Elsie Peterson’s pie crust

The same pastry blender and rolling pin I've had since age 18

When I left home for college at age 18, my mom made sure I first knew how to make a good pie crust.  She sent me off with a pie pan, rolling pin, bowls, measuring devices and a pastry blender.  She has always been know for making great pies.  Here is her pie crust, which is as much about the process as the ingredients.


For each crust (an open topped pumpkin pie has one crust.  A closed topped apple pie has two.)

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/3 cup butter

1 t salt

approximately 2 T to 1/4 cup cold water.

The process:

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.  Measure the butter but only add half or a bit more than half of it.  Cut half the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, until it is very thoroughly mixed in.  Now add the second half of the butter and mix it in with the pastry blender a little less thoroughly.  The resulting mixture of flour and butter might have little chunks the size of a split pea.

When the mixture has reached the consistency described above add the water.  You want to stir/knead/mix as little as possible.  So quickly mix, with your hand, the water with the flower/butter mixture.  The right amount of water results in a dough that holds together and is not sticky, or is just a tiny bit sticky.  As soon as it holds together stop mixing and roll it out and put it in the pie pan.

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