Eckert's Family Best Pie Crust

pie_crust
pie_crust

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching which means PIE SEASON will soon be here! In our Belleville Country Store, we bake close to 9000 pies prior to Thanksgiving in our Ferris-wheel-style convection oven. It runs 24 hours a day leading up to Thanksgiving. All this thinking about pie season puts me in the mood to make the Eckert Family Best Pie Crust recipe. I made 2 batches this week, shaped the pie dough into their future baking pans, tightly wrapped them in plastic bags and placed them in the freezer. When I am ready to make my pies for Thanksgiving week, I will be a step ahead of the game!

If this is your first time to make pie dough, there are a few tips about dough making that will ensure your success. First, let’s talk LARD. If you do some searching on line for the “best pie crust,” you will find a plethora of recommendations using butter, shortening (like Crisco brand), lard and various combinations of the three. The opinions are diverse but I go back to what Grandma Eckert and Grandma Boeker did well. Both were great bakers who lived into their 90’s. They both made delicious pies with lard. I think they were ahead of their time and knew that lard wasn't all that bad!

In fact, lard has 20% less saturated fat than butter. Our grandmas also probably had a hunch that lard has none of the transfats found in shortening. I am not suggesting that lard is healthy, but I am suggesting that lard is worth considering beyond the fact that it produces the flakiest of crusts.  If you haven’t tried making a pie crust with lard, please give it a try. You will be blown away by the superior texture of the pie crust.

Secondly, take your time! Pie dough takes a level of focus I don’t always have. Take your time to mix the lard into the dough before adding water. Add the ice water slowly and only add enough to allow the ball of dough to stick together. Be sure to refrigerated the pie dough before you roll it out or you will literally have a mess on your hands. Taking your time on these steps will result in perfect pie dough.

Not enough time to make pie crust from scratch this year? Don’t worry, Eckert’s sells premade pie shells made with lard of course! Rest easy, they are Grandma-approved too.

Eat well this Holiday Season, Angie

Want to see more tips on the perfect pie crust: Catch me on Show-Me St. Louis Tuesday, November 18th at 10 am on KSDK Channel 5!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp table salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. pure lard
  • 7-10 Tbs. ice water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, gently combine flour and salt. Add spoonfuls of lard and work to combine with fingertips or pastry blender. Blend until mixture sticks together in tiny, pea-sized particles. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time until the mixture can be formed into a ball. Divide dough in half and wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Roll out each ball separately on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. (the dough should be 1/8” thick and approximately 13” in diameter. Transfer dough to a pie pan. Trim to fit pan and flute as desired. Makes 2 crusts