It’s all about the crust

Rhubarb Pie
Homemade rhubarb pie for dessert with guests Saturday night.

My mom was one heck of a pie baker. She’d send my brother and I out on our bikes to pick wild blackberries. She warned us not to eat too many or there wouldn’t be enough for pie.

She taught me how to make crust. The secret is to barely touch it. The more you handle it, the tougher it gets.

I remember visiting her with my infant daughter and toddler son. She had made clam chowder (my favorite) and baked a wild blackberry pie.

I raved about the pie and her perfect flaky crust.

She laughed and said she was doing something different now that she was over 60. She showed me the box of Pillsbury Pie Crusts! I was shocked. I literally couldn’t tell the difference between the boxed crust and her famous homemade crust.

I continued to make crust the old fashioned way. But I didn’t like the mess of flour all over the counter and sink. I didn’t like cleaning after making pies. So one day I folded and bought the crusts. My family didn’t notice the difference.

I noticed it was super easy to bake pies and it wasn’t an ordeal. Unroll the crust and fill it. Bake. Presto! You have pie.

I feel guilty when we have guests over and they rave about my pie. But then again, at least they’re not store bought!

Here’s the recipe from my mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook for rhubarb pie:

Rhubarb pie recipe

Do you think it’s cheating to make a pie with store-bought crusts?

Did you grow up with a Betty Crocker cookbook?

36 thoughts on “It’s all about the crust

  1. I haven’t made a piecrust since I was a teenager and learned how in home ec class! I know some would never consider using a box crust but I can’t imagine ever doing it by scratch when you don’t have to.

  2. Youi know that Cupcake and I owned a bakery (we specialized in cupcakes), and I am surprised your mom’s crust did not blow it’s top. That is why you vent the top. The directions you posted include that, but I do not see them in your mom’s pie. Anyway, I do not see it as cheating. They just save you a step. You do not go out and kill your own pig or cow. The butcher saves you that step. Most of us used store bought pasta rather than spend the time to make our own, and when was the last time you pureed your own tomatoes into a sauce? Cheating would be to buy the pie whole and pass it off as your own baked product.

    • That’s my pie and I vented the top with a fork about eight times. Also used an egg wash and sprinkled sugar which may make it harder to see. You make a good point with meat, pasta and sauce examples.

  3. No such thing as cheating when cooking, unless you said made a lasagna that came from a restaurant. Even Alton Brown said just use cake mix if you want a yellow cake

  4. Definitely used store bought crusts. I do have old Betty Crocker cookbooks. The problem is I don’t use them. My mom-in-law had hundreds of cookbooks and thousands of saved recipe clippings. When we were cleaning out her house we just threw the clippings away and donated the books. There’s no way if she cooked every single day of her life that she would ever be able to try all those dishes.

  5. No. I used to make Swedish meatballs for all potlucks and would make my own meatballs. Eventually, I started buying frozen meatballs and only making the sauce. No one cared and my life was easier.

  6. Y’all have too much time to bake. Now I am getting jealous, she said with head aching and wishing for sleep after a too long day but the pie looks good. I will be having husband’s keto pie.

  7. I switched from using Crisco to butter, but it hasn’t worked out well. I caved and bought some Crisco, but haven’t used it, yet. You are tempting me to give up on scratch crust!!

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