PASTRY (No Fail)

Step by step tips for making the perfect pastry. Makes double crust pie.

1 Egg 1
1 tbsp Vinegar 15 mL
2 Ice cubes 2
3 cups Flour 750 mL
1 cup Lard or solid shortening 250 g
1 tsp Salt 5 mL
1/2 tsp Sugar 2 mL
Pinch Baking soda Pinch

Break an egg into a measuring cup, beat lightly with a fork. Add vinegar, 2 ice cubes and fill with cold water to the 2/3 cup [150 mL] mark. Mix together, let stand until ready to use.

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, soda and sugar. Cut in lard or shortening, then mix by hand until mixture resembles coarse meal. It is all right to leave a few pieces about the size of tiny peas.

Sprinkle half the liquid all over the flour mixture, mixing lightly with a fork. Keep adding liquid (no ice cubes) until dough begins to hold together.

Turn the mixture out onto a large work surface and with your hands push the mixture together to form a ball. Note: If the dough is too dry to hold together, do not knead it, but replace it in the bowl, cut it into small pieces with a knife, add a few more drops of water, and then stir again.

Divide into two balls, flatten slightly, smooth the edges, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Pastry can be frozen for a month. If it has been refrigerated overnight let it stand at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before rolling it out.

Rolling out the dough Rub flour on rolling pin. Place flattened ball on a lightly floured surface and roll dough from center to edge, forming a circle. If the edges crack slightly, pinch them together before the cracks become deep. If the dough cracks anywhere other than on the edges, do not reroll the dough, simply cut off uneven edges and use the scraps as patches. Moisten the edges of the patch with water, turn the patch upside down, and press it firmly into place. Reflour the rolling pin if necessary. Roll the dough into a circle 12 or 13 inches in diameter, thickness all over of about 1/8 inch.

To transfer the dough to pie plate, fold it in half and lift it over the plate. With your fingers ease the sides down into the plate, being careful to avoid stretching pastry or it will shrink during baking.

For Single-Crust Pie With scissors trim pastry leaving 1/2 inch overhang beyond the pie plate rim. Fold overhang edges up making a rope-shaped, or pinched scalloped edge. Prick bottom and sides with a fork. To keep pastry in place during baking, line pastry with foil (do not fold foil over the rim, let them stand up. Fill about 3/4 full with dry beans. Bake in 450°F [230°C] for 5 minutes. Remove beans and foil; bake for 5 to 7 minutes more or till golden.

For Double-Crust Pie Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate. For top crust cut slits for escape of steam. Place desired filling in pie. Top with top crust. Trim top crust 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold extra pastry under bottom crust; flute edge. Using pastry brush , brush pastry with some milk; sprinkle with a little sugar, if desired. To prevent over browning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake as directed in pie recipe. Remove foil after about half the baking time to allow crust to brown.

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