In my forty plus years of cooking, with some of the most difficult-to- master-cuisines, my stark conclusion is Pie Dough is the toughest to master. The reason for this is it requires a finesse that took me years to master, in knowing exactly how much to handle the dough at each stage of the process. It took almost this same instinctual precision in raising my two teenage boys.
As we know when you have a boy they are inherently born with approximately 1 million words and they gradually working with only the last remnants of this given vocabulary in their teenage years. Grunts and uhh’s along with”Where’s the Bacon” is the staple of their lexicon.
4 cups Flour
2 tsps Salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 3/4 Butter Crisco
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp vinegar
In the first phase of pie dough you throw all the dry ingredients together, then cut in the Crisco. That is what most recipes say. Actually what’s better is to get your hands dirty and mix with your fingers so that it resembles coarse meal. (Those of us who have raised children know that it is a dirty business at times and seems very messy.)
The second phase-Make a well in the center and then add the liquid ingredients that have been mixed well. Mix these ingredients until you can form the dough into a ball. You have a critical choice at this point- do you want your pie dough to be flaky or cut perfectly without fear of breaking off. Do you want a “looking good for others pie” or one that just has perfect flakiness.To achieve perfect flakiness you handle the dough slightly… Like the time I had to look away when my youngest dyed his hair blond and combed it to one side in his Justin Bieber years. The more you work with the pie dough the less likely it will break when cut.
When boys are teenagers it is such a delicate balance between being there for them when they need you yet not hovering so that they start to feel like they need to go into witness protection to get away from you. Like the dough the relationship will be very tough if you are a constantly getting your hands into their affairs.
The next step is so important…Let the dough Rest. That’s thought to be between the ages of 16 and 25 for boys. Boys need to throw off the maternal protectiveness of the mother figure and become their own men.(I know all this psycho-babble because of twenty years of in therapy with a hot therapist I had a crush on and good insurance.) I call these years the Drive-by Texting Years.
After 2 hours roll the dough on floured surface or between floured parchment paper. The more you have worked the dough the tougher it will be. The good news if you are dissatisfied with your results it has cost less than a dollar and you can start from scratch. Unfortunately raising a child costs 250,000 without college and you can’t start over.