I have a small custom baking business out of my home. I’ve been doing this for a few years very informally and mostly for friends and family. My mother and Julia Child were my inspiration however I was named after my great aunt Sue who baked up a storm. You could never go to Aunt Sue’s house without having some sort of wonderful dessert. I guess I was aptly named because I love to bake goodies. My husband is my best taste tester because he is brutally honest with me.
My mother was a wonderful cook for most things however beef stew, zucchini (or any other kind of squash) were the bane of my existence. She would murder them. I still HATE any kind of squash. I know that you’re going to say that your squash isn’t like that but to me…it is. I’ve been ruined for squash because we had it almost every week. It was my dad’s favorite and it was cheap to buy. That said…I make a wonderful Zucchini Bread.
My mother made the most wonderful pies. She had a recipe for pie crust that was a compilation of her own recipe and that of a professional baker that used to live next door to her.
My mother passed away from breast cancer but before she died she shared her recipe and her technique with my brother and I. With the three of us in her kitchen she went through the whole process and the story of how her neighbor who was a baker told her that he added an egg yolk to his pie dough. From that time on that’s how she made her crust also. So, here is my mother’s pie crust recipe:
5 C. Flour
1 ¾ tsp. Salt
1 lb lard or Shortening
¾ C. cold milk (if you want it richer you can also use either half & half or heavy cream)
1 egg yolk beaten
Cut the lard or Shortening into the flour & salt until it resembles coarse meal (no larger than the size of a pea). Mix the milk & egg yolk together and mix into the flour mixture. Mix well to the point of kneading. My mother always told me that other recipes say not to handle it too much but she didn’t agree with that premise. Separate enough for a piecrust and form it into a ball. Flatten the ball on a floured surface and roll the dough out to the size you want.
I have found that I can make this pie dough ahead of time, roll it out to the right size, wrap it securely with plastic wrap, lay it flat on a baking sheet and then put it in the freezer. I’ll stack up several layers of pie crusts that way. When I need to make a pie I simply remove one layer of crust and let it come to room temperature and put it in my pie plate. Comes out perfectly every time with no fuss, muss or last minute stress. My mom would have been proud of this idea.