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One of my earliest childhood memories is of standing on a stool, in front of the kitchen counter, and watching my mother make pie crust. She could sculpt the crust on the rim of the pie plate like Picasso, and she'd always break off little pieces and let me taste it. The raw dough was delicious. (It still is.)
Sadly, my mother stopped baking pies from scratch. She always said her mother could whip up a pie crust with virtually no effort at all, so perhaps my mother felt that she simply couldn't compete with Grandma's pies. Whatever the reason, her homemade pies virtually disappeared from the family menu, and, on those rare occasions when she did bake a pie, she used the frozen pie shells from the grocer's freezer.
Having no one to teach me how to make a pie crust from scratch I never learned how. I just assumed that it was too difficult, causing me to develop an affection I'll call, Pie Crust Phobia, so I too bought frozen pie shells. While not bad, they just don't have the same flavor, or the flakiness, of a pie crust made from scratch.
Fast forward a few years. I'm testing recipes for, Rosie's Riveting Recipes, and the time had come to conquer my Pie Crust Phobia by going for broke and making my own pie crust from scratch.
They say certain genes skip a generation as I discovered that making pie crust from scratch isn't rocket science after all. All you need is some flour, baking powder, shortening, and a little water. Having the right tools helps too. I bought a pastry cutter at Walmart, and that investment of a few dollars really paid off because it makes blending in the shortening a snap.
Victory Pie Crust is used in many of the historic recipes in Rosie's Riveting Recipes. And one other historic note. The word, "victory," was a significant part of the lexicon during World War II. It was a moral booster that was used everywhere.
VICTORY PIE CRUST
• 1 1/4 cups sifted flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 or 4 tablespoons cold shortening
• 3 or 3 1/2 tablespoons ice water*
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Cut shortening into small pieces; add to flour and cut in until mixture is almost as fine as meal. Make small well in flour mixture. Turn 1 tablespoon ice water in this and mix quickly and lightly with surrounding flour only until a small ball of dough is formed. Do not over mix. Repeat this way, mixing all of the flour in separate portions. Then press portions together lightly but firmly into one dough. Makes enough pastry for 9-inch pie shell. Double recipe for pastry for two-crust pie.
*Use only 3 tablespoons ice water with 4 tablespoons shortening; use 3 1/2 tablespoons ice water with 3 tablespoons shortening.
Note: If the crust should come out too dry and crumbly simply add small amounts of water until the mixture has a more doughy consistency.