbsp ice water (see notes)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to add the lard. Mix until coarse crumbs form.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add egg, vinegar, and 1 Tbsp cold water. Mix together. Add enough additional water to form a slightly sticky dough.
- Divide dough into 3-4 portions and shape each into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before rolling out.
- Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling out on a floured surface. (Dough should be soft enough to roll out but not so soft that it becomes sticky). Makes three small or two large double-crusted pies.