It is in the cooler weather that I enjoy cooking things in the oven. The fragrance of pies, cakes, cookies, stews, roasts, even a simple baked potato (yes, they are better in the oven than the microwave) - the list goes on and on and each in its own way makes the house smell wonderful.
"Easy" Pie Crust:
For a bottom crust (double recipe for top & bottom)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (a butter and lard mix works best)
Ice cold water
Sift flour and salt.
Blend in shortening until there is no loose flour left in bowl.
Add 3 tablespoons of cold water, mix until water is absorbed.
You may need to add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of water, add each spoonful slowly, mixing well after each. (I usually add 5 tablespoons.)
Handle the dough as little as possible.
Place ball of dough on floured surface. I work with a piece of freezer paper under everything and then roll out the dough on the freezer paper - makes for an easy clean up.
Roll. (Sprinkle flour on your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to it.)
Place in 8 or 9 inch pie pan.
Follow directions with pie recipe on cooking the crust. Usually with cream pies you cook the crust first, and with all others you cook the crust as the pie cooks.
The pears were bought three days ago, I wanted to make sure they were ripe. Peeled, sliced, and covered with a three tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and a few dashes of ground ginger and cinnamon. I was going to try fresh ginger but forgot to buy some, so I just went with the powdered spice. These waited patiently for me in the bowl while I made the crust.
Before dumping the fruit into the crust I added:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
(It was about here that I remembered to preheat the oven - so I turned on the oven about 5 minutes before I put the pie in (I'm telling you this so you can see that even if you don't do everything 'perfect' you can still make a pretty good pie). When I remember, I like to preheat the oven for about 15 minutes.)
I mixed all this up and poured into the pie crust, then I took a heaping tablespoon of butter and dabbed it across the top of all this.
I only made 'one' pie crust, rolled it thin, and then pulled the edges up. Somewhere I've seen this called 'rustic.' I like that. I'm using all the dough and this is an easy finish.
I sprinkled a little sugar and cinnamon on the top. Then popped it in the oven - 425F for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes it was bubbly on top with just a little brown on the edges... Perfect.
I took it out of the oven to cool. After dinner, Mr. J&C and I each enjoyed a slice with a little vanilla ice cream.
We didn't eat it all. I have plans to have some with my breakfast coffee.. and maybe with my afternoon tea....