Thursday, February 23, 2017

Month-of-Few Ingredients: Pie Crust, One More Time + Arizona Sunshine Pie

Okay, here we go. Another thing I fear in cooking. It’s not an ingredient this time, it’s the product of ingredients. Pie crust!!!

Everyone who cooks wants me to try their pie crust recipe. Infallible, they tell me. Except, I fail.

Mr. Pillsbury and his Dough Boy friend and I have had a long and happy relationship with pie crust. I thought it would last to the end, but here I am to give homemade one more go. Cross your fingers for me (toes, eyes, and anything else you can cross).

I know some things about making pie crust through my various efforts through the years and from tips from friends and experts (not that my friends aren’t experts, but you know what I mean).

I know over mixing is a cardinal sin. Handle it as little as you can to get the right texture. I know there are recipes using vinegar and recipes that don’t.  I know that there are several ways to grease up a pie crust: lard, vegetable shortening, and butter. I know you want to roll it out with as little additional flour as possible. I know using ice water is important. Most of the time.

So, good start, right?

So, why now, am I trying this again. Jan D’Atri’s Arizona Sunshine Pie is very good in Mr. Pillsbury’s offering. Why do I think I can improve on that?

Well, I love vintage cookbooks and recipes from old newspaper clippings and handwritten recipes somebody’s grandma called “Best Pie Crust.” I’m a sucker for them, so when I came across this recipe, I couldn’t resist. I mean, look at the title! Simple ingredients. The downside? Almost no directions, because, of course, everybody knew how to make pie crust back in the day.

There you have it. That, and my unsuccessful-pie-crust past, were what I had to go on. You’ll note that this recipe makes 3 crusts. Three? Hmm. Okay, so I needed one for this pie. I considered third-ing the recipe, but I was afraid to mess with the proportions (1 teaspoon of vinegar divided into thirds?), so I made three. Two are in my freezer for quiche or pasties later on. Also, I don’t buy lard, but I know that lard and Martha White flour were why my grandmas’ pie crusts were so good. I used Crisco.

 Here are some pictures of my stages.

cut in shortening

dividing into thirds

the right consistency

After rolling out the pie crust, I carefully folded it over to lift it into the pie plate. Not so pretty, eh? Yeah, well. I did patching to make it cover the whole plate. It will taste the same, right, and mostly it will be covered by this delicious pie.

When Jan D’Atri, a local celeb whom I’ve mentioned here before, shared the recipe for Arizona Sunshine Pie, I had to try it because we have scads of lemons every year. I’ve made it several times, and it’s always a hit. This is beyond easy. And it just happens to have five ingredients! Coincidence? I think not.

Arizona Sunshine Pie
1 lemon, largest you can find
4 eggs
1 stick butter, melted (8 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use vanilla bean paste)
1 ½ cups sugar

Filling Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut lemon in small chunks leaving rind on. Remove seeds. In a blender or food processor, blend together lemon chunks, eggs, butter, vanilla and sugar until mixture is smooth and creamy. (It should be fairly runny.) Pour into unbaked piecrust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

If crust becomes too brown, cover gently with foil and finish baking. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. (NOTE: I used some of yesterday’s whipped aquafaba.)

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up  Bless his heart, he doesn’t know if this is a good pie crust, so his rating is for the overall pie. I’ll tell you about the pie crust.

It was very quick and easy to make. It was a little tough, but still flakey (note to self: don’t work it so much), and the flavor was good. I’d give myself 3 ½ tongues up for the crust. I will make pie crust again with this recipe. I just may be breaking up with Mr. Pillsbury.

If you liked this recipe, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Tweet: Use up all those lemons available now. #recipe for Arizona Sunshine Pie from @jandatri on @Good2Tweat

Tweet: Do you have trouble with pie crust like I do? With #recipe from @Good2Tweat struggle no more.

Facebook: Today you get a two-fer: easy pie crust recipe AND Arizona Sunshine Pie (from local celeb Jan D’Atri). See what’s for dessert at YOUR house tonight.

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