I don’t know why some people get their panties in a wad over Crisco. I just love the stuff. Crisco is the reason my cornbread has a super crispy bottom and Crisco is why I finally learned to make a really good pie crust.
I put Crisco right up there with Velveeta as a guilty pleasure I simply cannot do without. The way I look at it, for both Crisco and Velveeta, it’s not like you’re eating it 24 hours a day. I may bake a pie once a month and I might sneak a little Velveeta into my scrambled eggs about as often. Since both products have a shelf life of approximately 10 years, a smidge isn’t going to kill you. Or at least it won’t kill you quickly.
Some of you have asked for my cherry pie recipe. It is a combination of two recipes that are entirely not mine. The first is the filling, which you must make with Oregon brand tart cherries. The recipe is on the inside of the label, but I’m going to give it to you here as well. I don’t like super sweet fruit pies so I never just use canned pie filling. Yuck.
For the pie crust, I always keep Crisco sticks in the freezer. The trick to good crust is to keep everything super cold. The next trick is to just mix the crust until it starts to come together. If you can press some dough in the bowl and it sticks together, it’s done mixing. The last, and best, trick I learned is how to roll out the dough. Roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap. When you have the dough rolled to fit in the pie pan, just take off the top sheet of plastic wrap and invert the bottom sheet over the pan. Gently drop the dough into the pan and then remove the remaining plastic wrap.
Here is why this method is so ingenious (and I don’t think I thought it up, but if I did good for me). You don’t get the rolling pin messy. You don’t get a cutting board messy. You don’t have to use any additional flour to keep the dough from sticking. You don’t ever have that horrifying moment of rolling the dough around a rolling pin and then watching it disintegrate before you get it to the pie plate.
Now here’s the last thing and it’s where I differ from the Crisco recipe. I always make two single crust recipes for a pie instead of one double crust recipe. As far as I’m concerned a pie is as much about the crust as it is the filling and I’m all about abundant pie crust.
½ to 3/4 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cans Oregon Red Tart Pie Cherries, drained, reserve juice from one can
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Pastry for two-crust 9-inch pie
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain the cherries and reserve the juice from only one can. In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in cherries and almond extract, if using. Remove from heat. Pour filling into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter or margarine. Adjust crust, seal and vent. Bake 45 minutes or until crust browns and filling begins to bubble. If necessary, cover edges with aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.
Crisco Classic Pie Crust:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
OR 1/2 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
3 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
OR 3/4 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
4 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
1. Blend flour and salt in a food processor
2. Cut Crisco stick into half inch pieces and add to flour
3. Pulse until the Crisco is about the size of a large pea.
4. Add half the ice water and pulse. Continue adding the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together.
5. Shape dough into two disks and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least an hour.
6. Roll out dough between two sheets of plastic wrap until it fits the pie pan and then remove the top sheet of plastic wrap. Invert dough into the pie pan and remove other sheet of plastic wrap.