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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Norma's pie crust recipe: Just a wee bit of lard!


I'm standing next to Norma Barnes; a kindred soul and one heck of a gardener and homemaker. Born in Ireland, Norma came to Canada over 40 years ago and she and her husband, Alan, have always had a kitchen garden. It's actually the same garden I was lucky enough to pillage through and collect such a bounty I have in my arms here. A plethora of fresh herbs - coriander seeds (which I plan to dry and use in my Indian and Mexican recipes), French tarragon, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley and gorgeous beefsteak and Roma tomatoes. Heaven!

Norma promised we'd make something together and that's just what we did. Fresh blueberry pie!
The crust was something new for me; vinegar? baking powder? I have to say, although it smelled kind of funny making it, the crust came out absolutely tender and flaky. She has kindly offered to share her recipe with all of you.




Norma's pie crust
(makes enough for two 10" crusts or smaller with left over dough for a lattice)

5 cups All purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB cold water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 lb lard

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Then cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or two knives until thoroughly incorporated. Next pour the beaten eggs into a measuring cup. Add the cider vinegar and water to make a total of 3/4 cup. Add a little more vinegar or water if necessary.

Divide the dough in two portions and wrap in plastic and chill until ready to use. Norma doesn't do this step and goes ahead and rolls it out and continues making whatever pie she's making. But I like to chill it for about a half an hour to firm it up. For me, it makes it easier to handle.

If you're making blueberry pie or any pie that has a wet filling Norma brushes and egg wash in the bottom of the shell before filling. She also brushes an egg wash over the lattice or top crust before popping in the oven.

There you have it! I hope you give it a try. It's absolutely wonderful dough. It puffs up nicely when baking and is tender and flaky. I've made a version with mostly butter and a bit of chilled bacon grease for a savory tomato pie. Turned out great, too!