Pie Crust Tips

Just before the holidays begin in earnest, here are a few more tips to get you thinking about saving money and eating better by making your own pie crusts.

Pie Crust Recipes:
First, check out Myrna’s recipe and tutorial for pie crust making.  Practice, practice, practice.  Your family will love to try your efforts, even if they are not prize-winning at first.  Try freezer pie crusts if you have more pies to bake.

Make crusts for mini muffin or muffin pans from pie-making scraps.  Store in the freezer until you’ve accumulated enough for a pan of mini tarts.  Bake and fill with cooked fillings, or make pecan or pumpkin pie filling or quiche and bake after filling.
Use a cookie cutter to cut muffin pan crusts:
-3” for mini muffin pans and 4 1/4 “ for regular muffin pans
-Store them on a small paper plate with double sheets of waxed paper between the layers; put in a plastic bag, plate and all, and freeze.  You may want to freeze them on a cookie sheet first, then stack and store.
-Let them thaw by placing on the back side of the pan; they will shape themselves.  If you plan to fill after baking, bake them on the backs of the pan as well.
3 or 4” squares also can be used for filling for little “hand-pies” to be baked - smaller sizes make appetizers.
-Scraps can be cut with decorative cookie cutters and saved for decorating future pies.  Overlap the decorative cutouts on top of the pie, leaving some holes, and substitute for lattice crusts.
-Top pie filling in custard cups with small scraps to fit. 
Pie crust toppings:
-Brush the top of your 2 crust pie with a little milk or cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar and cinnamon or nutmeg if desired.
-You can glaze the 2 crust  baked pie thinly with powdered sugar and milk glaze after it cools a little.
Pie Crust Tools:
You'll notice the Myrna and I both use plastic rolling pins; her yellow one is 50 years old, mine is a more recent OXO one that I had to replace my 40 year-old German wooden one with.  We both find the plastic is very good for crusts.  I also like a plastic cutting mat - this one is from Danesco. Many newer pastry mats don't stand up to cutting, this one does.   Myrna has a nice old cutting board, I have a newer one that I like too.  Ateco sells a variety of nice cutter sets in their own tins; the set in the photo has cutters up to 4 1/2".  I like a shaker for flour; this one has a plastic storage cover, I keep it out in my baking area all the time, for pastry, noodles and bread.

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