A no fail pastry recipe (makes two bottom and two tops.)
This one is from my mother in law Lorraine Huffman who gave it to her daughter (my wife) and it needs to have a few rules followed or it will come out bad. Rule number one keep it cold or frozen until it is to be used. This is also rule number 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and so on.
Combine in a large bowl or on a clean counter and gather into a well. Do not over work this or it will be inferior to one that is handled with care. You are not making cookie dough.
3 cups of flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ tablespoon of sugar
1 cup of lard (not shortening) cut the lard with a pastry cutter to about the size of shelled peanuts
In the middle of the well make a hole where you will put all of the wet ingredients
Add to the hole you have made after whisking these together
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of cold water
Now it is time to mix the ingredients. From the outside of the pile with your fingers open move some of the dry into the wet working it softly into the dry until all of the dry has been incorporated with the wet.
Once this is done do not work the pastry anymore once you have shaped it into a ball. Pick it up and place it in a bowl and place it in the fridge for one hour to allow the gluten to rest.
Remove from the fridge and cut into 4 sections. Flour the board and keep it well floured while rolling it. With a rolling pin roll each piece out until it is ¼ inch thick across the whole of it. Place each piece into the pan you are going to cook it in and return it back to the fridge for one more hour. Bake at 350 degrees. The pastry must be cold when placing it into the preheated oven. When baking a plane shell place another pie pan over the one with the pastry in and fill it with salt or dried peas to weigh the cooking pastry down. You can tell when it is done first by a smell of toasted wheat and second by the nice tan colour or the pastry itself. If the pastry is to dry my mother in law said “it is better to add more lard than it is to add more water.” Different cooking times are needed for each kind of pie you are going to make. A cream pie need to have a fully cooked shell before any filling is added while a fruit pie needs to be raw and cooked while the filling is cooking. A meat pie is much like a fruit pie with all ingredients cooked fully before adding to the pastry.