by Tara Pederson
The first pies were lined with and cooked in reeds, whose sole purpose was to hold the filling together, and not at all to be eaten. Can you imagine?
Later pies were fillings encased in a flour paste, or in the form of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes called galettes consisting of ground oats, wheat, rye, or barley containing honey inside.
As they made their way into European cuisine, they were predominantly filled with meat, and were more crust (called coffyn) than filling.
Pie has become more refined with each wave of time, especially here in the U.S., where so many immigrant influences have contributed over time.
I have fond memories of picking huckleberries with my grandmother. She had a cackling laugh, and a keen eye for every last tiny, ripe one. When we had a big bowl full, she would freeze some, and make a pie with the rest.
Let me just say, I am a pie kinda girl, and those were my very favorite of all pies.
This week I leapt at the chance to make use of some local beauties gifted to me from a friend. Just opening the bag took me back to the Marion County woods and Grandma’s kitchen…
I don’t care what any newfangled recipes may say, it takes lots of butter to make a great pie crust. And in my book, nothing compares to local huckleberries.
Today I give you my go-to pie crust recipe. While there’s nothing wrong with the different techniques out there, this one is simple, tried and true, and the tastiest around. It can be used for both sweet and savory applications, added to to fit your preferences and it freezes like a dream.
For sweet you can add cinnamon and sprinkle it with sugar if you like. For savory, add some herbs or garlic to the mix.
The recipe: cut 1 stick of butter into small pieces. Add 2.5 cups all purpose flour, and using your fingers, rub the 2 together, creating a sandblast texture throughout about half the mixture. Smash some of the flour coasted butter pieces between your palms, flattening them, and leaves them that way. Slowly add cold water (iced is not necessary) to the mixture, 2 or 3 tbsp at a time, and stir until you have a firm ball.
It should be just a little stickier than you think, because you will add flour to it as you roll it out. Wrap it in plastic film and freeze it for at least 1 hour before rolling. It can store for 3-4 months frozen.