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November 27, 2017

Dear Miss Monday – Perfect Pie Crust

By Miss Monday

Dear Miss Monday,

I’m having my extended family over for Christmas dinner this year. I’ve got a perfectly classic dinner planned, but I’m worried about my pie crust! All of my vintage cookbooks have great pie recipes in them, but I usually opt for the crust in the freezer section in fear of something that tastes and feels more like cardboard. Are there any tips that might take me to the next level of Betty Crocker bakery?

Thank you!
Always Crumbly in Cincinnati

Dear Ms. Cincinnati,

You are not alone! There are a lot of classic home bakers that fear homemade pie crust above everything except the ever towering soufflé. In fact, every book I have in my vintage cookbook hoard dedicates pages and pages to pie. After all is there anything any more mid-century than apple pie?

OK, maybe Eames. Or starbursts. Or… OK, there are a lot of things more mid-century. But pie is pretty dang classic.

Well, I’ve got good news. Everyone can bake a perfect pie crust every time with just a couple of quick tips. And you can do it in advance, so not only will you be ready for the day of, you’ll have time to pop by the grocer if you end up with a pie crust that’s declared war on your perfectly mid-century holiday table.

  • Keep everything cold, cold, cold: Your butter. Your bowl. Your water. Everything should be as cold as possible. I like to refrigerate the bowl I’ll be mixing in just to help keep things extra chilly. And toss a couple of ice cubes in your water prep bowl, this will help keep your butter cold as you mix your dough.
  • Sugar and spice and everything nice. Oh, and vinegar: Yes, you read that right. Vinegar! Find a recipe with a small amount of vinegar in it. For whatever reason this makes a huge difference.
  • Don’t work too hard: Most people overwork their dough. Don’t do it! You want to mix it just until it holds together otherwise you’ll pummel all of those beautiful, delicious little butter pockets that make homemade crust so special.
  • Clear glass is your friend: When you’re practicing your perfect pie crust, bake in the clear glass pie pan. This will allow you to check to make sure the bottom of your pie is as perfectly baked as the top.
  • Find a recipe that works and stick with it: It’s tempting to always use the crust that comes baked into the recipe. But instead find the perfect pie crust recipe for you and you’re set for all the homemade pies you (and your loved ones) can stomach.

Want to whip up that pie crust in advance? Whip away, but don’t roll it out. Flatten that baby into a ball or patty, wrap it in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge up to three days in advance!

But I warn you, you perfect a homemade crust and you’ll always be the one bringing the glorious, golden pie! I have no doubt you’ll make Betty proud (if she were a real lady!). Happy baking!

For the love of vintage,

Miss Monday

 

Have a question you’d like to ask Miss Monday? Send it to dearmissmonday@gmail.com or tag it on Instagram with #DearMissMonday!

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5 Responses to Dear Miss Monday – Perfect Pie Crust

  1. Cheryl Reply

    November 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I do use the same recipe which is from a 40 year old Betty Crocker cookbook. It has portions for one or two crusts and pie pan size.
    But I do roll out and shape my bottom crust a day ahead then refrigerate. I find that it doesn’t shrink as much.

    • Lindsay Goranson Reply

      December 1, 2017 at 9:01 am

      That’s a great tip, Cheryl! I love that you use a recipe from an old Betty Crocker cookbook.

    • Miss Monday Reply

      December 1, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Thank you for sharing your pie crust secrets, Cheryl!

  2. Sara In AZ Reply

    November 28, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Great tips! If I ever back a scratch crust pie I will definitely keep all of this in mind!

    • Miss Monday Reply

      December 1, 2017 at 9:02 am

      I hope you get a chance to bake one up soon, Sara. 😉

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