With everyone stuck and home, we have a lot of baking going on. We stocked up on flour and other baking essentials before SHTF with a few weeks ago and since have been baking all of our own breads and such to help cut the overall cost of feeding our family and keep everyone fed with fewer trips to the store where stock is limited.
This meant that I have time on my hands to show people the basic skills we used to survive when we were living in poverty. Today I am going to teach you how to make a pie crust.
Knowing how to make filling foods from scratch using pantry staples is a great way to survive a recession or depression, like the great depression. We will likely all be learning to go back to our roots and take advantage of basics like saving bacon grease and baking our own bread.
How to make a pie crust
Making pie crust is easy. You only need a few simple ingredients. A solid fat, salt, flour, and a little water. The tricks is you want to use a fat that can get hard when cold. This will give you a flaky crust. You can use my favorite fresh butter frozen, ghee, shortening, and even bacon grease for making your own pie crust. I prefer a stick of butter from my freezer stash for the best flavor.
Butter pie crust recipe
I prefer to use butter but will give you directions for other options below. For this butter pie crust recipe, you will need:
- 1 Stick cold butter (frozen butter is best)
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 tablespoons ice-cold water
How to make a pie crust
Start by taking a chef knife and dicing up your frozen butter into small its and pieces. This will make it easier to incorporate.
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. If you have salted butter leave the salt out.
Toss the butter into the flour, you can use a pastry cutter. If you don’t have one cutting in with a knife are mashing with your fingers will do the trick. If the butter starts to get warm just toss the whole thing in the freezer for a few minutes.
Once your mixture is like play sand you are ready to add the water. Add ice-cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a smooth dough you can roll out.
If your crust has gotten warm toss it in the refrigerator to chill for a hour or so before rolling out. The trick to a flaky crust is to keep it cold.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface with a large rolling pin until slightly larger than the size of your pie pan. About 12-13 inches around will do the trick. Place rolled crust into a 9-inch pie pan or 9 inch cast iron skillet.
How to make a pie crust without butter
Now I know not everyone has butter available in there freezer. Last week we had to go hunt store to store to find more butter with all of my baking. I love making cookies like these butter rum chocolate chip cookies. The good news is there are other ways to make a pie crust.
How to make a pie crust with shortening.
Place 1/2 cup shortening on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or plastic wrap. A thin later will make it freeze better. One frozen remove and chop up before completing the same instructions as above for the butter pie crust.
How to use ghee in a pie crust.
Ghee or clarified butter is great for storing in your pantry for cooking should you run out of butter. Because it is shelf-stable it is far too soft for making a pie crust. The good news is that just like softened butter it will turn solid in the freezer.
Place 1/2 cup ghee in a shallow bowl lined with plastic wrap. Freeze until solid. Lift the wrap up out of the bowl. Chop the frozen ghee and repeat the same process as the butter pie crust above.
I like to stock Ghee when it goes on sale at my local Aldi. No one buys it so it is easy to find. Ghee is a great addition to a well-stocked pantry.
How to make pie crust with bacon grease
While bacon grease will change the flavor of your crust it will work for dishes like quashes where the savory smoky addition is welcome. The trick for using bacon grease is to put small bits of cooled grease onto a lined cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Then simply chop the frozen bacon grease and follow the same method as above for the butter pie crust.
To lessen the bacon flavor after you have a full jar of bacon grease melt the jar down allowing any bits of bacon to slowly drift to the bottom. Then remove the uncontaminated bacon grease and place in a fresh jar. The remaining bits of bacon make a great addition to your dog’s food bowl in moderation.
Bacon grease has many uses and is great for saving. We have been saving the bacon grease and using to care for our cast iron and cook with for years. It is one of our favorite frugal kitchen tricks that helps us get the most for our money.