Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pumpkin pie with spelt crust

(My first ever pie crust, and the finished pie)
The wife of my favorite farmer is an outstanding baker. A born baker. A baker's baker. She sells not-to-be-believed sourdough spelt bread. (Oh, and I should mention that her husband grows the spelt on his family's centennial heritage farm- they are living the dream.) I picked her brain for some tricks to spelt pie crusts and she had excellent advice. To you bakers out there, none of this advice will likely come as any surprise, but I'm a born pickler. What do I know from baking?

1) sift flour until you think you can sift no more.
2) cut cold fat in slowly, and in stages.
3) add as little liquid as possible.
4) work the dough as little as possible.
5) keep the pastry board well-floured.
6) chill, baby, chill! (the dough, that is)

And she loaned me a few books- crunchy little baking books from the 60's and 70's, when baking with whole grains was in vogue. Most helpful. The recipes do differ from the new recipes that call for all-purpose or white flour. The book I found most helpful is a tiny 1975 publication called "Making Homemade Apple Pies and Crusts" by Phyllis Hobson. Hobson has an amazing variety of crust recipes in this little book. I'd like to find a copy of this book for my own library.

The recipe I followed is this:

Flaky Pastry
3 C Flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 C butter
1/2 C lard
3/4 C ice water

Sift flour and salt together. Add butter and lard and cut with pastry cutter until mixture has texture of small peas. Sprinkle with ice water and mix with fork until dough forms into a ball. Place dough on floured board, sprinkle top with flour, and roll with a rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick. Fold both ends of dough towards the middle, making dough 3 layers thick. Roll again to 1/2 inch thick. Repeat folding process. Chill dough for one hour before rolling for pie.

The crust is spectacular. Though it is not flaky, it is very, very thin; a quality made possible by the leaf lard, and probably, too, my french rolling pin. The crust leaves not a trace of grease in the pie plate, cuts cleanly, and holds it's shape. I'm so glad I finally know how to make a decent crust.

And for the filling? I baked and processed the squash myself, but the rest of the recipe is good old
Libby's. It really is the best recipe for pumpkin pie.

Come Friday, this same crust recipe will become a turkey pot pie. Can't wait for that.


d. moll, l.ac. said...

This is exactly what I'm doing, except I didn't render my own leaf lard, but I do know it is from a pig named Lefty..........

Shellmo said...

I am a pumpkin pie lover too! I can eat anytime of year! Yours looks beautiful and I appreciate the crust recipe!

Rabbits' Guy said...

Holy Moly ... listen. I am flying into GrandRapids at about 745 pm on Friday. Wouldn't it be a nice touch to have a nice warm pot pie there???? And a side slice of the pumkin???

That is some pie! You sure there is not some Photoshoppin' goin on there?

Kateri said...

That is one beautiful crust!

Robbyn said...

Gorgeous crust! (and pie) Could it be made with butter instead of lard?

PJ said...

I'm struck by your similarity to d mal lac's post, both spelt pie crusts. I can't eat pumpkin, does something to my tummy, but love sweet potato pie. Have never heard of leaf lard. Yahoo!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Yes, butternut would have been superior, I had two lovely Sugar Pie pumpkins that wanted to participate !!! I aso have a butternut waiting in the wings....