Homemade Food Gifts are a wonderful way to share the love!
Usually around the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, we often see beautifully photographed articles in my favorite magazines about food and baking gifts you can create to give to friends and family. A popular theme at kitchen showers these days is to share recipes with the Bride-to-be. There are some adorable printable recipe cards online that help you do just that. So in doing my research and wanting to create the perfect blog post for you, I decided to take this idea one step further. To actually create the perfect homemade food gift – it could be a delicious Chocolate Cake, a mouthwatering Cheesecake or a fresh batch of your favorite cookies.
There are so many events where you could share your delicious homemade food gift. Some ideas are:
Holiday Gifts like Christmas
School or Charity Bake Sale
I’m always on the lookout for a unique way to combine my love of baking and creativity to come up with a gift that keeps on giving. By now the word is out – my passion for baking and pies means that family and friends often ask for their favorite pie – and the recipe!
Give The Gift of Pie!
I wanted to share how I wrap a pie as a homemade food gift with you! Kind of like DIY meets Baking!
What is it? Well I bake a pie, place it in a beautiful pie dish or plate, add a pie server, print out the recipe and wrap it all up in a bow – I like to use raffia, it has a homespun, but elegant look.
I usually have a fairly good inventory of pie plates and pie servers since I love to haunt antique shops and flea markets. This is helpful because often you don’t have a lot of time to put a homemade food gift together.
If you know the person receiving the gift, this part is easy, you can put together a pie plate and server fairly easily. But even if you don’t, I typically choose a combination that I really like personally. It hasn’t failed me yet!
Next comes the pie. Again, a bit of thought needs to happen here as to what type of pie you want to give. If the event is close to home, perhaps an elegant lemon meringue – or mousse.
If you need to travel a bit – why not try a delicious chocolate or pecan pie, something with a fairly stable filling, that can be warmed by your host/hostess – or popped into the freezer, so that he or she can enjoy it another day!
Pie crust from your food processor? You are going to love this pie crust recipe! Even if you are a complete newbie, or have had trouble in the past making beautiful, flaky pie crust, HELP IS HERE!
You should know too, that helping people to learn how to make delicious pie crust is kind of a personal mission of mine. I want the whole world to enjoy making pie crust!
Because we all know what happens after you make that perfect pie crust recipe right? You know it. A perfect pie is soon to follow. 🙂
When I was learning pastry making, particularly how to make pie crust, the old tried and true ways always worked for me. I used a handheld pastry blender, taking my time and being careful to fully blend the flour, shortening (or butter), and the rest of the ingredients.
And that’s because I learned my mother’s pie crust recipe and she got it from my grandmother. It appeared to me then, and it still does to this day – to be a labour of love. Mixing pastry dough by hand was just part of the process, and there was a skill to it, you really needed to mix everything in sequence and get the pastry dough to the right texture – to be ready to roll out for pie crust.
But a couple of months ago, when I was trying a new recipe, the instructions included the use of a small food processor. I was amazed and happily surprised at not only how quickly and easily the pastry dough came together, but that the quality of the pastry dough was excellent. I almost laughed out loud at the ease of use, thinking back to my catering days when I would be required to bake 50-60 pies for one event!
Small food processors have become a mainstay in a busy cook’s kitchen. I have had mine for a while, but didn’t really start to use it until recently. And the reason for that is that I am now using my food processor when I mix up my perfect pie crust recipe. Seriously.
There are a number of good brands on the market. You can get them just about anywhere, Walmart, Kitchen Stuff Plus, or Bed Bath & Beyond to name a few. Just make sure the bowl or bin will hold about 8 cups (1.9 litres) – so that you can use your food processor for a variety of uses.
Put the dry ingredients into the bin, put on the lid and pulse for a few seconds, just to blend.
Next take the butter or vegetable shortening and add it to the dry mixture.
I don’t use the chute for this and I cut the shortening/butter into small chunks.
Put the lid back on and pulse until the butter is very finely chopped.
Then add the ice water.
I do use the chute for this.
Pulse away and voila! Pastry dough ready to bake a pie.
It’s that easy and very little, if any messes to clean up.
The easiest perfect pie crust recipe ever. Easy as pie!
Get my free ebook, How To Make Pie Crust the Easy Way, by clicking below!
Are you thinking about hosting a weekend BBQ Party? Maybe you’ve been thinking about it, but worried it will be just too much effort.
Well, with Spring just around the corner, that means that summer is close behind!
I know, who wants to spend the whole weekend cooking to get ready? Or cleaning up afterwards?!
This BBQ Party Planner will not only provide awesome recipes, but your very own shopping, planning and cooking schedule to make it all happen!
So no matter where you are, or your reason to celebrate– these early summer weekends celebrate the coming of summer and getting outdoors. A chance to gather family and friends together and of course, have some really great BBQ! Maybe you really want to get your hygge on this summer?
This weekend BBQ Party Planner is your ticket to a great weekend part, with delicious, easy to prepare food, that will cover appetizers, salad, a main dish and dessert. This menu takes very little time to prepare and serve, leaving lots of time for relaxing, catching up with friends, enjoying cold drinks and time to roast marshmallows around the campfire!
Now remember I’m a Canadian gal, so we celebrate our weekends in style, with lots of BBQ, friends and family, and making s’mores around the campfire. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!
And I’m even including a BBQ party planner prep schedule. Remember I promised time for relaxing and campfires right?
Are you ready to celebrate summer? Then let’s get this party started!
There are lots recipes for pulled pork. Some recommend the pork butt, some the pork shoulder and you can even use pork tenderloin. I like to use the shoulder – you can get a good sized one – around 4-5 pounds, it fits in the average sized slow cooker (3-5 quarts) and is reasonably priced at the butcher or grocery store.
Once your pork shoulder is cooked, and drained, following my recipe, you need a premium BBQ sauce to bring out the flavour of the pork. In our home that means our own special homemade BBQ sauce. So here is the recipe, just for you. It’s so easy to make, you will always want to have lots on hand – for barbecuing any time of the year. The hickory smoke flavour is perfect for pulled pork.
My Mom used to say the secret to the best coleslaw was adding enough onion! Coleslaw can take many forms but the tangy sweetness in this recipe is always great with outdoor BBQ, smoked meat and our slow cooker pulled pork. It comes together in minutes and you can serve it again the next day.
You are going to fall in love with this Buttermilk Chocolate Bundt Cake. We first enjoyed this cake last summer at a Canada Day BBQ! I made a few of my own changes to it, and turned it into a bundt cake. The Hot Water Frosting is something I hadn’t tried before, and this is definitely a one-bowl scratch cake. Yes indeed!
Remember Magic Cookie Bar squares? Some folks call it Seven Layer Cookie Bars. Well I took the recipe and turned it into a dessert pizza! I know, I kind of have a thing for ‘pie-shaped desserts”. Yummm!
How’s that? If you want a pdf of the BBQ Party Planner, just click on the image, ok?
Melt in your mouth, homemade pie crust with buttery flavor.
Perfect Flaky Pie crust that’s golden in color and slightly crispy on the edges.
Most important of all?
No Soggy Bottoms.
I’ve been making homemade perfect flaky pie crust and baking perfect pies for over 40 years. I’ve tried many different recipes and there are some really good ones out there. Have you tried the one that uses vodka? 🙂
But this post is all about
perfect flaky pie crust
And do you know what?
The # 1 question I get asked by readers is “What is the secret to perfect flaky pie crust?” , so it’s not just you!
We’re going to spend some time together. And don’t worry if you don’t have that time right now.
You can pin this post to your favorite board for later!
And I have this amazing e-book How To Make Perfect Flaky Pie Crust to share with you, like a step-by-step guide so that you will always have it right when you need it!
First Things First
So we’re going to go into some detail about two important areas to help you get ready to make perfect flaky pie crust. It’s all about having great tools, right? So we need to start with Baking Equipment and Baking Ingredients. I want to take you through the basics of both. That way when you decide you want to make up a batch of homemade perfect flaky pie crust, you will be ready to go!
#1 Pie Baking Equipment
Please note that I only recommend products that I use and love. I’ve chosen these with care, and all are from Amazon, either Amazon Best Seller, Amazon Prime or Amazon Choice! * This post may contain affiliate links – what does that mean?
Before we start baking together let’s review the different types of baking equipment I will be using.
6. Rolling Pins – I will be using a traditional french rolling pin, with a medium weight, and the size is 18” long, doesn’t stick and will be perfect for any type of dough you need to roll out. I prefer this type of rolling pin for new bakers, it’s easy on the wrists, and as you gain more experience, you will want to branch out to silicone, stainless steel, or even marble!
Once your perfect pie crust is made and you are ready to build your pie, it’s time to pre-heat the oven. Check your recipe to see the correct temperature. If your oven doesn’t have a timer, use a small kitchen timer instead, or set the time on your smart phone.
Baking times are usually provided in a range – for example 30 to 40 minutes. That’s because all ovens heat differently due to a number of factors, gas or electric, and including the altitude of where you live! So my approach is to choose the lesser time- in this case 30 minutes and then add time if I need to. As you become more experienced, you will get to know your oven temperatures and times. And for those of you who are experienced bakers, this is what we call the difference between a ‘fast’ and a ‘slow’ oven.
Unless the recipe instructs differently, always bake your pie in the ‘bottom third’ of your oven. This means when you look at your oven and divide into thirds visually, place the rack in the bottom third – like the picture I have provided below. It’s usually the second lowest placement, but again all ovens are different. We don’t want to burn the pie, but pies need bottom heat to cook evenly, especially the apple pie we will be baking. Uneven baking often results in undercooked bottoms and soggy piecrust.
#3 Perfect Flaky Pie Crust Baking Ingredients
Use the best and freshest ingredients that you can. Making perfect pie crust and pies requires some effort and we want the flakiest pie crust we can bake. So let’s talk about flour and fats – the main two ingredients when making pastry dough, and where short crust pastry originated from.
Flour: All Purpose, Cake & Pastry, and Gluten Free Flours
What is the best brand and type of flour to use for making homemade pie crust? There are a few different types of flour to choose from when it comes to making pastry dough. These include All Purpose Flour, Cake and Pastry Flour and Gluten Free Flours.
All Purpose Flour – This is the basic white flour that we have all used for baking. Flour contains a high proportion of starches, which are a subset of complex carbohydrates also known as polysaccharides. The kinds of flour used in cooking include all-purpose flour (known as plain outside North America), self-rising flour (known as self-raising outside North America), and cake flour including bleached flour. The higher the protein content the harder and stronger the flour, and the more it will produce crusty or chewy breads. The lower the protein the softer the flour, which is better for cakes, cookies, and pie crusts. (Source: Wikipedia)
Cake and Pastry Flour – is made from softer wheat varieties and has very low protein content – about 8%. So this is what I often use when making pie crust.
Note: If all you can buy is All Purpose follow you can add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a level cup of all-purpose flour and this will be a good substitute.
Gluten Free Flour – These are relatively new to the mainstream markets, and you can now find blended gluten free flour in your local food store. There are a number of brands out there, and gluten free pastry is discussed in our Facebook group, The Perfect Pies Club. Gluten Free blends do not have wheat gluten in them, so they include starches such as potato starch, tapioca, sometimes buckwheat.
Fats: Butter, Lard or Vegetable Shortening – what should I use to get perfect flaky pie crust?
The difference between vegetable shortening and lard is that the higher fat content in lard produces flakier pastry, however vegetable shortening tastes more like butter. I’ve used both and really can’t tell the difference. Feel free to experiment with one or the other. The methods for mixing will be the same.
For our recipe below we are using unsalted butter and vegetable shortening (half and half). This pie crust is delicious for both sweet and savory pies and due the animal fat content in butter (from dairy) the piecrust is quite flaky. Again it is all personal preference. I have tried all of them and switch back and forth between butter and vegetable shortening.
When you mix gluten free pastry dough, use vegetable shortening since it doesn’t produce gluten protein.
Shortcrust Pastry is the professional term used for pastry dough that is used to make pies and tarts. It actually originated with the Romans, when they would mix flour and water together to make a paste and wrap it around meat and bake it.
In this perfect flaky pie crust recipe, we will be using half butter and half vegetable shortening.
#4 Getting Ready to Make Perfect Flaky Pie Crust
Getting Ready to Bake – It Helps to Stay Organized
When I’m baking I like to measure out all of my ingredients ahead of time and also have all of the baking equipment I will need out and easy to get to. Once we start to mix the pastry dough you don’t want to have to stop and wash your hands to get something out of a drawer or cupboard. And getting ready this way does save time. These tips will really help to make your baking experience enjoyable!
Have you got a clean counter on which to work? Putting away the clutter will help you to focus on your pie crust.
Print out your recipe and get out all of the ingredients.
Make sure you are not being distracted when measuring as measurements must be precise.
Make sure you have your apron on and oven mitts at the ready.
It’s also helpful to clear space in your refrigerator. You will need to chill the pastry dough and that requires space in your refrigerator – not a lot, but enough to hold your mixing bowl.
Before you roll out your pastry dough, get out your pastry mat.
Get the pie plate ready – by greasing it.
Once you have the pastry made and in the pie shell, chill it for 30 minutes before using it in your pie recipe.
And bake with a clean oven. Splatters and baked on food could set off the smoke alarm! I usually line the bottom of my oven with a sheet of aluminum foil to catch any spills.
Let’s have some fun!
When my students ask me “What is the secret to perfect flaky pie crust?” My answer is always the same. It’s the blending of the flour and fats, the layering of the pastry, that will give you that buttery flakiness.
#5 Perfect Flaky Pie Crust Tips & Tricks:
If you have left your pastry in the refrigerator for longer than thirty minutes – just let it sit until it becomes room temperature, before you start to roll it out.
Pastry freezes really well, and you can keep pastry frozen for up to a month. Again just take it out and let it thaw – don’t try to heat it up in the microwave.
Fluting the edge of your piecrust takes a little time and patience – don’t worry about perfection as every pie baked is unique!
Brushing a wash of egg yolk on the top of your perfect flaky pie crust will result in a lovely golden crust, especially with a two crust pie.
Sprinkle some granulated white sugar on the crust just as you take it out of the oven. It will stick and add some sugary sweetness.
Presentation is just as important as taste! Serve your beautiful pie with Whipped cream, ice cream or caramel sauce. Your family and friends will love you for it!
The steps to blending the flours and fats are here for you to follow.
Getting the consistency of your perfect flaky pie crust right is really important, so I’ve included a video on how to roll out your pie crust.
It’s kind of like the Three Little Bears:
Too thick and your pie crust will be tough.
Too thin and it won’t hold the filling.
It has to be just right!
And you know the best part?
We’re going to make perfect flaky pie crust together in the video below!
#6 Judy’s No Fail Perfect Flaky Pie Crust:
6 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Ice Cold Water
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
Add the fats, and using a hand pastry blender, mix the flours and fats together.
Whisk the egg in a cup, add the vinegar and enough water to fill the cup.
Pour onto the flour mixture and blend well. I use my fingers, but use a very light touch.
You don’t want to over blend or work the dough too much. Otherwise the pie crust will be tough.
Shape the pastry dough into 4 evenly shaped balls, wrap them in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
#7 Rolling out the Dough – video
Now comes the fun part! I really believe that this is the most important part too, where we either end up with deliciously perfect flaky pie crust, or a crust that becomes very tough. You’ve seen those pies where people scrape out the filling and leave the crust? That’s so not going to happen here!
Using a pastry mat, roll out your pie crust as shown in the video. Be sure to remember to chill the crust for 30 minutes before filling and baking. Remember we talked about the importance of keeping the dough chilled? Perfect flaky pie crust dough likes it cool!
This recipe is the easiest, no fail ever, and will give you perfect flaky pie crust every time! Check out the step by step video, and download the free ebook!
1cupbutterunsalted, cold, cut into small chunks
1cupvegetable shorteningcold, cut into small chunks
1cupWaterice cold, enough to fill the cup with the egg and vinegar in it
Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the fats, and using a hand pastry blender, mix the flours and fats together. Whisk the egg in a cup, add the vinegar and enough water to fill the cup. Pour onto the flour mixture and blend well. I use my fingers, but use a very light touch. You don't want to over blend or work the dough too much. Otherwise the pie crust will be tough.
Shape the pastry dough into 4 evenly shaped balls, wrap them in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Using a pastry mat, roll out the dough evenly and until it is the right size to fit your plate.
Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and rest the pin and pastry dough in the middle of the pie plate, in order to centre the pie crust.
Unroll the pie crust, gently pushing it into a well greased pie plate,
Crimp the edges using your knuckles of the index and middle finger on your right hand, and pushing with your third finger on your left. Or vice verse if you are left handed.
Prick the bottom crust a few times with a fork.
Wrap the pie crust in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before baking,
Judy's No Fail Perfect Flaky Pie Crust
Amount Per Serving
Calories 520Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 14g70%
Total Carbohydrates 47g16%
Dietary Fiber 1g4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Steps to achieve perfect flaky pie crust!
So to answer the question “What is the secret to perfect flaky pie crust?” There really isn’t a secret. Just taking the recipe step by step, taking your time, using quality ingredients – all will add up to a perfect flaky pie crust.
In addition to this post and our video, I’ve written a short ebook, How to Make Perfect Flaky Pie Crust, that you can access at the end of this post!
Okay so the holidays are almost here, you have been seeing all these drool worthy recipes on social media – like facebook, pinterest, twitter, instagram and YOU ARE READY!
There is that family dinner your significant other wants you to go to and the ask is to take dessert. So what’s wrong with going to the favorite bakery and ordering up their specialty, super d’ duper pumpkin pie? Nothing at all of course, but maybe, just maybe, you could really bake a homemade pie just like this luscious lemon meringue? You can! And I’m going to help you.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to many would be bakers is the baking ingredients and equipment needed, or in most cases, the lack of it. Not many kitchens these days have the requisite pastry mats, rolling pins, baking pans, pastry cutters,…..well you get where I’m going. And ingredients like all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and certain spices. All of this is usually acquired over time. If you went to purchase it all at once, WHOA, that would really add up!
Did you know that baking soda is used in many baking recipes? Here is a cool article that shares just how many different uses baking soda has.
So I thought about what basic baking ingredients and equipment would be needed to help you get organized for Holiday Baking and to set up your Baker’s Pantry. And most importantly, how we could keep the cost to a minimum.
No matter what your circumstances are, what size of kitchen, if you live in a large home or a tiny apartment like I do (and an RV on the weekends!) being organized can turn any baking activity into an absolute delight!
It has taken me many years to learn this, but a few years ago I started to keep all of my baking supplies separate from my regular pantry and grocery items.
I have a very small jam cupboard that holds all of my spices, flavorings, sugars, flours, anything I use for baking. That means you only have one place to look to see what item is running low, and more importantly when you have your recipe out and you start to gather ingredients, everything is in its place. Cool huh? You don’t even need a jam cupboard or separate pantry, a shelf in your cupboard will do just fine, or a corner of your kitchen counter. Just so long as you keep your baker’s pantry items separate and easy to get too.
One of the best places I know of to get good quality and inexpensive pie baking equipment are the dollar stores, or big box stores. I like the dollar stores like Dollar Tree or in Canada we have Dollarama. They have a huge line of Betty Crocker Baking Equipment that is not only well made, but it looks good too!
Here is the list you really need! The Baking Essentials to help you get organized, set up your Baker’s Pantry and bake some drool worthy recipes! It includes what I feel are the basics, and also a list of ‘nice to have’ items. Ideas for your next birthday, perhaps?
Even experienced bakers will benefit from this list, perhaps as a reminder of something they have wanted to add, or something that needs replacing. I’m always on the lookout for mixing bowls and spoons. And pie servers. I never seem to have enough pie servers.
I hope this helps to get your Baking Pantry set up and that being organized will make your next baking experience that much more enjoyable. Please drop me a line in the comments below and share your experiences!