Easy and Very Easy Pastry Crusts

very full recipe box

It’s another entry from my dead mom’s recipe book. This note card has a separate recipe for pastry crust on each side. The card is water damaged, but my will do my best to decipher my mother’s blurred handwriting. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Easy pie crust recipe on index card

Pastry Crust (Easy)

  • 2c unbleached flour
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 3/4c butter
  • lemon juice
  • 3T cold water

Mix flour, salt, sugar
Cut in butter
Sprinkle w lemon juice + iced water
Chill before rolling

very easy pie crust recipe on index cardPastry Crust (very easy)

  • 2c flour
  • 2/3 c butter
  • salt (pinch)
  • 1T sugar

mix flour, sugar, salt
cut in butter
work in ball
press into buttered pie dish

bake 10 min 450, fill, finish baking

I’m trying to make every recipe in the box that is vegetarian. These pie crusts don’t have lard, so they qualify. I selected the “very easy” pie crust because I was feeling overwhelmed with life and didn’t want to put a lot of thought into the project. The only embellishment was using a jar of pastry flour I happened to have. Also, I chilled the ball of dough for half an hour-ish because I forgot to preheat the oven and hadn’t yet begun to peel and chop apples to make the filling. I don’t bake very much. I was impressed to discover I owned those pastry blender tools.

Last December, my artist and writer friend Tessa Hulls lost her friend Chelsea Faith Dolan in the Oakland Ghost Ship Fire. On Facebook, Tessa said, “In honor of Chelsea, I’m going to reply to every commenter on this post by saying something that I remember/value about you. Tell your friends you love them, dammit!”

For me she said, “I will always remember that you were the first person who ever taught me how to make a pie crust! I remember us being in [the college dorm], and thinking that your ability to make a pie crust without measure was some serious next level shit. Pie was, oddly enough, the snowball that led to me becoming a professional chef, which is in many ways the lynchpin of how my weird seasonal life word—so thank you for inadvertently setting me on the course to my future, and thank you for your condolences.”

I taught her how to make a pie crust? I did make a few pies while I was in college. I think they were usually the press-in-pan crusts like my mother’s “very easy” pie crust. My pies were ugly. As long as the pie tasted good, I didn’t care very much about the presentation. I didn’t think it mattered until I took my ugly pie to Thanksgiving and sat it down next to a beautiful apple pie decorated with pastry leaves. I tried a slice of the pretty pie. It was so boring and bland I didn’t finish the slice. Nobody ate my pie. My pie tasted amazing. I’m very good at making pie filling.

Tessa’s pies are worth pictures and I’m absolutely sure they taste just as good. Comparing myself to Tessa will never do anything good for me. I don’t know if there is anything Tessa is bad at.

Last year, I promised Tessa I would make a pie for my family that holiday season in honor of her friend Chelsea. I didn’t. I don’t remember the last time I made a pie, and when I did, I’m pretty sure I used a store-bought crust because I don’t have any confidence in my ability to roll out dough.

So I made this pie in memory of two dead people, Chelsea Faith Dolan and my first mother.

I burned it. I baked it for fewer than 45 minutes and still burned it. Not just the topping. The crust was also burned.

But the pie tasted amazing. My roommate raved about it. The crust was similar to shortbread, and while that’s not appropriate for a pastry crust, it’s enjoyable. I’m still very good at fillings.