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Monday, October 21, 2013

Aunt Amy's No Fail Pie Crust


A taste of summer.
Aunt Amy, my mother's sister, was a wonderful cook and we loved going to her house for meals.  Our grandmother, Nanny as we called her, also lived in the same house so there were always aunts, uncles and cousins coming and going.  Nan was in her 70s when my sister and I were born and by that time she had given up keeping house and was cared for by Aunt Amy and her husband Uncle Ken, who happened to be my father's brother.  Two brothers married two sisters.  We lived only a short distance from Aunt Amy and Uncle Ken's house so my mother would drop in to see Nan just about every day and of course Heather and I would usually trail along. There was always something cooking or baking in Aunt Amy's kitchen and it was a dismal day to find the kitchen empty.

I remember in late summer, after a blueberry picking excursion, Aunt Amy making blueberry pies.   As I recall the pies always seemed to be coming out of the oven just before we'd finish a meal and were served hot with cream. I couldn't wait to have a piece of the steaming, juicy pie but I always burned my tongue on the hot filling which was well insulated by Aunt Amy's pie crust.  For years I associated Blueberry Pie with a burned tongue and pain!  Since then I've learned to wait until the pie has cooled and now enjoy my blueberry pie without that burned tongue.

Aunt Amy's recipe written out by Aunt Joan.
A little while ago I came across this recipe for Aunt Amy's No Fail Pie Crust in my mother's collection of recipes and immediately stuffed it in my box.  This was the first time I tried this recipe and wasn't sure how it would turn out.  I decided to make a blueberry rhubarb pie as I had plenty of blueberries and rhubarb in the freezer and like that combination together. As it turned out, the pie was wonderful.  We certainly enjoyed it with spoonfuls of Fussell's Cream.  I also used some of the crust to top a chicken stew.  Because it isn't a sweet crust it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes.


No Fail Pie Crust

Crumbs about the size of small peas.
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup shortening (I sometimes use half butter.)
½ cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives until the shortening resembles coarse crumbs about the size of small green peas.  Add milk and gently mix together to form a ball of dough.  Can be used as is or place in refrigerator until cold and roll out for pies. 

When rolling out top crust, add extra dabs of butter between layers.  (I think this means to add dabs of butter on top of the filling.)


Dough resting in refrigerator.
Makes 2-3 single crusts or 1 double crust pie crust with possibly enough left over for another single crust.  It all depends on how thick you like your crust and the size of your pie pans.

When making a single crust that is to pre-baked, line the pie pan with pastry, trim to fit and then prick all over with a fork.  This is called docking and prevents the pie crust from puffing up during baking. Bake single crusts at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crust is a golden brown. 




This is the pie filling I used for the pie.   


Pie ready for the oven.
Blueberry Rhubarb Pie Filling
4 cups of blueberries, fresh or frozen*
1 cup of chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen**
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup flour***
2 teaspoons butter (optional)

Mix sugar and flour together and set aside.  Place blueberries and rhubarb in sauce pan over medium heat.  When berries and rhubarb start to get juicy add the sugar mixture and stir until thick and bubbling.  Let cool and place in 9 inch unbaked pie crust.  Dot filling with butter and cover with top crust.  Bake in 425 degree oven 15 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake an additional 30-40 minutes. 

*Use all blueberries for Blueberry Pie.

**2 cups of rhubarb and 3 cups of blueberries is also very good and produces a tangier tasting pie.

***You may wonder why I use flour instead of corn starch.  I often make a double batch of pie filling so I can freeze a few pies for later use.  Cooked corn starch doesn't freeze well and goes all stringy and funny when thawed out. ("Freezing corn-starch thickened mixtures will rupture the starch cells and cause the mixture to thin out. Freeze a fruit pie thickened with corn starch before baking."  http://www.argostarch.com/faq.html)  Flour is not affected by freezing and the pie is just as good as fresh baked.  If you would rather use cornstarch then use 2 tablespoons for this recipe.

A little hand pie made from scraps.
Pie ready to eat.

Peter enjoying a piece of pie.  Don't burn your tongue!

Fussell's Thick Cream--A Newfoundland Favourite!

This crust was also delicious with a chicken stew. 


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