A SIMPLE SECRET WAY TO ROLL OUT PASTRY DOUGH -WITHOUT THE MESS!!

I would like to share my own, unique way of rolling out a pie pastry dough that is mess- free with you all.  I also understand how hard it is to learn how to cook in the old fashioned ways for a generation that is used to microwave ovens and pre-frozen meals from the grocery store.  Sometimes it is good to slow down.  Cooking is alot of fun!  If you are in a hurry, and just want to find out my secret that’s ok, too! Just scan down to the bold writing and the italics and you can read it now.  I have whipped up an easy, very delicious dessert that I call “chocolate pudding pie cups”; and I’ve included exactly how I do it with lots of pictures so that it’s easy to follow! 

Learning how to make pie pastry takes some practice. Since it is kindof hard at first, I want to show you step-by-step how to make a pie crust pastry dough.  And, once you “get it” you’ll be amazed at how easy it is and how few ingredients it takes. 

LET’S DO THIS ~

Chill a large mixing bowl in the freezer.

Mix these two items together in the cold bowl:
2 & 2/3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt

Next, cut in 1 cup of shortening

(Basically, what that means, is to drop a spoon of shortening onto the flour mix and then cover it with flour; then using the edge of your fork, cut it in half, then keep cutting it until it kind of looks like small peas size)  Like this:

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Then, one at a time, add 8 or 9 tablespoons of water. After each tablespoon, kind of toss the wet flour balls to the side of the bowl.  Afterward, it should look something like this:

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I will show you how to roll out pastry dough without getting your table or even your rolling pin dirty! Here is my secret that I can’t wait to share with my readers:
I use the clear, plastic bags from the meat dept at the grocery store. They are on the rolls above the meat display, the ones you can put your meat into before you set it in your cart. The bags are free! But don’t get greedy. I just take 3 or 4 when I am in that area of the store. The largest ones are the best. They are perfect for the next part of my recipe. Here’s how:

Heat up your oven to about 450 degrees.

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So, just drop a spoonful or so of flour in to the bag and shake it around.

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Next, take 1/2 of the pastry dough that we made above and gently ball it up and set it inside the bag. It will be kind of crumbly…and that’s o.k.

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Leave the dough inside the bag and roll it out, using a rolling pin.

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It is super-easy to manipulate the dough through the bag! If you want to make a regular pie crust, just roll out the dough until it is the size of your pie pan and use the technique I am showing here below to get smooth edges.
This is how I get great- looking, smooth, straight lines:
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Now, cut through the top portion of the bag to open it up! Like so…..
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Are ya still with me? This is easy stuff, isn’t it? So just slide your hands underneath of the bag and flip it on to a cookie sheet (or a pie pan, if you wish).
As long as the plastic bag is left on the top of the pastry, you can move the whole thing around easily to fit your pan. When it is just right, lift off the plastic.

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For a sugar cookie-like pastry, add a capful of milk to the top of the dough and rub it in….

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…and a generous helping of sugar….and rub that in.
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If you are a lucky duck, it ought to come out looking a little something like this ~
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But for a sweet, regular pie crust, add just a little bit of milk.
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and a lighter amount of sugar.
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And your crust should look like this one:
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If you’d rather not use sugar, you can mix a little milk with an egg and brush the top of your crust with that to brown it nicely.
(If you are making a regular pie crust, only brush it on the outer edges. And cover the edges with aluminum foil after they brown so that they don’t burn. Also use a fork to poke holes in the bottom and sides of your crust for a regular pie crust.)

Well, whichever way you chose to top it, cook on 450 for about 10 minutes.
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Use a pizza cutter to make squares or diamond shapes. Just be your creative self, these don’t have to be perfect.
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You can store the crusts that you haven’t yet used in the refrigerator in a plastic baggie for several days so that they are handy when you want a great dessert.
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Find yourself a few big mugs, or dessert dishes, or even a regular bowl will work, if you’re not worried about being fancy.
My favorite way to make these are to layer either hot, cooked chocolate pudding or hot cherry pie filling and to top with cool whip. Oh, my Goddess, it is so delicious!!!
Take a look at this. You might see the steam rising up off the pudding in the last pic. Mmmmmmmmm.
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My daughter suggested using the whipped cream in a spray can to make it look even nicer. You should try it that way. I know it would look and taste great like that! However, I just wanted to show you how I really make it.
This could also be a fun project for you and your kids to do together, once you get the hang of what you are doing. Practice makes perfect. Experience makes it easy. Experimenting with various amounts of milk and sugar, pie fillings and puddings make it delicious. I’d love to see your pics of your creations in the comments!

I’ve been tagged!

I’ve been tagged by:  http://witchofhowlingcreek.wordpress.com/

The rules are:                                                                                                                         1. Post the rules.                                                                                                                    2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.                                                                3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.                                                    4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.                                               5. Go to their blog and tell them that you tagged them.                                                          6. No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You have to legitimately tag 11 people.

11 Random Things About Me

1. I have won about 40 trophies from beauty pageants during my high school years, one being 5 foot tall, and the reason I wanted to stop doing pageants was because of my mother’s attitude if I didn’t win 1st place.                                                                               2.  I have a spider plant that I love like a pet.  She’s so easy to care for and very beautiful.  I’m currently getting one of her babies ready to give to my daughter.                                 3.  After I got married, I spent the majority of our first four years together with him on an 18 wheeler.  That’s where I spent my time learning Tarot.                                                       4.  I saw one real ghost in my lifetime.  She was in my current bedroom, standing beside my bed.                                                                                                                                 5.  One of my most prized collections are the binders in which I have written everything I know about witchcraftery.                                                                                                      6.  Instead of getting mad when someone won’t help me do something, I focus on how much healthier and fit I’ll be that the person who is not helping.                                           7.  I can write backwards in cursive.  Most people have to hold the paper up to a mirror to read it, but I can also read it backwards.                                                                              8.  My own test of my ability to read the Tarot, was to walk up to a stranger and offer them a reading.  Afterwards, I would ask them if it made sense.  Usually, they were quite amazed.                                                                                                                                 9.  I went to Cosmetology school because I liked wetting down my baby doll’s hair and rolling it up in curlers when I was a little kid.                                                                        10.  I find myself (secretly) waving hello to trees, when the wind is blowing and one catches my eye.                                                                                                                                11.  I sometimes wish bras were never invented because they can be so uncomfortable,  although I always wear one!   

11 Questions from The Witch of Howling Creek

1. What one piece of art has moved you more than any other?                                         This picture inspired me to do collages, then, I just kept going from there.

UNTITLED879.jpghttp://www.turntablebluelight.com/2008/02/claudio_parentela.html

2. If you could zip off to anywhere in the world, where would you go?                        Someplace far away from civilization, where I could be surrounded by orangutangs and wild tribes living in huts.  I feel akin to these.

3. What ingredient do you most love to cook with?                                                     Probably chicken, because you can cook it so many different ways, and spice it up all kinds of ways.  I have so many good recipes for it, the best ones being from The Caribbean Islands.

4. How do you satisfy your sweet tooth?                                                                             I’ve currently been on a kick of vanilla ice cream with a crushed up Butterfinger candy bar mixed in.  My daughter & I like to have what we call “Witches Breakfast”.  When we want to just start our day off with whatever sweets we feel like eating.  We took the idea from the movie “Practical Magic”, where one of the Aunts say, “In this house, we have chocolate cake for breakfast…”.

5. What relative or ancestor have you found most fascinating and why?                            My mother told me many times of my Great Grampa on my Dad’s side, whom of which could move tables across the floor without touching them.  He used to raise what they called back in the day “Rappin’ Spirits”, that would rap (or knock) on the bottom of the table when the group would ask a question.  My thoughts have been to find a living relative with some pictures and information about him, although I don’t have it yet.  He fascinates me.

6. What does your dream house look and feel like?                                                             My dream house is the house I live in now.  I fell in love with it the moment I walked around in it.  It had everything I wanted in a house, a fireplace with a mantle, a creek running around the back and a lot of woods in the back.  It is in dire need of repairs, but I really don’t wish to live anywhere else.  It feels comfortable to me.  It’s home.

7. What are your favorite flowers to receive?                                                                Freshly picked ones.  Blackeyed daisies are my favorite.

8. How do you connect to nature?                                                                                         By being very aware when I’m outside.  Really breathing in the fresh air, taking a good look around.  I love feeding the minnows and looking at crawdads and bugs with my grandson.  He is 2 years old.  There’s nothing better than taking him for a little climb on the hill out back.

9. Which time period do you feel a calling to?  Do you think you could have a past life there?                                                                                                                                        I like the time period that I’m living in now.  I don’t feel drawn to any other time period, however I am drawn to other cultures in a major way.  The Amish fascinate me.  I do believe that I have had past lives, but I more so could tell you what culture I was than the time period I may have lived in.

10. What is the most extravagant thing you’ve ever bought for yourself?                           I’m not really in to buying myself extravagant gifts, however, once I bought myself a very expensive pair of gold hoop earrings.  Someone stole them within three days of my buying them.  Oh well, C’est la vie.

11. Name the first word or image that comes to mind.                                              Dreams.

11 Questions from EarthMother195 to You:

1.  What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever came across?                                                    2.  What makes you stand out from most other people that you associate with?                 3.  What is your most favorite belonging?                                                                          4.  What would be the greatest advice you want to leave for others after you pass on?      5.  What do you stand up for?  What will you argue about? What drives you crazy?  What annoys you and what do you usually do about it?                                                                                                                                                6.  In what directions are you encouraging today’s youth?                                                    7.  What have you tried to change about yourself?                                                                8.  What do you think will be different in your life 10 years from now?                                   9.  What are you currently exploring/learning about?                                                           10.  What are you doing for yourself?                                                                                  11.  How do you encourage yourself?

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