The pie crust is the most time-consuming part of making delicious pies, and years ago I found a short-cut to making the pie crusts. That is, to make up a mix for 6 double-crusts or 12 single-crusts at a time, and store the bags of mix in the freezer. That way, when it comes to making a pie, half of the work is already done. I've combined a few ideas, and have come up with my own version of a pie crust mix recipe - one that I have used for many years.
Pie Crust Mix
12 cups flour (I use 6 cups unbleached white flour and 6 cups whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tablespoons salt
4 cups lard
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. With a pastry blender, cut in lard until evenly distributed. Mixture will resemble cornmeal in texture.
Put about 2 1/2 cups mixture each into 6 freezer bags. Store in freezer, and use within 12 months.
Yield: pie crusts for 6 double-crust pies, or 12 single-crust pies. (Each bag will make one double-crust pie, or two single-crust pies.)
Instructions for using pie crust mix:
2 1/2 cups pie crust mix, thawed
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Put mix in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine ice water, egg and vinegar. Sprinkle a spoonful of water mixture at a time over the pie crust mix, and toss with a fork until the dough barely clings together in a bowl. (You may not need to use all the liquid mixture.) Divide into two portions. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface. (Hopefully the photos below will help with these instructions.) Then follow the directions for the pie recipe you are making.
For a single-crust pie - trim, leaving the dough slightly wider than the edge of the pie plate, fold the dough under a bit at the edge, and then flute.
In the photos below, you see the pumpkin pies I made last Thanksgiving, using the pie crust mix. And just last week, I took some time to put some apple pies in the freezer (and plan to do even more, as our apple tree did so well this year). It was so handy to be able to pull the pie crust bags out of the freezer, and then proceed with rolling them out, filling them with apple filling, putting another pie crust layer on top, and then ... putting them back into the freezer to use in the months ahead.
(Please let me know if you have questions, or comments, as it's difficult to describe the steps to make pie crust!)
Note: In response to a question in the comments - the original Pie Crust Mix recipe that I tweaked mine from used shortening instead of lard. The proportions for the mix ingredients were: 12 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons salt, and 5 cups vegetable shortening. I use lard as it is my preference for a light, flaky crust - but thought I would share this added info for those who prefer shortening. Freezing the mix should work just as well with shortening as with lard.
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