I used to have this image of the kind of person who made her own pie crusts. And I wanted to be her.
Ms. Homemade Crust used her free time wisely, not only dreaming about baking her own bread or canning her own jam but actually doing it, too. Where did she find the time? The energy?
I hardly know what possessed me that day last November, but I had an entire afternoon looming ahead of me with nothing but a dissertation chapter to write. Naturally, I needed to find something else to do, so I chopped up some butter, slid a bowl of water into the freezer and ransacked my cabinets for something that might substitute for a rolling pin. I emerged with a Thermos. You work with what you have, people.
I pressed the dough into the stone-white pie dish, a wedding gift from our friends Andrea and Colin. I did my best to remove the evidence of my Thermos rolling pin, although the crust still looked like a racetrack for mice.
How I cook is how I conduct my life. I'm always trying to do it better, mostly dissatisfied with whatever I achieve. But then there's this other side of me, a kinder side, who has been there all along but has had to speak more loudly out of necessity these past few months. It's the side that says: "Eh, who cares if it's a little lopsided. Just call it rustic." The side that forgives others easily, instantaneously and urges me to forgive myself with the same unconditional abandon. The side that knows I have what it takes, always.
Four hundred degrees. Nine minutes. My cockeyed crust turned golden just the same, and when I slid it onto the cooling rack, still steaming and sweet-smelling, I had to say it out loud:
"Dude, you just made a pie crust."
Makes dough for two tarts
2 1/2 c. white whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 c. ice water
Martha Stewart's recipe has been fail-proof for me. Delicious, buttery, flakey -- just right, every time. Also, it is really, really easy. Who knew?