Sunday, January 22, 2012

Easy as Pie

If you have ever heard the expression Easy as Pie and have ever tried actually making a pie then you know it isn't easy
It isn't easy if you want it to look good. 
It isn't easy if you want it to taste good. 
Certainly isn't easy if you want it to be healthy. 
And it ain't easy if you want to do it on a budget (read free).

So in honor of National Pie Day on Monday, here is the saga of my free pie ... 

Farm fresh eggs from Genesee County was a barter trade, powdered buttermilk (swagbucks reward).

Organic canned pumpkin, an Amazon find which worked out to $1.50 per can @ the time (posted on my fb page). I really could smack myself for not ordering two cases because now it's not a buck & half per can. Another Swagbucks reward (read free).

After I opened the can of pumpkin puree I realized I was out of both canned & powdered milk so I went with using a container of the Almond and Cashew cream I had bought to use in my coffee. Very smooth texture with a faint nutty undertone. I also split the difference with what the recipe called for in sugar instead using locally harvested Maple Syrup.

Poor UPS guy deserves a pie.

Still hanging on to my New Year's Resolution #2 - It pays to get lost in the warehouse on Amazon.
I got the last bag marked down to $21.70 I added in an under $5 order on some survival prepps which 

made the entire order free shipping all 25 pounds of grain. 

Subscribe & save has almost as good a deal for $26.35 + free shipping. 

Great River Organic Milling, Organic Whole Grains Soft White Winter Wheat, 25-Pound Package
Grown in America, certified organic, milled in the great state of Wisconsin.

Soft White Winter Wheat is for cakes, pastries, & pie crusts. 

Gotta justify these pies.

Soft Winter Wheat ready for grinding. 

Here's the my basic pie crust recipe a tried & true favorite that can be made ahead of time and frozen. The added ingredients of baking powder, egg, and vinegar make the dough very pliable and forgiving.
Always make sure all equipment has been chilled as well as the flour and shortening.  

  • 5 cups flour 
  • 2 1/2 cups shortening (I use 2 cups of lard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • ice water 
Sift flour, salt, & baking powder together in to a large bowl. Add shortening/lard working in until the mixture resembles an even meal. Shortening should be in small pea sized nuggets through out the flour.
In a cold glass measuring cup whisk egg well add vinegar. Fill cup with ice water to measure 1 cup.
Add liquid to dry ingredients mix thoroughly.

Divide into equally sized balls about the size of a small grapefruit.
Place in individual freezer bags to freeze.

Makes 3 double crust pies or 6 single crusts.

Variations -
Add cinnamon or nutmeg to taste in flour mixture along with 1/4 cup sugar for Apple or Pumpkin pie.
Almond extract whisked in with the liquid along with 1/4 cup sugar for Peach pie.
Substituent one cup of butter instead of shortening or use butter flavored shortening.
Savory herbs such as Sage and Rosemary (sparingly) finely ground mixed into the flour mixture - quiche or meat pies.

~~ pelenaka ~~


  1. Great post. Free is good, right?

    1. There's only I few things I can think of that are few & not good - night in jail, vm from a public health clinic, speeding ticket ...
      Free pie or almost free pie is very good.

  2. Awesome! Free is even better! I bartered 32 lbs of my navel oranges and mandarins for 12 oz of local organic honey, Strawberry Spinach seeds (rare), a 16 oz bag of organic whole roasted coffee beans, and 12 oz of Organic Local cold-pressed Olive Oil! LOVE IT!

    1. That is awesome ... I don't know which is more better, lol that you can grow navel oranges or that you scored such a great deal. I'm so proud!

  3. Miss Pelenaka, have you been to visit Gina's blog and looked at her bread baking entries???

    I especially recommend you look at her whole wheat potato bread recipe. I use that recipe but start it with an overnight sourdough sponge. Next morning I cook and add the potato and also 1/2 cup of ground flax.

    Gina mixes in a Bosch mixer, but I use a no-name stand mixer that constantly amazes me can deal with dough. The most important words gleaned from Gina are "Stop adding flour when the dough begins to pull away from the the pan."

    YES! Sourdough and whole wheat bread dough is much softer and stickier than white flour. When I reach that point above, then let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes to allow water to absorb. Then mix with dough hooks another 5-10 minutes.

    At this point I dump it into a bed of white flour on my table for the final mix and to shape the loaves. The white flour adds little to the bread, but largely kills the sticky nature of whole wheat bread.

    I struggled with my breads for a long time. Gina was the one to offer the right words at the right time to help me get it right.

    Enjoy! And remember, the chickens don't care if they are door stops, they'll eat it all.


  4. Howdy Pelenaka!

    I thought I would share my granny-Mary's No Fail Pie Crust. The merit of it is that it requires very few ingredients -- like those times when the larder is on the small time.

    2 cups sifted all purpose flour
    1/2 cup oil (you can use corn, canola, or the super-light virgin olive oil)
    1/4 cup milk
    1/2 tsp. salt

    You pour the milk and oil in a pocket in the flour without stirring. Then you mix and finally rollout between 2 pcs of waxed paper.

    The downside is that while this makes an okay crust, you trade flakiness for ease and cheapness.

    You might also substitute a little sugar for salt if you are baking a pie instead of a pot pie.

    1. Thank you for this treasured recipe.

  5. Wait. We never get to see the finished pie? Aw, man!


Thanks, good to know there are other's with this interest