Pies have always seemed so labor intensive to me. Because of that I have always leaned towards cobblers, clafloutis and other deserts. Now that I have an apple orchard and many different kinds of berries I felt it was time to explore the world of pies.
I started by pulling out all my baking text books to learn about pie crusts. For me, I think a double crust pies are about the crust to fruit or filling ratio. Think about it, if you have a heaping amount of fruit with a thin crust you may has well have saved the effort and made a cobbler. The other things to consider are flakey, mealy or short dough. I happen to think mealy. Why because it cuts better and in general seems more tender to me. Lastly, to get this crust to filling ratio, I think the pie needs to be baked in an 8 inch tin that is styled after, or just use, the foil pie tins. A couple of reasons, once again it is shallow so the fruit doesn’t overwhelm the crust and vice versa and, finally, because the rim is the proper rim for crimping the crust or even a rope roll like an empanada might have. There is also no reason to refrigerate the dough as long as you roll it out right away.
In this crust I use a non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening because for me, unless I am going to use lard, it is the only way to get the right texture and rise to the crust. Yes, the crust needs to rise just a little like a biscuit. If it does this than it will be tender, yummy and delicious just like grandma used to make. *This pie is based loosely on the idea of a Fig Newton and as such should be eaten with coffee for breakfast or as an after dinner dessert served with a nice sherry. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld
Using a combo of butter and shortening produces a tender and flakey crust. And making it with frozen butter in the food processor is a snap. The lovely, smooth filling is a wonderful step up from plain, old apple pie. - Stephanie —The Editors