Recipe: Mom's Pie Crust, Food Processor Version

I gave my mom a food processor for Christmas last year, but I couldn’t really sell her on the whole food processor idea until I showed her how to use it to make pie crust. This time consuming mother-daughter holiday project, which usually involves two blunt dinner knives, a can of Crisco, billowing clouds of flour, and a generous pinch of cursing, could be much easier if we just made the dough in the food processor.

Fast forward to this summer, when the beloved writer Nora Ephron died and her NYT obit listed the things she once wrote that she would miss most out of life:

“Taking a bath

Coming over the bridge to Manhattan

Pie.”

So in the spirit of Nora Ephron, I have been making lots of pie this summer – blueberry, peach, you name it. Making pie – often for company or for family – is one of the great rituals that ties generations together. Though I do not think I could ever make a pie crust as flaky and generally flawless-looking as my mom’s – she is still in charge of the pie crusts at every holiday gathering – I’ve adapted her recipe, which I believe originated from a stained 1960s copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, to modern times by putting it through the food processor. Though now it’s in style to make an all-butter paté brisée, Crisco really does give the crust extra flakiness, so this recipe includes both types of fat. And don’t worry: despite the newfangled contraption, the crust still tastes old fashioned.

Recipe: Mom’s Pie Crust, Food Processor Version

1 1/2 c. flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. unsalted butter
5 tbsp. ice water

Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse a couple times until “sifted.” Add the shortening and butter and pulse about 20 times until the shortening and butter are the size of peas. Do not just run the food processor, or you will cut the fat up too finely and the resulting dough will be too dense.

Sprinkle the ice water or refrigerated Brita water over the mixture and pulse until it forms a ball, about 20 times. (Again, don’t run the food processor continually. Pulsing is key.) Take out the dough and form it into a disc. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a day.

When ready to roll, dust a countertop, preferably marble or granite but any kind will do, with flour. Put the disc of dough down and flip it over a couple of times on the floured surface, then flour the surface again.

Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough out halfway, then move it around the countertop to pick up more flour, dust the top of the dough with flour again, and roll out to its full size, about 13 inches across for a 9 1/2 pie plate.

To transfer the dough, roll it up with a rolling pin into a loose cylinder and carefully drape it over the pie plate. Trim the edges so that 1 inch of dough hangs over the lip of the plate, then double this under the rest of the dough.

Make a decorative edge by pressing the round end of a knife against the edge of the crust at thumb-sized intervals. Bake according to pie or quiche recipe directions.

Makes one 9-1/2 inch crust for pie or quiche.

About this blueberry pie: The pie recipe is from the excellent Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, my go-to cookbook for American classics.

 

 

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