Brenna Gets a New Blog and Makes a Thank-You Pie

Today is the day—that day where I have officially moved blogs!

Thanks to my trusty web wrangler/husband, the new blog is up, running, and looks almost exactly like my old blog. It took a lot of work and some mental gymnastics (him) and some cursing (me), but all my old entries live here now, and I’ve even been able to import the Livejournal comments, although some of them are strangely out of order.

In light of the time and effort D spent helping* me move everything, I felt that at the very least, I owed him baked goods. And I also owed this blog an inaugural entry. And then I thought, why don’t I kill two birds with one post? So, in a flurry of efficient metaphorical bird-killing . . . here we are.

Over the years, I’ve talked a lot about pie pastry, and enough of you have emailed asking for tips that I’ve even included my particular recipe in the FAQ on my site.

Today, I’m going one step farther. Today, I’m providing a handy illustrated guide.

First, what you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening (I like the kind that comes pre-measured in stick-form, like butter—one stick = one cup.)
  • 6 tablespoons cold water

pie supplies brighter

Whisk the flour and salt together in a big bowl, then cut the shortening into the flour mixture using a pair of butter knives (you just drag them through the bowl in opposite directions, cutting the shortening into smaller and smaller pieces and letting it get caked with flour). Cutting the dough like this takes a little longer, but the finished texture is super-flaky because the flour doesn’t get over-mixed.

shortening 2

After the mixture starts to look like coarse crumbs with some pea-sized lumps in it, like so:

crumbs brighter

add the cold water and blend with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape all the drier stuff off the sides of the bowl and into the mix.

When the dough is blended so that is sticks together, divide it into two halves.


Roll out one half and then the other (or, if you’re making an open pie, wrap the second half in cling-wrap and save it in the refrigerator). I like to roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper.

Here is the rolled-out dough and my weird pie plate (pie plate courtesy of Maggie, who loves to remind me that I’m weird, but is forgiven because she also enables my compulsive baking).

rolled out 2

Carefully line the plate with the rolled-out dough. (If you tear the dough, you can always patch it, but it’s easier to avoid that eventuality if you can.)

in the plate 2

After the plate is lined, add your filling of choice. I’ve used canned cherry filling, which makes this a super-easy pie.

filled pie

The next step is to cover and vent the pie so the steam can get out. I always seal the edges by hand, but some people like to crimp the crust using a fork or the handle of a butter knife.

vented close-up

Bake for however long and at whatever temperature is appropriate for your filling, and ta-da!

finished product 2

A thank-you pie.

*You know what this means by now. He did it. He did it all.

12 thoughts on “Brenna Gets a New Blog and Makes a Thank-You Pie

    • yay new blog! congrats on the switch

      Thanks—it was touch and go for awhile, but I made it!

      Moment of truth: my sister is actually a better baker than I am. I have to work really, really hard to have good craftsmanship, whereas she just kind of *knows* how to make things look nice. (In fact, I learned to make pie specifically because she and my mom weren’t around to do it for me anymore. It’s true.) I always cooked for her, though. Even after she was way too old to have someone else making her lunch.

  1. Yay, another compulsive baker! I used to bake every Thursday night for my archaeology lab on Fridays, and it was very strange to go home after graduation in May and not be baking all the time! I tried to keep it up but my family doesn’t eat baked goods like my college roommates did, so now I do it far too infrequently for my peace of mind.

    • I used to bake every Thursday night for my archaeology lab

      ! I used to bake for my Postmodern Lit. class. It was three hours long and during a dinner slot, so I liked to bring snacks. Also, it was a stressful semester so there were a lot of baked good just kind of lying around :)

  2. Yay for the new blog. Bad LJ! I like pie :) and that’s a good looking pie. I have two online pie baking buddies now. I cook at home, but have only baked pie a couple of times. Your pie looks better than my pie. Thank you wrangler husband.

    • Hey, Simon! Yes, pie is my favorite kind of stress-baking. There’s just something very soothing about the whole procedure, and I really like making the fluted edges. Also, I’ve made my share of very ugly pies. It was practice, practice, practice, and now this pretty one!

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