Crusts are not easy to get right, and I’ve been trying to match my Mom’s perfect pie crust for years with no success. It’s delicious and flaky and so good that I actually want to eat the sweet curve of crust left on the plate when the pie is gone.
Her secret, besides the traditional dash of love, is Tenderflake lard. It’s a Canadian thing, and I’ve never found it here in the States, which makes me sad. Can someone ship me some lard, please? I did try using a different brand of lard here, but it was all wrong and I couldn’t even roll out the dough because it was so sticky. Oh, how I sobbed that day, rolling pin hanging from my dejected hands as I stood, flour-dusted, by the sad lump of goo on my kitchen counter.
Crisco does a decent job in a pie crust. I’ve used it a few times now and it passes for edible, and I can make it work, but it’s not a crust you’d want to eat on its own. At least not when I make it. I get a good shell to keep the pie filling in place, and that’s about it. So sad.
I’ve also used refrigerated Pillsbury pie crusts in a pinch, and they’re almost identical to the Crisco ones, but with a lot less work, so I’m a big fan. Yeah, it’s cheating, but it results in faster pie.
This week, when I went grocery shopping, I picked up some refrigerated pie crusts. Feeling a little cheap, I decided to save 23 cents by buying the Giant store brand instead of the fancy Pillsbury stuff. Some things are just as good in generic form, and some are horrible, but I’m learning where I can cut corners to save a little… as it turns out, this is a situation where being cheap paid off.
I cut out the circles necessary for the pot pies I was making, and saw that I had leftover crust. Why waste crust? I spread some butter, sugar, and cinnamon on the remnants and popped them into the oven on a cookie sheet just for the hell of it. 15 minutes later they were golden and tasty-looking, and I found myself taking a bite far before they were cool enough to comfortably do so. Golden pastry has that effect on me. It was flaky. It was delicious.
It was Mom’s pie crust.
I don’t think I could have told them apart in a blind taste test.
I ran to the fridge, huffing and puffing not from exertion but from the pain of having a second much-too-hot wedge of sugary crust stuffed in my mouth, and checked the ingredient list on the box. Lard. Sweet, sweet lard. I almost died. I called my Mom to tell her. Really.
I think I will buy a dozen of these and keep them in my freezer, because if they are discontinued I will die.