Old Fashioned Almond Pie Crust

Old Fashioned Almond Pie Crust

Whoever coined the phrase, “Easy as Pie” should be sent the Joy of Cooking’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie recipe. Last night I diligently corrected all my errors that led to the Mother’s Day Disaster, and my pie still liquefied. I am at a loss. While the Strawberry Chiffon Pie may have been a failure, the Almond Pie Crust from the American Woman’s Cookbook was delicious!

When I did yoga semi-regularly (shame on my current self!), during shavasana the teacher would instruct us to let our mind go and visualize a place that made us feel peaceful and relaxed. This may sound really odd coming from an almost 30 year old, but my place was my Mom’s lap. When I was a little girl my Mom would sit me in her lap to read or to rock me to sleep. Then I got a little (and then lot) older and she would let me perch on her lap if I had a bad day and needed to cry or be comforted. Sometimes, even though we’re the same size, she still lets me sit on her lap and she’ll hug me just like when I was little, and I feel a peace and comfort that cannot be duplicated. I can only hope that when I have a little girl, she’ll climb onto my lap and she’ll feel the same love, support and caring that I felt.

I mulled over the perfect dish to make for my Mother’s Day post for the past week. Nothing seemed right. It needed to be sweet, refined, beautiful, and anything but trite because it needed to be a reflection of her! I have never had a Strawberry Chiffon Pie nor have I made an Almond Pastry Crust, but the combination seemed perfect somehow (oh how wrong I was!). The strawberries are beautiful (and bountiful down here in Georgia); the custard seemed sweet and nostalgic yet refined; and the almond crust was a different twist.

Old Fashioned Almond Crust

Piecrust sans Strawberry Chiffon Soup

This recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie comes from the 1st Edition of The Joy of Cooking and is truly old fashioned: there is no gelatin, no Jello, and no refrigeration. An extensive search on the Internet and in my vast Cookbook library turned up no other Strawberry Chiffon Pie recipes that omitted gelatin. Now we all know why.

Yesterday morning was the first time for a lot of culinary activities: I have never used whipped egg whites as a leavening agent; I have never made a custard; I have never pre-baked a pie crust; I have never made an almond crust. When the pie filling liquefied before my very eyes I persisted because my Mom has never given up, and how could I just throw in the towel on a pie? When it liquefied the second time, I rallied and scooped the filling from the crust and made my own “Strawberry Pie.” It was delicious. (I am sure there is a metaphor for life’s defeats in here somewhere!) So the thought of this light and sweet pie is for you Mom! I love you.

photo 5

[Instructions for my makeshift dessert & Strawberry Chiffon Pie are at the bottom of the post]

Old Fashioned Almond Pie Crust

Yield: 1 9-inch Pie Crust

Old Fashioned Almond Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons pulverized almonds (I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening, cut in small pieces
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • Cold water

Instructions

  1. Make sure all ingredients are either frozen or very, very cold. Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening with a pastry blender until they are worked into the dry ingredients and are the size of peas. Be careful not to over work it because it is these chunks that give the pastry that flaky quality.
  2. Add beaten egg with a fork just until incorporated. Add just enough water to hold dough together. I used 2 tablespoons but this will vary. You want the dough to stay in a ball, so if chunks are falling out, then add some more water. It doesn’t take as much as you think! Roll into a ball, place on plastic wrap, and flatten into a disk. Refrigerator for several hours or over night.
  3. Roll out to ¼ inch thick.
  4. This dough is more fragile than my other go-to crust, so I use the rolling pin method for transferring the dough to a pan. Gently roll the dough onto the pin and unroll it over your pie dish.
  5. Decoratively crimp the edges, place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes and then either add your filling or pre-bake the crust. If your pastry warms up too much prior to going in the oven then if will not be flakey, and we have had enough failure for one day.
  6. Pre-baking a Pie Crust: Pre-heat your oven to 425°. Prior to adding the pastry to your dish, make a little mold out of aluminum foil. Cover pastry with this mold, making sure to curl the edges over the entire crust. Add pie weights if you wish. Then bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and either cool or add filling to hot crust per your recipe instructions.

Notes:

Recipe from American Woman's Cookbook

http://americanheritagecooking.com/2013/05/almond-pie-crust/

Old Fashioned Almond Pie Crust

This crust was delicious! I will be adding it to my regular repertoire. I have copied the Joy of Cooking Strawberry Chiffon Pie recipe verbatim below. Try it if you dare! Be sure to let me know how it goes if you do!

Chiffon Strawberry Pie

3 eggs, separated

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup berries cut in pieces

1 baked pie shell, 1 inch deep, 6.5 inches wide

Place the yolks in the top of a double boiler. Beat them until they are light, add the sugar and cook the mixture over hot water until it thickens. Add the salt to the egg whites, beat them until they are stiff and pour the hot custard over them. Return the custard to the double boiler, beating it constantly until it is thick and stands up well. Add the strawberries, fill the pie shell and bake the pie in a hot oven 400° for 10 minutes.

What is in my makeshift dessert?

Cut yourself a slice of that poor almond pie crust, place it atop left over icing from my fiance’s birthday cupcakes, fill shell with sliced, fresh strawberries, and top it with the whipped cream that you made to go with the Chiffon Pie (sigh). It was amazing. Defeat never tasted so good!


Comments

  1. Lelia Farr says

    I’m in tears remembering my little (and not so little) girl in my arms especially in the rocking chair. Thank you for the sweet reasons for your choice of Mother’s Day recipe! So sorry it preferred being a soup rather than a pie. Though not best for photos, I bet it still tasted delicious! ~ mom

  2. AmericanCooking22 says

    It was shockingly delicious! Did you notice that one of the two photos from yesterday’s post were of you reading me a book with me sitting in your lap!? Complete happenstance but apropos!

  3. Andrew Weiss says

    Going to use for a cherry pie tomorrow. I wonder if the recipe above would have worked if you let the custard cool, delicately folded it into the meringue, dropped in the strawberries, and put it into the done crust… then refrigerated it as a cold icebox pie rather than baking it.

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      You are going to love the almond pie crust! Just be prepared that it is a less cohesive crust than flour crusts.

      That is an interesting strategy that you suggest for the chiffon pie. I could definitely see that working, because as soon as you pour the hot custard into the meringue, you can see them start to separate. The flavors were amazing, so I should definitely give that a try! Let me know how you like the crust!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I decided to try a more traditional pie crust recipe from my favorite Good Housekeeping Cook Book, 1955 edition. All the pastry recipes from the early to mid twentieth century use 100% shortening, and this recipe is no exception. Shortening does make a wonderfully flaky crust when prepared right, but it’s definitely less rich than those containing butter. The crust is reminiscent of the frozen Pillsbury crusts but more flavorful and flakier. This pie would also be sensational with this fool-proof crust or the American Woman’s Almond Pie Crust. […]

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