Pie Crust 101 - Bake a Difference with OXO #Sponsored #OXOgoodcookies

How many of you are intimidated by making pie crusts from scratch? I'll readily admit that up until recently I hated the idea of rolling out my own dough, which is why more often than not I'd pop up to the store, pick up a box of refrigerated pie crusts and call it a day.  The thing is, I was never quite happy with my final product because ready made pie crusts lack the flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture of a made from scratch crust.

Ultimately I decided it was time to tackle my pie making fear, so I locked myself in the kitchen and made pie crusts over and over again until I got it right. Do you know what I learned from that experience? Pie crusts aren't nearly as hard as I had imagined. That's why I thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned along the way and while I'm at it spread the word about the Cookies for Kids' Cancer 4th Annual 50 State Challenge.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today we're partnering with OXO in support of this wonderful event. Did you know that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? Your mission, should you choose to participate, is to help us promote childhood cancer awareness and raise funds to help develop new, and less toxic pediatric cancer treatments.

How can you help? Host a neighborhood bake sale, run a race, throw a fundraiser at your school, or come up with an event of your own. You can join in the challenge by registering your event online today; if you mark that you were inspired by OXO when you register, then OXO will match proceeds from your event up to their annual commitment of $100,000 (see notes at the end of this post for more information.)

Want some recipes to help you get started? Make sure to check out our desserts section! We have all the basics covered: pies, cakes, brownies, and cookies or check back later this week for two new pie filling recipes: Cardamom Peach and Blueberry Peach.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Fool Proof Pie Crust

 

I've tried a variety of pie crust recipes over the years, but the one I always keep coming back to is my great-grandma's fool proof pie crust recipe. It's the the same basic recipe I use for making Lemon Meringue PieCaramel Apple Pie, and even Chicken Pot Pie (although I omit the sugar for savory pies.) The recipe has been modified a bit over the years, swapping out lard for vegetable shortening and butter, but no matter what fat you decide to use this recipes works perfectly every single time. 

Ingredients

double crust

3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
½ cup salted butter, cubed
8 - 10 Tablespoons cold water

single crust

1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening (see notes)
¼ cup salted butter, cubed
4 - 5 Tablespoons cold water

Directions

There are a number of ways you can approach mixing the ingredients. I prefer to keep it simple using a mixing bowl and my hands, but you can use a food processor or KitchenAid mixer if you prefer. 

  • In a bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients once, then add shortening and cubed butter. 

  • Slowly add cold water, two tablespoons at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Keep in mind that adding too much water will make a sticky mess of your pie crust. You may not need the full 10 Tablespoons of water, so don't just dump it all in at once to save time. 

  • To check the consistency of your dough try pinching a small piece between your fingers, it should hold together; if it falls apart you will need to add more water. If you've accidentally added too much water try adding a tablespoon or two of flour to help bind the crust together.

  • Once mixed, divide the dough into two equal parts, form into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. If you have a kitchen scale now is a great time to pull it out to make sure your top and bottom crusts will be equal, if you don't have one you can just eyeball it.

  • Cover your work surface in parchment paper (to make cleanup a little easier), flatten the ball of dough and roll it out on a well floured surface. Make sure to cover your rolling pin with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking.

  • Start at the center and using your rolling pin work your way out until the dough is about ⅛ inch thick and circular in shape. If you notice your dough sticking, dust it with a little more flour. Work the dough lightly and quickly since over-handling the dough will make the it tough.

  • Transfer your dough to your pie plate and gently push it into place, be careful not to stretch the dough, since it will pull apart. Repeat the previous steps for your second crust or if you want to get fancy you can follow the steps below for a lattice top.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Lattice Crust




 

  • Roll out your second crust, then use a pastry wheel (as pictured above), pizza cutter, or sharp knife to cut one inch wide strips of dough. Use a metal ruler to help make equal-sized strips of dough or just eyeball it for a more rustic look.

  • Lay out one strip of dough horizontally and the other vertically so the two strips form a cross in the center off the pie. Add additional strips weaving them in and out as you go along.

  • Once finished trim the edges of the lattice strips so they're flush with the outer edge of the pie dish. Fold the lower crust up over the top, then use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edge. 
     

Blind Baking

 

  • If your recipe calls for pre-baking the bottom crust (sometimes referred to as blind baking), prick the bottom of the pie crust in several places with a fork, place a piece of parchment paper over the crust and add rice, beans, or pie weights to the center before baking it. This will prevent bubbles from forming on your crust as it cooks.

  • You may also want to put aluminum foil or a pie crust shield around the edge of the crust to keep it from become overly dark.

  • Let your bottom crust cool slightly before adding your filling to the crust. To add the top crust lightly moisten the edge of the bottom crust, gently add the top crust, and press into place along the edges. Trim off any excess dough around the edge.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Filling Ideas

 

Cherry Almond

Peach Cardamom

Caramel Apple

Blueberry Peach

Lemon Meringue
 

Notes


This year, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies fund pediatric cancer research. Visit OXO or cookiesforkidscancer.org for more information.

This crust recipe is very flexible, so I've been known to vary the ingredients slightly depending on what type of pie I'm making and what I happen to have in the kitchen. The original recipe calls for lard, which is fine for savory pies, but I prefer a combination of vegetable shortening and butter. You can easily turn this into an all butter or all shortening crust with fabulous results, so keep that in mind if you ever want to make a pie, but find you don't have a drop of shortening in the house.

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Tools

 

To facilitate today's recipe OXO sent along a handful of pie making tools. Keep reading for more information on the tools featured in our post today and where you can purchase them.

Glass 9" Pie Plate OXO Glass Bakeware is made of thermal shock resistant borosilicate glass, which means it can go from freezer to oven without the need to thaw.  Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Double Pastry Wheel - This two-in-one tool has straight and fluted wheels made of sturdy stainless steel. The straight wheel is great for cutting pastas and dough, and the fluted wheel is perfect for lattice-top pies and lasagna noodles. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons - The Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons' unique magnetic feature keeps the spoons neatly stacked together and allows you to easily remove one at a time. The soft, comfortable, non-slip handles feature permanent, etched measurement markings. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

4-Cup Angled Measuring Cup The patented angled surface allows you to see measurement markings from above as you're pouring, so you can better measure ingredients without bending or lifting the cup to eye level. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Silicone 1" Pastry Brush - The Silicone Basting Brush's multi-layered bristles work as if they are natural but have heat resistance and quick-clean convenience. Gaps in the center bristles hold liquid as you transfer, and tapered outer bristles let you brush delicate pastries with ease. Purchase from Amazon or OXO

Blueberry Peach Pie | Pie 101 | Not Starving Yet

Disclosure

 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Bake a Difference with OXO Campaign. They have provided me with a set of pie making tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

How To Keep Your Cutting Board from Slipping

I don't know a single person who doesn't love to save money, which is why I've spent the last few weeks sharing some of my favorite kitchen tips to help you be a little more economical in the kitchen. If you somehow managed to miss them make sure to check out my favorite way to use up old vegetables in a quick weeknight friendly meal aka The Poorman's Meal or this suggestion for getting the most our of your bunch of green onions. Did you know you can regrow them on the counter with nothing more than a jar and some water?

Pretty cool, right?

This week I've got another great tip: How to keep your cutting board from slipping while you're slicing through your bounty of summer vegetables. While it's not strictly a tip in economy, it will save you a trip to the E.R. and we all know how expensive that can be, even with insurance.

How to Keep Your Cutting Board From Slipping

A cutting board that doesn't stay put is an accident waiting to happen, so if you find this is a problem for you all you need to do is take a silicone baking mat, like this one from Silpat and place it underneath your board. As long as the mat is roughly the same size as your cutting board it will hold it firmly in place.

If you don't happen to have a silicone mat laying around the kitchen and don't want to purchase one, don't worry, you can still use a damp paper towel or tea towel to accomplish roughly the same thing. 

If you take away nothing else from today's post, remember sometimes economy in the kitchen is as simple as finding a second use for a seemingly one-use item.
 

Also pictured:

 

Arte Legno Bread Board and Cutting Board
✦ Happy Source Scrap Trap
✦ RSVP Endurance Magnetic Knife Bar
✦ Victorinox Curved Bread Knife
✦ Wüsthof Classic Ikon Knife Set
✦ Dealzip PVC-Coated Steel Wire Clips
 

Disclosure

 


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

The Poorman's Meal #Sponsored by OXO

A few weeks ago I talked about how to regrow green onions using nothing but leftover onions, a glass, and some water. It's a great way to stretch things a little further in kitchen and hardly requires any work at all. Today I thought it was time for my next tip: how to reduce kitchen waste, especially from produce that isn't being used up quickly enough.

Let's face it, we've all been there. Sometimes you have an over abundance of food from the garden or a recent shopping trip and sometimes you just plain forgot you had something and it's starting to look a little sorry. I frequently find myself in this situation, so every other week I make a dish I've always known as The Poorman's Meal. I'm sure it has a billion and one other names, but that's what I've always known it as, so we'll just keep the name for now (even though it's probably not politically correct.)

This dish consists of whatever odds and ends I have on hand that are starting to get old. In our case it's usually some really wrinkly bell peppers, onions and potatoes that have started sprouting, and the last sausage in the package that I've forgotten to use up. The nice thing about this meal is that there is no recipe. I've seen it made with green beans and bacon instead of sausage and peppers, you just toss whatever leftovers you have in a skillet, cook them up, and season it with a little salt, pepper, and garlic. This meal couldn't possibly be easier and it's a great way to reduce your kitchen waste while spending only a trivial amount of time actually cooking. 

Don't forget to keep reading after the recipe for a quick review of a great tool from OXO that will help you on your quest to reduce waste in your kitchen. 

Want more tips for using up your leftovers? Make sure to check out our posts for Southern-Style Sawmill Sausage Gravy (to use up expired milk) and Banana Split Bread (for brown bananas.)

DISCLOSURE:  Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

DISCLOSURE: Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign, through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

The Poorman's Meal
makes approximately 3 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon salted butter
1 large potato, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
6 - 8 ounces sausage (I use Andouille)
sea salt, black pepper, and garlic, to taste

Directions

  • In a saucepan melt butter. Add sliced potato, bell pepper, onion, and sausage. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, flip the potatoes so they brown on both sides, then cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Season with sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder before serving.

Notes

If you find you're out of one of the ingredients listed, try substituting the missing ingredient for something you do have. I've seen this made in a number of different ways and it's always been tasty. If you want a real treat, trying making it with maple sausage links instead of the andouille, fry or scramble some eggs, then serve it as breakfast for dinner. This is one of those meals that's tasty any time of the day.

OXO Chef's Mandoline 2.0 | Not Starving Yet

Review

 

OXO Good Grips Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0:

When I talk about reducing waste in the kitchen the first thing that springs to mind for most people is food waste. The simple truth is this: most people toss a good portion of the groceries they purchase each week. Often times it's leftovers that have gone uneaten or produce that has spoiled before it could be used. This translates into a lot of money that goes straight into the landfill. This wasted food and money is one of the reasons I make sure to incorporate dishes like the poor mans's meal into our menu rotation frequently—it cuts down on one form of the waste I frequently see in our kitchen.

Now I want to give you a little food for thought—food isn't the only thing that people waste when they're cooking. Time is another thing that is frequently wasted, but it's not something most people stop to consider.

If you're anything like me then you've probably wasted plenty of time standing at the fridge wondering what to cook. You've also likely wasted time searching for missing ingredients in your disorganized pantry or making last-minute trips to the store because you've discovered half way through a recipe you're missing a key ingredient. Anyone who has cooked a meal has been there, but what you may not realize is that you've also been wasting time by using tools that aren't quite up to the job at hand. This may sound like common sense, but having the right tool for the job can save a lot of time and that extra 15 minutes you save by using a more efficient tool can make the difference between a home cooked meal and ordering takeout for the third night in a row because you're too tired to cook.

That said, I've actually been a naysayer when it comes to using some of these time-saving tools in my kitchen. I don't have a large kitchen, so every tool I own needs to be a multi-tasker and it needs to perform well. To date I've not had a good experience with using a mandoline as the one I've own for years is a bit of a heath-hazard. The blade is always falling out and at one point took a huge chunk out of my hand that resulted in a trip to urgent care. Early in our marriage my poor husband came home to an unlocked apartment with a trail of blood leading clear across it, then discovered I was no where to be found. I was at urgent care receiving nearly 15 stitches while he wondered how an axe murdered got into the apartment.

After that I tucked the mandoline away and went back to using a knife, which works well for most tasks, but it's not always the most efficient way to cut up a huge pile of potatoes or vegetables (especially if you want them thinly and evenly sliced.) 

When OXO offered to send me the new version of their chef's mandoline I was curious to see how it differed from the model I had from their competition. The first change I noticed is that the blades are permanently stored in the mandoline, you'll still need to slide them out to adjust the type of cut you want, straight or crinkle, but they're locked in to place firmly and won't fall out. Even fine-tuning the thickness of your slices is simple—there's a red slider bar that adjusts in 0.5-mm intervals allowing a paper thin cut or something thicker like I used for today's recipe. You can even make julienne, waffle, and French fry cuts with the turn of a knob. The easy adjustment knob and the blades that stay put solved the two biggest pet peeves I had when using a mandoline. It was incredibly easy to set the thickness I want and produce a pile of potatoes that were uniform in size and therefore cooked evenly.

A mandoline may not be for everyone, but there are certain times when using one is much faster—especially if you have a huge pile of potatoes, zucchini, squash, or onions that you need to cut into uniform slices. If you find yourself performing this task on a regular basis, then it's definitely a time saving tool you may want to consider for your kitchen. 

Where to Purchase


OXO Good Grips Chef's Mandoline Slicer 2.0: Find it on Amazon or purchase it directly from OXO

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Chef’s Mandoline Slicer 2.0 Campaign through the blogger outreach program. They have provided me with a mandoline for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

How to Regrow Green Onions

A few weeks ago we had friends come stay with us and one of them stopped me to ask what I had in the odd assortment of glass jars that line my kitchen counter. Any time I empty out a jam jar I repurpose it to regrow things like leeks and green onions from the scraps I have leftover. It cuts down on the grocery bill and ensures I always have them on hand to add a little extra flavor to my dishes. I can only imagine how odd my kitchen seems to most of my friends, some of whom can barely boil a pot of water, but to me it's just the way things have always been done. You save your bacon fat for frying, grow your own herbs in the windowsill, and stretch out the little odds and ends as long as possible.

But I can't take credit for these little things I do, most of my tips come from watching not just my grandparents, but others from the generation who grew up during the depression. They lived during a time where everyone grew their own food (or bartered for what they couldn't grow) and there was no choice but to be economical in the kitchen. Learning to make something from nothing wasn't an option, if you couldn't figure it out you and often your family starved.

Not a pretty picture, but true none the less.

Today things are quite different for most of us. When we want something to eat we can go out to a restaurant or pop into a grocery store and pick up the ingredients we need to make a meal fit for a king. If we don't know how to cook then there is someone on the internet willing to show us how. Technology has made it easier than ever for us to learn all sorts of things, but somewhere along the way we've forgotten to pass on some very basic lessons to our children.

Green Onions.jpg

One of those lessons is how to be thrifty, both in and out of the kitchen.

I was talking with the friend who had noticed my glass jars and he mentioned that he wanted to learn how to cook "my way." By my way, he meant more economically, so I gave him lesson number one:

How to regrow green onions

  • Buy a bunch of green onions, snip off the green tips and use them in a meal (like loaded potato soup or taco dip), place the roots and white stalk in a glass or old jar, fill it with enough water to cover the roots.
  • Change the water out every few days, otherwise the water gets slimy and starts to smell.
  • As you need green onions, snip away at the green tops. If you notice the outsides of the onions drying out, carefully trim them off, making sure not to damage the root of the onion as you do.

Notes

The onions won't regrow indefinitely, unless you plant them in soil, but they will last for months on the counter—as long as you remember to change the water frequently.

If you have forgotten to change the water and notice the roots are getting slimy, just rinse them off carefully under cold water.