Monday, December 21, 2009

The Perfect All-Purpose Light Pie Crust

For Thanksgiving, I was in charge of desserts - aside from Taylor's adorable Pilgrim's Hat Cookies, of course. Pie is the traditional dessert for the holidays, but, like usual, I was short on time. I didn't want to resort to a store-bought pie crust - homemade ones are just so much more fun! So I was thrilled when I came across the recipe for the All-Purpose Light Piecrust on It's easy to make, lower in fat and calories than other pie crusts, and tastes delicious!

Just in time for Christmas, I'd like to share it with you!

5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup boiling water

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.

2. Cut in shortening with a pastry knife or two knives until it resembles a coarse meal.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Combine butter and water. Pour butter mixture into the the center of the well.

4. Gently draw the flour mixture into the butter mixture until moist clumps form.

5. Press dough into a 4-inch circle. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

6. Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Unwrap the chilled dough and place on the plastic wrap. Cover with 2 more sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle.

7. Remove the top 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Fit dough, plastic wrap-side-up into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap.

8. Fold edges of dough inward to create a clean, even edge.

9. Flute the edges of the dough by gently pressing outward with your fingers.

10. Pierce the dough with a fork. (This helps prevent distortion of the pie crust as it bakes.)

11. Line the bottom of the pie dough with foil and top with pie weights or dried beans. The weights keep the center of the pie crust from getting bubbles or rising as the crust bakes.

12. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or until browned. (Caution: Some pie recipes do not require pre-baking the crust so refer to your recipe here.)

Now fill with your favorite pie recipe! At Thanksgiving, I made the Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, which people raved was the best pumpkin pie they'd ever had. I think that's because it's a very light, fluffy pumpkin pie - not the dense stuff we grew up on. Another recipe I recommend is the Gingery Cranberry-Pear Pie with Oatmeal Streusel. When I made this one, I substituted 2 Granny Smith apples, 2 Pink Lady apples, and 2 Fuji apples for the pears. Thanks to for such great recipes!


sandhya said...

Hi Melanie, my name is sandhya and i am an amateur in cake decorating, came across your blog while looking for cake decorating competition in central florida. Your cakes look awesome. I never dared to try lambeth method, now seeing your cake for the ICES convention, i feel i got to give it a try. Do u use real cakes or styroform for competitions. Where can i get the styroform cakes.

Melanie said...

sandhya, most people use Styrofoam for competitions, unless the competition rules specifically require real cake. You can get them at cake specialty shops or order them online. Do a search for "cake dummies." One company that I've used is Dallas Foam.

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