Recipes: Foolproof Pie Crust and Bourbon Pecan Pie

This recipe is a Civil War reenactment in a pie plate!

Pie Crust
The pie crust I make is a family recipe from my mother in law, who was a descendant of German and Danish immigrants to New York City.

I actually have a photo of my mother in law teaching me how to make this pastry recipe, in the fall of 2011.  I treasure this memory, because she has since passed away.  Each Thanksgiving, my family makes pies using this recipe, in memory of grandma Marjorie.

The recipe is completely foolproof, I promise, and uses an unusual combination of boiled water and vegetable oil.  My mother in law explained that this recipe became popular during World War II-era Europe, when butter and milk were rationed, and water often needed to be sterilized on the stove top.  Interestingly, this pie crust recipe is vegan, so it can be adapted to all sorts of sweet and savory dishes fit for vegans or vegetarians.

Marjorie's Foolproof Oil and Hot Water Pie Crust
1/3 C water, freshly boiled (about 200F)
2/3 C vegetable oil
table salt (about 1/2 tsp)
all purpose flour (about 2 cups)

Pour room temperature vegetable oil into a large pastry bowl.  Add hot water.  Immediately begin whipping the two together with a fork, and adding salt until cloudy and emulsified.  Add the flour in 1/2 C increments, mixing thoroughly.  Once the dough is "ragged," turn it out onto a floured counter top or pastry board.  Divide in half and roll out with a cold, floured wine bottle.  If you are in a hot or humid climate, you can refrigerate the dough before rolling, for better results.  Makes two 9" crusts. 

Pecan Pie
The pecan pie filling I make is adapted from Bell's Best, a cookbook produced by Chapter 36 of the charitable organization Mississippi Telephone Pioneers.  It is the ONLY pecan pie recipe my family ever uses.

Bell's Best Bourbon Pecan Pie
1 C white sugar
1/2 C white corn syrup
1/4 C melted butter
3 eggs, slightly beaten ("broken")
1 C raw pecans, picked, cleaned, and roughly chopped
1 oz bourbon or rye
pinch salt

Mix the first three ingredients well, then stir in the eggs.  Fold in the pecans, bourbon, and salt.  Pour into an unbaked pie crust.  Bake in an oven preheated to 350F.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350, then 25 minutes at 300.  The pie is done when it is set up, with a "jiggly" but solid center.