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Unless you are diabetic or on the strictest of fat-free, sugar-free or low-calorie diets, you're probably going to serve pie sometime. Sorry to say it, but virtually every ready-made brand-name fresh or frozen pie I have ever tasted had a crust that resembled wet cardboard, making me regret I had wasted my money. Most are short on real fruit, the healthiest part of a pie.
On the other hand, for years the best cooks made crusts at home with lard, or at least hydrogenated solid shortening, a "recipe" for arterial disaster.
Not only that, but making pie crust is a pain. For the flakiest crust, one must chill the ingredients, chill the utensils, cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives, sprinkle and mix in icy water just so, then roll it out to the correct shape and size and somehow maneuver it into the pie pan. It makes a big mess in the process. If you screw it up and have to re-roll it, or over mix it to begin with, the crust will be tough.
Ready-made frozen pie shells are tasty and handy, but add cost to your grocery bill, contain shortenings you may wish to exclude from your diet, and making a top crust out of one of the bottom ones isn't the easiest thing in the world. In addition, they usually come in pairs and the the bottom one (and sometimes the top as well) is sometimes shattered, which isn't obvious until you open it.
Here's an alternative. It has no solid shortening, just vegetable oil (still high calorie but no cholesterol), is mess free and easy to get into the pan if you follow instructions. Further, you can roll it out much thinner than standard crust, thus cutting the calories somewhat per serving.
Taste? I'm used to it and like it as well as regular crust, although some purists may disagree. Texture is great, and it doesn't get soggy like most standard crust substitutes.
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Sift the flour before measuring. Mix flour, salt and baking powder.
Measure oil and milk, pouring together into another container without stirring it. Make a well in the flour. Pour the liquid in all at once and stir gently with a fork only until most of the flour is moistened. Press into a ball.
For a two-crust pie or two pie shells: cut dough in half. Place a half between two pieces of wax paper. Roll out. You can check the size and shape by holding it over the pie pan.
When it's the right size, carefully peel off the top wax paper. Turn wax paper over to have a clean side on the crust. Gently flip it over and remove and discard the bottom piece of wax paper.
Spray the pie pan with cooking spray; this makes serving the pie easier. Lift crust by grasping the wax paper in the middle of each side, letting the crust hang down in halves on either side. Gently place the crust, dough side down, over the pie pan. Remove the remaining wax paper. Adjust the crust. For a two-crust pie, add filling. Roll out the other crust and apply the same way. Crimp the edges.
This recipe will make one thick deep-dish bottom pie crust, or use about 3/4 of the dough for a thinner crust. Discard the rest, or top pie with strips from the rest of the crust. If you want a two-crust deep dish pie, you must increase the recipe by half.
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