Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Piecrusts and Promises


It's been kind of time of deep and serious introspection for me lately and...

...quit laughing. I can so be all deep and serious. I just try not to be too much cuz it usually makes me run my mascara or something.

And the reason I've been all thinkful lately is oldest daughter is turning 30 on Saturday.


I can't even start the whole "I remember when her little head was covered in beautiful golden peach fuzz and her little rosebud mouth"...


Can't go there.

Must maintain some semblance of control. Must! Must! Must just say that she was just the sweetest little thing and I remember this time....


Stop! Must maintain control.

What the heck was this post about anyway?

Oh yea. Piecrusts.

When I was a young married girl filled with idealism and hope I felt confident that I could actually make piecrust. My Mother had never really made GREAT piecrust but for some reason I felt certain that it would be a snap for me.

After all I could cook and bake like nobodies business and I was really good at it.

But piecrusts became the bane of my existence and I became famous, or perhaps a better word is avoided, for my cardboard crusts. Until I went to a piecrust class.

It wasn't a real class like in a school or anything.

But one of my friends had a friend, Debby, who could really make piecrust. After years of begging the friend of the friend agreed to teach a piecrust class to six of us.

One of the group had a huge kitchen in this amazing 1802 restored Western Reserve farmhouse. We gathered there in her history steeped home to make our own piecrust history.

The piecrust teacher lady person was really serious.

I was a little afraid of her because, to be honest, my track record with teachers of arbitrary subjects hasn't always been ... ummm.... the best.

My nervousness increased when she took out a piece of paper for each of us with printing on it and said we needed to read it and sign it before she would start teaching the class.

It was a little contract that said we would never divulge the piecrust recipe even under torture. OK, I just threw the "under torture" in there to be funny but the rest of it is true.

I'm not sure what the threat was if we actually did divulge it but I was too afraid of her to even ask.

So the piecrust class started.

And it lasted for several hours.

And I learned to make great piecrusts. Flaky, amazing, look-of-wonder-on-peoples-faces piecrust.

And because of that I got to be "that lady!" The one who was asked to bring pies to every event. The one who modestly said "oh, it's nothing, please have another piece" and who firmly, firmly refused to ever give the secret recipe because somehow I felt the pie police might be watching me.

But over Thanksgiving I wasn't feeling so hot and my stepdaughter was visiting and offered to make the pies.


Make the pies!!!!???????

You're talking sacred ground here, stepdaughter. Back off!

She's sweet and lovely and all but invading my piecrust territory! Come on!

AND I couldn't share my recipe with her because after all a promise is a promise!

So I looked in several cookbooks which all had the same recipe!

And then...


In my Chickberry Patch cookbook I found the "secret" recipe. Yup. There it was printed out for all the world to see so I told her to use that recipe.

And she did.

And the pies turned out wonderfully. Almost as good as mine. Grrrr...OK, as good as mine... man, that hurt just to write that in black and white for public consumption.

And because it is written down in somebody elses cookbook I can share the recipe with you!

The end.

Oh wait.

OK, so the reason that I'm telling you this strange story is not to share "the secret" piecrust recipe with you but to explain while I've been all serious and deep in my posts down memory lane of late.

It's because my daughter is turning 30.

And she wants me to make her a cherry pie for her birthday. Which makes me remember the time when she was little and...


Can't go there.

Must maintain some semblance of control. Must! Must!

And now I need to sign off right now cuz I think I got something in my eye.

Of course I'm not crying.

Crying? Me? Silly you! You can actually find my picture in the dictionary next to the word self-control.


Jimi's No Fail Pie Crust (see, it's not Debby's recipe so I'm not breaking any promises - so there!)

3 cups flour
1 1/3 cup shortening
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
5 T. cold water
1 T. apple cider vinegar

Mix the flour and the salt together. Cut the shortening in. Stir the egg and vinegar into the very cold water and gently toss the liquid into the flour. I live where it is super dry and sometimes I have to add a bit more water. Form into a flat disc and refrigerate for several hours. This will make double crust.

And if you liked this recipe I know you will want to visit this post for another great one to try!


Mardell said...

Oh my Jenny!! Cute story. :o) You always crack me up.

My Home Ec teacher loved to tell the story of her & her sister's cherry pie. They were "famous" for leaving ONE pit in the pie. It was a joke around their house as to who would be the unfortunate one to get it. (Of course, they "purposly" left it in, but no body else knew that.) She said time & time again it would be her dad that got it. Funny the things we remember, huh?!

PS: How's the bones?!

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

There are more than one recipe for purrrrrrfect pie crust. Because I make one too, and don't use that recipe. :-)

I'm NOT known for my skills in the kitchen, but my pie crust knocks socks off. :-)

Oh you pooooor Dear, your oldest is turning 30! -hehhhhhhhh- How about me? My oldest turned 50! Now THAT is an innnnnnnteresting happening, I'll tell you. ,-)

Allie said...

Is that shortening butter or crisco lard or fresh lard from the meat man .... tell me ... and when you come to visit me this spring or summer will you make me a pie so I can tease the teacher like she teased me in class last year? HUH HUH

Diana Ferguson said...

This was too funny!!!

Oh, and I will be trying that recipe.

KCSherri said...

Your post took ME down memory lane. My grandmother was a real baker - I mean, she got paid and everything to bake - and she was the best.

My best memories of her are standing by her at the kitchen counter - me on a stepstool so i could see - while she made homemade pie crust. It was always to die for.

And - the leftover crust? She'd make "pie dough crackers" - where she'd spread some butter on it and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar on it and bake it.... It was awesomely delicious.

Thanks for the memories, Jenny. :)

MrsJenB said...

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I love making pies but have not as yet attempted my own crust. I even bought a pastry cutter to make the job easier but still haven't used it. Now, with your recipe, I feel like I can and should!

I'm sure my husband thanks you in advance as well ;-)

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Daughter turning 30? That won't seem to bad in 10 years! (That's not an original sister caught me complaining about a photo of me a some years ago and she told me to look at it in 10 years and I'd love it. Yup, she was right...wouldn't you know!)
Love your writing! Great stuff to ponder! Have a super day!

Jana said...

can I tell you that one of my biggest pet peeves is a secret recipe, drives me bonkers, thanks for sharing this recipe! I have been using pdubs, sounds like this is similar! but I bet yours is better! because food is always better when someone else makes it.

Unknown said...

My recipe fro piecrust is in the red, white, and blue box in the refrigerator section of the supermarket.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Jenny you are such a dear....I love the pie crust story and I'm sure you are still 'the one' to go too for great pie! oldest child turned 30 last May and BELIEVE me I know how you feel!!! Gotta go, I must have gotten that same thing in my eye you had....Sigh!!

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are so cute with all your Self COntrOl!!!! Hey, clean up that mascara running down your chin!!!
Thanks for the recipe. I may try this...although, how could it be better than that stuff I buy in the grocery store that is all rolled up pretty and neat and does not make a mess in my kitchen???

Cedar ... said...

Now you have really got me curious. I've never seen that recipe before. I'll have to try it. My "never-fail" pie crust since I was a young bride some 48 years ago had oil and milk in it. No recipe,... just a little of this and a tad of that... you know the old cooks. Oh,... and relax about the daughter who is turning 30.. mine is turning 48 this coming June... Keep smiling!

Together We Save said...

Great srory... I am only an ok cook at best so I may just have to try this no fail recipe... my kids would not know what to think.

Bumpkin on a Swing said...

Apple Cider, who would have thunked it?

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Sounds fantastic jenny!I always use apple cider in my crust recipe and chill the crust before baking to help keep it tender.
When I was young and skinny I used to bake a lot of husband loved apple pie! Now we try not to eat that many as the crust is so fattening. They are reserved sor special occasions. I hope you post a photo of your pretty cherry pie when you make it!

Happy birthday to your daughter! 30 is young and so are you :-) The older we are the better life is!

Wanda..... said...

Thanks for the secret recipe, me, you will survive you daughter turning 30!

Cathy~Mille Fleur said...

Darling story!!! I can't wait to try the recipe...we are big pie lovers over here!!!

I feel the same way about my kids getting older...oh...can't go there either;)!!!


Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

Ha! No kidding girl? I've been making this crust recipe my entire life... Just makes ya laugh.

I see what you mean about our minds working in a similar fashion.

You aren't posting about doing a stuff swap party tomorrow are you? :)

Cami @ Creating Myself said...

My daughter turned 30 last year...I felt sooo old that day! LOL

Hope the holiday season blessed you generously Jenny!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

My recipe for pie crust, no muss, no fuss,no fail:

1 husband (1 sister may be substituted)

You had us run the gambit of emotions and the growling of stomachs all in one post. EXCELLENT!

And now that I know you are a great baker, I will divulge that if it's baked, I love it.

Nicki Meier said...

That just cracks me up!! So glad I could be of assistance in such an experience! :)

She is turning 30?? Well...let me just say...You did one heck of a job, Mama!!

GardenOfDaisies said...

OMG you are hilarious! I have never been able to make piecrust, but I will have to try Debby's, I mean Jimi's, recipe.
I like your idea for an alphabet post, although it did make me think of Sesame Street. "Sesame street has been brought to you today by the letter C and the number 8."
I'm so glad you found me! Thanks for following.
And happy 30 to your daughter!

the domestic mama said...

I found you because you found me! Welcome to my favorites! :) Don't be blue~ be happy that you have had 30 years (and more to come) to enjoy one of the best things in life. I hope and pray I have that many years with my sweet 2 year old!

laterg8r said...

love the recipe even though i'm more of a burner than a baker LOL :D

happy bday to your baby :D

Paula ~ castleandcottagesigns said...

such a funny story Jenny! the pie crust police...we sure know how to make ourselves paranoid don't we?! I'm so glad you shared this recipe cuz my pie crust is **blech**
but not no more!

Paula ~ castleandcottagesigns said...

Oh! I forgot...
a VERY happy birthday to your daughter!!

Deborah Ann said...

Ah, so you're a pie lady! LOVE pie. Never had a pie I didn't love. Don't make my own though, I cheat. Even though my name's Debby...I'm not THAT Debby.

My son is turning 30 this year too. I'm right there with ya...

Unknown said...

Pie crust does NOT like me, but I'm willing to give this a try. : )

And Happy Birthday to your daughter!


Brenda said...

The Dough Boy knows my secret pie crust recipe. I have not tried to make one from scratch for years. Maybe I better copy yours down and give it a whirl. Oh and my oldest daughter turns 30 this coming October. I hear ya!

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Jenny, you really made me laugh.
I was always afraid of my home economics teacher. We had to make biscuits in one class and one of the girls misread the recipe and put 1/2 cup of baking soda in the mix. The dough was kinda yellow looking, but we had to bake them and eat them! While the teach wasn't looking we passed our biscuits under the table to one another and dumped then into a bookbag! Can you believe that mean old witch made us eat those!
We fooled

Now don't take it too hard about your daughter turning 30. She's still your baby.


Susie said...

Wow! I thought I was bad with my 19-year-old. I cry every time I think of her. Damn...there I go agan:-)

Unknown said...

My baby is in his 20s, but my oldest is... well older. :-) It happens. All my children, grand children and great grands are blessings, and I feel younger when playing with the little ones.

Thanks for the visit today.

angelina la dawn said...

my mom has a wonderful pie crust recipes too! i feel so privileged to have it :)

mrs. c said...

Oh my stars,( that's what we say in Pre-K) I love your post and I completely understand daughter turned 28 this year! Also I LOVE your music selections on your blog!!! I love Annie and it's so nice to know that the VERY BEST music was when we were young!!!
I am also a very good cook and I strive to always have something that everyone loves and I just quietly say "thank you"! You are also on my list to follow! I am so glad that I started my blog this summer, because I am meeting such wonderful people!

Theresa said...

Oh Jenny, I am so happy that you found me via Sherry! It would have been an incomplete day if I had not read this sweet story about your daughter turning 30 or a secret pie recipe? Hmmm... it was so entertaining and the pie recipe looks delicious! My daughter just turned 36 and I don't know how to make piecrusts... Oh woe is me! Have a blessed day dear! Thanks again for paying me a visit!

Cassie said...

Well that's just really nice. Now I'll be thinking pies until I find one. And I don't feel like baking.

I think those store-bought crusts were invented for me.

Suz said...

So your sweetie pie
is turning 30
It's gone by fast hasn't it?
Secret recipe....that's funny
there's nothing new under the sun
but we won't tell them..will we?
That cherry pie better look perfect
we want photo's
pressure pressure

Barb said...

Jenny, this is priceless. I had forgotten what a great storyteller you are. I enjoyed every single word.

Barb ♥

teresa said...

I know how you feel. My son is turning 29 this month and if that isn't a clock ticking, He and his wife just told us at Christmas that we will be grandparents! This is great news, but now I sound old...grandmother.

RNSANE said...

Jenny, thanks for the pie crust recipe but, most of all, thanks for the delightful tribute to your daughter on her 30th birthday. It's okay to whip out the kleenex to wipe away those sniffles!

Best wishes to her and to you for doing such a great job raising her.

Anonymous said...

I use this pie crust recipe and love it. A friend in church gave it to me years ago and I thought how strange the it had vinegar in the recipe- don't know what it does but makes a great pie crust!


Tara said...

You have some serious integrity to not have divulged that recipe all these years! My Great Grandmother~Buba, made a fabulous pie crust when she was alive. My Nana can make good crust too. All of the Granddaughters want to learn and have been meaning to have a pie crust making party but have yet yo do it. Maybe next fall. Happy early Birthday to your baby girl and I know she will love her pie, flaky crust and all!

Diana said...

Happy Birthday to your baby Jenny!
I know that that Cherry pie will be perfect! Love Di

Catherine Holman said...

Thanks for the secret recipe. I hope the pie crust mafia doesn't show up at your front door now. It was much more tragic for me when my daughter turned 30 than when I turned 50. Keep your chin up!

Vicki/Jake said...

Hold your daughter with all you have, no matter how old she is...
And be sure to make her the BIGGEST BESTEST pie ever! Thanks for the ear when I needed it...may use it again.
And thanks for being here keeping us all smiling too (O:
Hope I can figure out the McLinky thing, can't wait for that either!
Here's a BIG one..(((((HUG)))))

Unknown said...

I knew it was the vinegar pie crust before I even saw the much for secrets huh? I love cherry pie!