We’re in that time of year we call “The Holidays.” Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Day…. Celebrations abound! We gather with family and friends from near and far. We have parties and dinners, catch up on the latest news in each other’s lives and reminisce about the years past. As our families and friend groupings multiply and change, these gatherings help to deepen the love and admiration we have for one another. At the centerpiece of these gatherings is the food: food from our past, new dishes to share.
For me, many of my family food traditions involve baking. My mom has already been busy baking the family pfeffernusse (peppernuts) to send to each of us in the next weeks. (I can’t wait!) Here at home there are cinnamon roll coffeecakes to mix, rise, bake and share with neighbors, as well as gingerbread and snowball cookies (and many others) to make. There will be sweet potato crescent rolls, stollen and biscotti to create – all filling the house with enticing aromas. But, first on the list of holiday baking are the Thanksgiving pies.
My love of baking was passed down from my mom, Della, who was the baker for her family of 7 on her family’s Kansas farm starting at age eight! She’s an expert baker of many breads and cookies, but it’s her pies that have brought her fame. She’s affectionately known as “The Pie Lady” and her pies are fervently sought out at work and asked for by friends and family. I’ve been the willing recipient of much of her baking wisdom so have grown up baking pies of all sorts. This Thanksgiving I’ll be baking up a few cherry pies for the pie social at church and for our dinner, I’ll be serving both apple and pumpkin pies. Every bite eaten while spending time with people I love.
I’d like to share with you mom’s pie crust recipe. It’s an easy, forgiving crust that bakes up flaky and tasty and is truly NO FAIL.
- 2 ¼ c. flour (can use up to half whole wheat flour)
- 1 t. salt
- 2/3 cup oil
- ¼ cup water
- Mix together flour, salt and oil with a fork. Then add water and mix. Divide into 2 disks. Roll out between 2 pieces of wax paper that you “stick” to the counter with a slightly damp dishtowel.
- After adding the top crust to pie, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar, if you wish.
- Yields a 2 crust pie.