Fool Proof Savory Pie Crust

Quick, easy and fool proof pie crust. It’ll be deliciously flaky and sturdy enough for your heaviest fillings.  Savory pies generally don’t need a second crust, so note that this recipe makes one 9″ pie crust.

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 Tbs butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Preparation

1. Sift flour and salt together in large bowl. Add shortening and butter.

2. “Cut” the fat into the dry ingredients with a small spatula or knife. Don’t use your hands or any warm utensil that might melt the shortening.

Once you have broken up and evenly distributed the fat, it should look like this:

3. Add the cold water and vinegar to the bowl and knead with your hands until the dough forms a ball. Ez as that! If you’re using it right away, turn out onto a well floured surface to roll out.

5. Trim the excess from the lip of the pan with a sharp knife and patch any gaps with the extra dough. Make sure to work quickly here so as not to melt the shortening.

Now, if you’d like, you can learn How to Crimp and Flute a Pie Crust to make your crust looks like this:

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How to Crimp and Flute A Pie Crust

1. Trim excess from edges and patch any gaps with extra dough.

2. Next, use your index finger to push a small section of dough away from the pan while pinching the dough around your index finger with the fingers of your other hand. I had to take these pictures in sequence since I need a free hand to hold the camera, so imagine these two pictures happening simultaneously. Continue with this pinching method around the entire pan.

Ta-da!

How to Make a Lattice Top Pie Crust

Alright folks, let’s lattice some pastry! If your dough becomes unworkable (breaks, becomes oily, sticky) during this process, simply refrigerate it for at least fifteen minutes. Chilled dough is best/easiest to work with.

1. Roll out half of the pie dough to make the bottom half of pie crust. Trim excess and use your fingers to crimp edges of crust around the edge of the pan.

2. Next roll out the rest of the dough to desired thickness and cut into strips. The thickness and number of each strip that you cut really depends on what you’re going for with your pie. Thicker strips will allow less filling to show through the top in your final product and using more strips will tighten the lattice, producing the same effect. I cut ten, half-inch strips.

3. Lay about five strips of dough (or however many you think looks best) vertically pie.

4. Carefully pull alternating strips to the top of the pie and let them hang out there. Lay down first strip of horizontal dough at the top corner of your pie. Unfold every other vertical strip back to its original position. Next, repeat with the rest of the dough, making sure to ALTERNATE along your way. And voila!

5. To finish the edges, you could simply trim the edges of the strips to fit inside the pie. For this strawberry rhubarb pie I wanted a heartier lattice so I anchored it to the base crust with a few of the extra strips placed around the circumference, which I pressed together and to the sides of the pan with a heavy finger.

Also, remember to foil those delicate edges during the first twenty minutes of baking! No sense in making charcoal of the beautiful lattice crust you’ve created.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I’ll still never forget the sweet yet assertive tang of rhubarb pie I first tasted at Grace’s grandmother’s house in Vincennes, Indiana.  Later that night, I snuck to the kitchen while the family was enraptured by a street front Fourth of July parade and shoveled spoonfuls of pie into my mouth, straight out of the glass pan. It felt like a secret, this awesome taste I’d never experienced.

And so, I had an occasion to remember the pie from Vincennes when I saw fresh rhubarb in the produce department of the grocery store. I decided to add strawberries in my version for additional sweetness in the filling.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling

  • 2 cups fresh red rhubarb
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs minute tapioca
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white for an egg wash over the crust (optional)
  • 1 recipe Fool Proof Pie Crust

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly wash all produce. De-stem strawberries and cut into thin slices. Cut rhubarb into small cubes and place all of the produce in a large bowl.

2. Add sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla to the produce. Stir to fully mix all ingredients.

3. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.

4. Brush crust with optional egg wash. Wrap tin foil loosely over the edges of the crust and bake at 350 degrees in the bottom third of your oven. After fifteen minutes, remove the tin foil and allow pie to bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the filling begins to bubble. Cool N’ Serve.

Fool Proof Sweet Pie Crust

After testing and reworking several pie crust recipes, I finally decided upon this one. The vinegar really helps produce a flakier pie crust because the acid prevents long gluten strands from accumulating. This is the perfect sweet pie crust. Easy to roll out and form, deliciously flaky and aromatic.

Fool Proof Sweet Pie Crust (yields two approximately 9″ pie crusts)

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Preparation:

1. Sift flour, powdered sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add shortening and cubed butter. Use the biscuit method to combine the fats into the flour until pea sized lumps appear.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg with water and vinegar until consistent.

3. Pour liquids over flour mixture and stir until just incorporated, being careful not to overwork the dough.

4. Chill the dough for fifteen minutes in the fridge before turning it out onto a well floured surface. Roll the dough into any shape and thinness you desire.

If you’re making a pie with an unbaked crust, chill the dough while you prepare the filling to prevent the butter from softening prematurely. Fill and bake in the bottom third of the oven with the edges covered in tin foil for the first fifteen minutes of baking. For double crust pies, cover the entire top with perforated tin foil (to let out some of the steam) for the first twenty minutes of baking.

If your recipe calls for a pre-baked pie crust (AKA blind baked pie crust, often recommended for moisture rich pies), form the dough into the proper shape and bake at 350  for 15-20 minutes or until it becomes a light, golden color. Cool crust to room temperature before filling. Brush crust with egg wash before final baking to help prevent the crust from crisping too quickly.

“Just Like Pop-Tarts®” Cinnamon Sugar Toaster Pastries

Craving pop tarts? Not craving high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or wheat starch? Here’s one for those of us who can’t shake the the craving for over-processed childhood delights and with this nine ingredient, from scratch recipe, we’ll have no reason not to indulge.

These turned out, much to my satisfaction, to taste almost exactly like the “real” thing. Oohwee, these taste awesome, warm or cold. Seriously even if you’ve never baked anything in your life just follow the below instructions and make these. Proof pressure.

Oh, also, I can’t take credit for this recipe, sadly. I simply pressed a few keys and found the absolute best looking/most entertaining blog, smitten kitchen, and subsequently, this recipe. Then I tried it, and well, took pictures, you get it…

“Just Like Pop-Tarts®” Cinnamon Sugar Toaster Pastries (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter (cubed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp flour

Preparation:

1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Sift to combine.

2. Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients above and use a fork or pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until large chunks are no longer visible. If you’re not familiar with the biscuit method of combining fats and dry ingredients, click here.

3. Whisk one of the eggs with 2 Tbs milk on the side and pour over the butter and flour mixture. Stir until a dough forms and turn it out on a floured surface.

3. Knead the dough briefly to form a ball. Divide the dough in half and roll both pieces out into the best looking rectangle you can make. Aim for 1/8 inch thickness so don’t be afraid to roll it thin. If the dough becomes sticky and too pliable, refrigerate it before trying to roll it thinner.

Around this point you should decide how big you want each pastry to be. I used a notecard as a template, but you could go smaller for more bite-sized toaster pastries. If you do cut smaller rectangles, make sure to shorten the baking time and check on your pastries often while baking.

4. Trim the sides of the dough into a large rectangle using the notecard as a template. Cut the dough into as many rectangles as you can fit (I ended up with 8 on each piece of dough).

5. Prepare the cinnamon filling by stirring the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together until completely incorporated.

6. Whisk the final egg in a small bowl and brush it all the way to the edges of the dough. Spoon cinnamon sugar into the center of the pastry, leaving a small frame of exposed dough around the edges to seal the bottom and top of the pastry together. Top with another pastry rectangle and use a fork to seal the edges. Poke holes in the top to let steam escape while they are baking.

7. Refrigerate prepared pastries as you preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pastries on a cookie sheet (they can sit rather close since they won’t expand too much) and bake for about 30 minutes.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

When my awesome, foodie friend named vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream as her favorite cake/icing combination, I couldn’t help but feeling uninspired. I prefer the richest cakes possible, you know, like a chocolate icing on chocolate cake smothered in chocolate ganache type. So, for her birthday (yay! 23!) I put my own tastes aside and made her some  vanilla on vanilla and boy, was I glad I did.

I found this awesome recipe on a fellow baking blog, my baking addiction, that calls for the seeds of a vanilla bean, to make this cake a little more memorable.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

  • 2  1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/4 cups whole milk (room temperature)
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
  • seeds from one vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, soft
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 24 oz powdered sugar
  • 4-6 Tbs whole milk

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

2.  Whisk milk and eggs in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and use the knife, or your fingernail, to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the vanilla extract to the butter and sugar and mix to incorporate. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Add about 1/3 of the flour to the butter and sugar and mix until combined. Add half of the milk and eggs and mix until combined. Repeat until all of the flour and liquid have been added and then mix on high speed for 2 minutes to aerate.

5. Line cupcake pan with tins and fill each 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden. While they’re baking, whip up some icing!

6. For the icing, place softened butter in bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

7. Add the vanilla extract and any food coloring you want to use. Once combined, assess the consistency of the icing. If you want to thicken, add more powdered sugar. If you want a thinner product, slowly add the milk until you reach the consistency you want.

8. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, place icing in pastry bag fitted with metal icing tip, if you have them. You could also just use a knife to slab it on. Decorate any way you choose!

Speedy Quiche

With this from-scratch recipe, there’s no reason not to be making quiche on the regular. Only about an hour of your time and you’ve got the most versatile savory custard in the business. I’ve included a basic quiche filling recipe that, interestingly, calls for mayonnaise. And as for what you should add in to spice up your quiche, I would recommend looking up one that favors your tastes (epicurious is a good place to start) or just working with with any produce or breakfast meats that you’re looking to use up in your refrigerator.

Basic Quiche Filling

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I know its gross to some, but the oil in mayonnaise helps create a light, fluffy texture to the eggs)
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 recipe Fool Proof Savory Pie Crust 

 

Filling preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs, half and half, mayonnaise and flour. Salt and pepper according to taste.

2. Sautee any vegetables for the filling in a saucepan with oil and cook any meat that you wish to add fully before filling the bottom of the quiche crust. I used vegetarian sausage, green and red bell pepper and onion.

And then I topped it with some cubed swiss cheese.

3. Pour filling into quiche crust. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour or until the center is no longer liquid. Let quiche cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Now, relax & enjoy!

So quick, so delicious.

Hummingbird Cake

Celebrate spring with this delightful southern favorite. Named after the frantic, nectar-obsessed hummingbird, this cake is guaranteed satisfy your sweet tooth. And for those few, dedicated folks who’ve managed to give up sweets for lent, this might just be the perfect Easter indulgence. Crushed pineapple, bananas and pecans provides an interesting and appealing texture to this cake and is perfectly complimented by the rich, but not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting. (And yes, I dyed some coconut shavings green to look like grass. So what.)

This cake is unreal. Undeniably delicious. Afterall, I wouldn’t break out my awesome Peter Rabbit cupcake kit (someone knows me very well) on any ol’ recipe.

So adorable, right? A prancing Peter Rabbit

Southern Living Hummingbird Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1 (8 oz) can of crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups (about 4) mashed, overripe bananas
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional, used for garnish)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter (soft)
  • 16 oz (2 cups) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon. The goal here is to get all of the dry ingredients incorporated and to break up any lumps. A fork should work just fine.

2. Beat the eggs until they are foamy and add oil. Stir to combine. Set aside.

3. Mash the bananas in another bowl and add the crushed pineapple, vanilla extract and pecans. Stir to combine.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and oil. Use a spatula to mix but stop when there are still some streaks of flour in the batter. Do not overmix.

5. Add the pineapple, bananas, pecans, and vanilla to the batter. Stir with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, but don’t overmix here either.

6. If you’re making cake, bake in buttered and floured pans for about 45 minutes. If you’re baking cupcakes it should only take 15-20 minutes.

7. While the cake is baking, prepare the icing. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and soft butter until completely incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you add new ingredients.

8. Cool cake completely (at least 2 hours at room temperature) before icing.

9. If you went the shredded coconut route, which I recommend, have it at the ready after icing. Garnish cupcakes by turning them upside down on the coconut, or sprinkle it over the top.

They look good with Peeps too!

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

A subtle twist on a classic cookie. Absolutely. This is how I used up a container of (off brand) Nutella when I got sick of eating it by the spoonful.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies (recipe adapted from this post on the sweetest kitchen)

  • 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set a side.

2. Place butter and sugar in the bottom of a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment. Cream the sugar into the butter until entirely incorporated.

3. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the electric mixer. Mix on high speed to combine until the mixture lightens and looks “whipped.” Add the peanut butter and mix to combine.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Drizzle Nutella over the peanut butter cookie dough and fold it in with a spatula. Refrigerate the dough for at least fifteen minutes before forming balls with your hands. I used a fork to press my cookies down, a traditional method used with peanut butter cookies. You can also just use your palm, but it is important to flatten the batter onto the sheet to ensure even cooking.

6. Arrange cookies on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet (at least a 1/2 inch apart) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are slightly browned on the tops. If you prefer a harder cookie, let the cookies sit out, unwrapped for 24 hours. Otherwise, eat asap.