It was the first Thanksgiving I was going to attempt to make pie, and it was going to be the first pie I ever attempted to bake. I must have been like 9 or 10 at the time and I was going to make pecan pie. I don’t even remember if I liked pecan pie at that point in my life. Or if I had ever even had pecan pie before. But I was going to bake one because that’s what my family requested that year.
I didn’t know what I was doing. In a last minute shopping trip, I ended up grabbing pre-made pie crust from the frozen food section, and then frantically searching for all the ingredients listed in a recipe on the back of a bottle of Karo’s syrup I found in the baking isle. I had no idea what corn syrup was or why it looked so different from corn on the cob. I was still confused as I poured a soupy mess of beaten eggs, corn syrup, and melted butter into the raw pie shell–bewildered how this was all supposed to come together in a nice little slice of heaven. I was amazed when I took it out of the oven, toasted pecans nicely nestled in a golden brown crust.
I remember tasting my slice of pie that night and thinking it was so sweet it made my teeth hurt. And I wondered why the store-bought dough was so salty. Pies are supposed to be sweet, aren’t they? But making that pie was magical. How the ingredients all came together and underwent a transformation into this sweet, buttery, nutty dessert. I was hooked on pies. By the next Thanksgiving, I was making my own pie crusts from scratch and reducing the amount of sugar in any pie that I baked.
My pie crusts have since evolved over the years to incorporate a hybrid of whole wheat flour and regular all-purpose flour. I like the earthier and more complex flavor the whole wheat flour adds, though it does sometimes make the dough more crumbly and harder to work with. But it’s worth the extra effort, especially since the food processor is doing most of the work anyway. I’ve used this for a variety of fruit pies as well as galettes and mini-pies. Enjoy!
Recipe for Pie Crust
This recipe makes enough dough for 2 pies, or a top and bottom crust for a single pie.
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups cold, unsweetened butter, cut into chunks (and refrigerated again)
- 4 tbsp ice water or fruit juice
Place flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over the flour, then pulse until mixture resembles a course meal. Sprinkle with water and process until dough starts to come together, but NOT until it forms a ball. Remove from food processor and press mixture together. Form 2 disks and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking.