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I visited my father's house last weekend and while there asked him for advice on making graham cracker crust, as I had made some the week before and had thought that it didn't taste quite how I remembered it tasting when I grew up.

He said that he had recently learned a new technique which he now swore by: basically you make regular pie crust and then smush crushed graham crackers into it. (My stepmother pointed out that one of the reasons people make graham cracker crust is because it's easier to make than conventional crust.)

Over the course of this, he revealed that you can actually buy pre-crushed graham crackers specifically for making pie crust. This was quite a surprise!

So last Monday my mother came down to have dinner with me and I mentioned the existence of pre-crushed graham crackers. She made a face and said, "Never buy pre-crushed graham crackers." I asked why not, and she said, "Well, I think it's like my aunt told me when I was growing up: never buy chicken parts. You should always buy a whole chicken, because they use the chickens that have something wrong with them for that and throw away the bad parts. Although that's probably not true any more since demand is so high now. So I think it's the same thing for graham crackers."

So, anyway, I'm going to make a couple of simple graham cracker crusts (graham crackers + sugar + butter) using pre-crushed graham crackers.

I have a reputation in my family for never taking advice. I wonder why that is?
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Remember this?

picture )

I used this recipe, which seemed to work pretty well.
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Look what she got me for HMas!

picture )

This may have some implications for my weekend plans.
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Picture )
That's strawberry rhubarb on the left, glazed blueberry/raspberry glazed on the right.
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The reason I made the pies yesterday was for [livejournal.com profile] knitdrinkprov's first ever piefest, held in the courtyard of the houses that [livejournal.com profile] cgoldfish and [livejournal.com profile] saucypunk live in. I only took one picture there, but here it is:

KnitDrinkProv 7 June 2005

[livejournal.com profile] restartsmyheart brought a key lime pie, which was very tart and yummy!

At more or less the last minute the idea of having my band play there came up. Carrie and Katy helped me track down their landlord to get it okayed, which was very nice of them (and of him). It was the dance band's first performance in front of anybody and it was a lot of fun!

The downside was that I didn't get too much time to socialize with anyone (or take more pictures), so I will just have to talk to people twice as much at the next drunken knitting event, which probably won't be too hard since I'm usually pretty quiet.

Two-thirds of one of my pies was still left at the end of the night, so I took it home. We will see how long it lasts.
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The pie crusts I made yesterday turned out better than any pie crusts I've made before, I think, so here are some notes that might help me replicate this success next time.

Let's see.

I used the 'Basic Pie Dough' recipe in the Joy of Cooking. I multiplied the quantities by 1 1/2, which seemed to work out pretty well for a pair of one-crust 9-inch pie crusts.

I didn't have a pastry blender and they didn't seem to sell them at the Stop & Shop so I ended up using a potato masher instead, which seemed to work pretty well.

The Joy says to cut (or, in my case, mash) half the shortening into the flour mixture until it has 'the grain of cornmeal' (which I took to mean 'until it's all mashed together really good and there aren't any big blobs of anything'), then to mash the rest of it in until it is pea-sized.

It said to use four tablespoons of water. However, I recall that flour absorbs moisture from the air when it is really humid, which it was yesterday, so I ended up using more like 3 1/2 tablespoons.

After that I gathered the dough into a couple of balls, wrapped it in waxed paper, and put it in the fridge for about a half hour. This is a trick my father told me about and it makes the dough roll better for some reason, maybe because it allows the moisture in the dough to equalize.

Then I rolled the dough out on a floured board. Once it was the right size I used a spatula to fold it into thirds and transfer it to the pie plate. Then I unfolded it, repositioned it, and shaped the edges. Then I stabbed it with a fork quite a bit, maybe one set of fork-pricks every inch, so that no bubbles would form while I was cooking it. Ideally I would have put something in the pie plate on top of the dough to make sure that it didn't bubble or otherwise deform, but I didn't have anything suitable, so I just had to trust to the fates.

The recipe said to cook for 8-12 minutes. It's necessary to check it pretty often, since once it's cooked it will go on to being burned very quickly. The bottom of the dough should brown very lightly.
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Now this is what I'm talking about:

Pie!

They pretty much look the same, but the one on the left is blueberries with a blueberry/raspberry glaze while the one on the right is a combination of blueberries and raspberries with a blueberry/raspberry glaze. Got that?

Now I think is the time to take a nice long cold shower.
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pie crusts

The pie crusts are looking pretty good, although the one on the left is a bit overcooked. More anon.

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Jacob Haller

October 2015

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