Crisco Pie Crust
— 3 cups flour
— 1 level teaspoon of salt
— 6–7 tablespoons of ice water. Have a bowl of water with ice cubes handy.
— 1 1/4 cups Crisco. Keep refrigerated for at least two hours before combining. For a flaky crust, the Crisco must be chilled — ideally to a temperature around 68º.
Sift the salt and flour together in a large bowl, then work the cold Crisco into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until it’s “pea-size” and crumbly. A tablespoon at a time, add the cold water and knead well until the mixture comes together to form a nice, firm, dough ball. (If it sticks to your hands, it’s too wet. Just add a little flour and continue to knead until elastic.)
Cut the dough in half with a knife or scraper, and form each half into a ball. Wrap one ball in plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator.
Place the other ball between two sheets of Saran Wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper. Press this dough ball down with the heel of your hand, then gently roll out the ball with a flour-dusted rolling pin. You want a nice round shape, about 1 1/2 inches wider than your pie plate, so keep turning until the dough is about 1/8-inch thick. (Later, you’ll do this with the other ball for the top crust.)
Peel off the top layer of wrap, turn the pie plate over the dough so the bottom side is up. Holding the wrap with the fingers of one hand, flip the pie plate and so the dough sets in the plate. Center the dough and peel off the wrap. Press out any tears.
Trim the dough so it’s evenly 1 1/2-inches over the plate’s rim. Save the trimmings. If you are making a top crust or lattice crust, see below. If you are making an open-faced apple pie, fold over the excess inward and pinch the dough around the rim with your fingers to form a pleasing crust. (You can also use a fork or the tip of a teaspoon, but wet it slightly to avoid sticking.)
With a fork, pierce the dough on the bottom of the pie plate — six or seven times will do it. Bake in a preheated 425º oven for 10 minutes just to give it a little head-start, but do not brown. NOTE: You will not pre-bake the pie crust if you are adding a top or lattice crust.
Take out of the oven and let it cool while you prepare the apple mixture.
— 6–7 cups cored, skinned, and very thinly sliced tart apples, about 3 lbs. You want a nice, firm apple, such as Grandma’s favorite Braeburn, or Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Cortland, Rome, Granny Smith, Jonathan, or Honey Crisp.
— The juice and zest of a large lemon
— 1 cup granulated sugar
— 2 Tablespoons flour
— ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
— dash of nutmeg
— 3 Tablespoons butter, cubed
Pour the lemon juice and zest in a 2-gallon ziploc bag.
Add the apple slices, seal the bag, and gently turn over until each slice is coated.
Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl or 2-cup oven-safe measuring pitcher.
Open the ziploc bag, pour in the sugar mixture, seal and once again gently turn the slices over until each is fully coated.
Going clockwise, arrange a layer of apple slices in the unbaked pie crust so the rounded side lays slightly on top of the next. Dot with a few butter cubes. Repeat until all the apples are used.
Take the remaining sugar mixture and dust over the apples.
For an open-faced pie: Place a piece of aluminum foil over the pie so that it barely touches the apples. Set the pie in a preheated 425º oven for 20 minutes, remove the foil, and bake 30 minutes longer, until the apples are bubbling and the crust is lightly brown.
For a top-crust: Roll out the second crust as you did the first. Lay it on top of the apples and trim to match the overage. Pinch the two crusts together as above to make a pleasing crust. Take the excess dough and cut out little leaves, using a knife to make “veins” and set with an egg wash. Then brush egg wash with a pastry brush over the entire crust.
For a lattice crust: Cut the second crust in strips and thread into a basketweave. Decorate and wash as you would the top crust. Follow the baking and serving directions for the open-faced pie.
Take the pie out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Serve with clotted cream or a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream. Drizzle a little salted caramel sauce over the ice cream.