Never Fail Pie Crust Recipe

From my Grandma's old recipe book--so you know it's good.

From my Grandma’s old recipe book–so you know it’s good. Also not really a family recipe, but Mrs. Betty knows where it’s at!

Yep, I made the claim, I stand by it.

This pie crust works for everything, and so long as you follow the instructions, it will NEVER FAIL.

EVER.

Good for dessert type pies (Apple, pumpkin, berry, EVERYTHING, etc…) and dinner type pies (Shepherds, Quiche, EVERYTHING, etc…) and for anything else you might need a crust for, this is the recipe my family uses…

I’m sharing secrets, here. Appreciate it.

I’ll type up the recipe for you now, with notes on what’s VERY IMPORTANT to not fail at making this…

And to be clear: It’s very difficult to mess this up.

1 lb of shortening

4.5 cups flour (white)

1 Egg

1 Tbsp. Vinegar

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Baking powder

Water

Measure out the pound of shortening (I know, a whole pound) into the bowl you’ll be doing all the mixing into–so make sure it’ll fit the shortening and 4.5 cups of flour, okay? Set this aside for the moment.

In a separate bowl, measure out the Flour, the Salt, the Baking Powder, and make sure this is thoroughly mixed. Feel free to sift, but a fork works too. Set this aside for the moment.

In a 1 cup measuring device (Like THIS) crack your Egg and add the Vinegar, and mix it up. That fork you used earlier will do the trick, as this is a tiny space for you to try using a whisk.

Now you’ll notice that there is no measurement for how much water you need–that is intentional. You know how eggs come in a variety of sizes? My family usually uses large eggs (Not XL, Just L) in general, but really you can use whatever you have in the house. I don’t suggest you go far from general chicken-egg size (sorry if you were hoping to use quail or ostrich). But to get back on track, the reason for the lack of water measurement is that in that 1 cup measure, you top the egg-vinegar mixture with cold water until it hits the 3/4 cup measuring line. That is how much moisture this needs, no more, no less. Set this aside.

Take your flour mixture and add it to the shorteningdo not use your hands. In my house we use a pastry cutter (Like THIS) to cut the dough, but if you have some other tool, have at it. Just do not use your hands. The point of cutting the dough is to not melt the shortening with the heat from your hands–in bread dough, the heat from your hands starts to activate the yeast in the dough and that’s why it’s good to have really warm hands when you’re a bread maker.

THIS IS NOT THE CASE FOR THIS DOUGH. 

This dough is nice and fluffy and light and delicious, so seriously don’t ruin it. Keep your body heat to yourself.

Cut the dough until it’s thoroughly mixed (when the dough gets stuck to the pastry cutter use a knife or other to dislodge it–no fingers!!) and looks like a cross between wet sand and mashed potatoes. That’s from me, that’s what it looks like to me. Make your own judgement, but the point is to not have loose flour mixture in the bowl and no clumps of floury shortening, and that happens once it reaches wet-sand-mashed-potato stage.

Get that 3/4 filled cup measure of Water, Egg, and Vinegar, and add it to the bowl. Get yourself a large spoon (leave whatever you were using to cut the dough behind) and start mixing. It will still look gloopy when it’s entirely mixed, and that’s ok. That’s good.

Get a large ziploc bag (or other sealing-type-thing) and put all the dough inside, using a spatula on the sides if needed. Get as much air from the bag as you can (Not a big deal if there’s still some air so don’t go crazy manhandling it), seal it, and put it in the fridge.

If you’re planning on using it immediately, it’ll take about an hour for it to firm up, and all you have to do is pull the amount you need from the main dough ball and roll it out on a floured surface as you would normally.

What you don’t use, you can saran wrap up separate portions and put into your freezer for 4-5 months.

It takes me less than half an hour to make a batch, and it’s pretty dish-friendly in that you’ll have very few dishes to deal with afterwards.

The two things to remember for this recipe is

1. Don’t use your hands! and

2. Top up cup measure to 3/4 with cold water AFTER you’ve already got the egg and vinegar in the cup.

Enjoy your pie everyone 🙂

I’ll put up a link later to my apple pie recipe–and that’s one that I got from meshing up several recipes together! It’s delicious.

EDIT: Part 1 of 2 of my Pumpkin Pie Recipe, Part 2 of 2 (To come), Apple Pie Recipe (To come)

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Uh, 13 Doodle, We have a Code Brown in Balsam

My job this past summer was working as a Maintenance Worker at Grundy Lake.

I wasn’t the person who would direct you to your site.

I wasn’t the person who helped you change sites and sold you firewood.

I wasn’t the person who put on the nature shows, telling you about bears, and bugs, and what’s what about nature.

I didn’t guide you through any of the free trails Grundy has to offer, pointing out interesting things along the way.

I wasn’t the person who told you to quiet down from partying at midnight.

I wasn’t the person who told you you have to leave your site at 2, and do you realize it’s 2:30?

I wasn’t the person who you called to deal with your noisy neighbours, who also happened to be cutting branches from the forest for their fire.

I wasn’t any of these people, but I was the person who made sure you would want to come back.

I was the person who kept the main attraction clean.

Yes, I do mean that I made sure that branches weren’t overgrowing the roads and the sites.

Yes, I do mean that I mowed grass and trimmed the trails.

Yes, I do mean that I clipped back those prickly bushes from by the parking lots, and around your site.

But when I say that I keep the main attraction clean, I do not mean nature.

I mean the toilets.

You might say I deal with the real ‘business’ of maintaining the Park.

You may laugh, scoff at the idea that the toilets are the main attraction, but would you be so willing to go camping if the only option while camping with a little more than 100 other campers (in your AREA) was a couple of thunder boxes?

This is a hole, dug approx. 6 feet into the ground, with a box with a hole in it set on top. Bring your own toilet paper, and a flashlight if it's dark.

Grundy is known for it’s privacy ratings, but we can’t exactly make this private… every once in a while we have to go and fill in the hole, dig another one a little ways off, and put the box back on top. Putting another box, or some other kind of privacy thing around it wouldn’t work.

Yes, While the back-country sites have thunderboxes, their excuse is that they are for the people who want to go roughing it. That is for the people who want to canoe across the lake with their suff, and set up tents where they can find flat places. I think there are about 4 or 5 backcountry sites in Grundy… We don’ have to go there and clip it back, we leave that to the Rangers close to the area (Ontario Parks Rangers, a summer job for people who are turning 17 the year they sign up for it, free room and board and food, minimum wage.)

For everyone else, there are the outhouses.

We clean the outhouses.

We clean them every day.

We sweep them out, get rid of webs, wipe down the seats (with cleaning spray and a rag) to each and every set of outhouses.

There are 36 sets, I believe, in Grundy.

3 of those sets are set up as one side of one outhouse is mens, and the other is women’s.

The rest have two outhouses at each spot, which means that there are 66 individual outhouses that two Maintenance workers clean.

Every day.

 

This is what one Grundy Lake outhouse looks like. Right next to it, another would be set up, but for girls. Singles would be one of these buildings, with one gender for each door.

We also paint these when the paint starts getting cracked… I think I painted about 6 sets of outhouses this past summer. My coworkers complained about t, but I liked painting them. It used up time, and I like painting in general.

The inside looks like this... But this summer we painted the insides cream rather than green.

The toilets at Grundy actually flush as well, which was nice until I realized that it means that It can also get clogged.

Ladies flushing pads, and moms (and dads too) flush diapers… Why YES it’s the perfect size to go down that hole, now lets flush it… oh, right, that adds water and makes it expand! Oh gosh, it’s clogged!

What a surprise.

Really.

Anyway, while working, we drive around in the MNR trucks, and when we get radio calls (all students were 13 _your name_, and if you were calling someone, lets say their code name was 3-4, you would say “3-4 read 13 _your name_” and end with “13 clear”. Calls for you from this person would be “13_your name_ read 3-4” ), and one of the most common were for Code Browns.

Can you guess what it is?

Well, it’s when someone misses in a big way.

I figure that some of these people are holding themselves up while taking a dump, otherwise how did they get it all over the seat? On the floor? On the walls? (methinks this last one is some REALLY upset stomach)

I’m certain some kids think it’s funny to poop in awkward places, because I found a present behind one of the toilets once.

Yeah. my pictures look kind of unreal, and not really appropriate… also, for the majority, I haven’t had my camera, and even though I’ve been blogging for  while now, I still haven’t gotten to the point here I can see poop n the floor and splattered on the walls and think “Hey, I should get a picture of that.”

For the really bad ones we use a pressure washer (water tank in back of truck), but otherwise use a ‘bunny tail’.

This is a Bunny tail. No rabbits were harmed for the use of this.

Yeah. Bunny Tail is how I was introduced to it.

It’s gross, and there’s a lot of groaning about it, but we do it.

There are risks.

The nauseating smell, the campers who complain in he first place, the risk of a backwash of ‘shit-mist’ from the pressure-washer (hide behind door is the preferred method), along with the feeling of “Oh, nooooooo!” when the pressure washer runs out of gas and you have to leave the Scene of the Crime to get more….

But we do it.

Because we are the Maintenance workers.

We wear our coveralls with pride.

We clomp in our Steel-toed boots knowing that we’ve done a job-well-done.

While in our trucks, we still wave to campers, even knowing that there’s a certain percentage of assholes out there among you who we will have to deal with, them and their shit, and are happy when people wave back.

Yes, we wonder if the reason you smiled so widely is because you know we have to go clean up the smear you left behind, or if perhaps its because you’re happy that that Code Red (only on the female side, guess what it is) will soon be cleaned up, but we wave and smile anyway. (P.S. we are actually required to wave in the beginning, but after a week or so you get used to it and do it intentionally)

No, we are not Gate workers, we are not Naturalists, we are not Park Wardens.

We are Maintenance workers.

We clean up your shit.