Every Thanksgiving, my grandmother and I make two pies: apple and pumpkin. This year I wanted to try something a little different with the apple pie. Much reading and eating has led me to conclude that a great way to get more complex flavors out of an ingredient is to blend varieties. E.g. pureeing butternut and acorn for a more robust squash. Several pie recipes recommended using two fats (I'd always used just one) to achieve a depth of flavor and flakiness for the crust. So after I spotted Karen Barker's Basic Pie Crust at Ed Levine's site, I knew I had one to try.
Folks I am here to report this is THE BEST PIE CRUST EVER!!!!!
As a Former Professional Pie Baker, I have made many many pie crusts, using lard, Crisco, and butter. And Karen Baker's Crisco and butter combination produces the nicest crust I've ever had the pleasure to work with. The magic started long before I ate it. Simply combining the ingredients (she said to use the food processor but I just used my hands), I ended up with a crumbly mixture that pulled together almost instantly when I added a small amount of water. After chilling, I rolled it out and was astounded at how easily and quickly it rolled into a perfect round. No tearing. No breaking or crumbling. It rolled out, I lifted it up, and I put it in the pie pan. After I added some apples, I did the same for the top. Did I say it didn't even break a teeny tiny bit?
I can't really explain how well this crust worked — it was a pleasure it was to make a pie with it! And then the taste: flaky and light, almost melt-in-the-mouth. While I've tasted better crusts in my day (not that this wasn't really good), it was the ease of preparation plus crust flavor that makes this a hands-down winner. I will never use another crust recipe again. And I'm going to be making a lot more pies from now on. No more once-a-year pies for me. More like once-a-week!