My favorite pastry recipe & a hand-turned French rolling pin GIVEAWAY!
I’ve been letting you down, Gentle Readers. (hanging head in shame) Not just for a day or two, either. No. For several weeks now, I’ve been letting you down in a most cruel and disappointing way. 🙁
To wit: I promised you a wondrous giveaway once my Facebook followers got to 1,000. I think I probably (not like me, but oh well) made a big hairy deal out of it, too. Well. Boo, me. I passed that benchmark just a couple of weeks ago. I felt like cueing the trumpet fanfare and throwing the big party, but I didn’t.
Instead, I selfishly gazed at that number and felt all warm and grateful inside. Really. It felt quite grand, but I didn’t share this giddiness I was feeling. I kept it to myself.
And then I started thinking about how cool it would be when my page got 2,000 “likes.” And then I started wondering about the blogs with 250,000 “likes” or more. And I started wondering how they ever reached that many people, or if those numbers are artificially inflated in some way. And THEN I wondered if Facebook was even worth fussing so much about. After all, when I post a blog post–this is unique and fresh new material, folks!–I get this notification: “this post shown to 42 people.” 42 people? Seriously?? When I have over 1,000 “likes”? What gives, Facebook? Maybe more than 42 of my friends want to see what I post, mmmmm? Maybe I should decide what you show to my friends, hey, what about that?
Moving on. *snif*
In any case, while I pondered, I let a few weeks slip away without my promised giveaway. Well, I’m here today to rectify that situation. I try to make good on my promises, after all. I am not a promise-maker-but-not-keeper sort of an individual. In essence, my promise was not a pie-crust promise–easy to make, easy to break.
Which leads me to pie. I’ve been planning to share my pastry recipe, but I’ve got to be honest with you. I am always fiddling with it. I’m like my mom in this way. My mom changes her pastry recipe with astonishing turnover rates (no pun intended). It’s The Elna Way. She is a scientist in the kitchen, always experimenting. Never, never resting on her laurels (although her laurels are significant and worth resting on, oh yes). We are cooks who like to fiddle, we Young women. We never really feel like we’ve found the perfect combination–where pastry is concerned, at least–of shortening to flour to ice water to whatever.
We’re always fiddling.
That said, I’m here to share my current favorite pie crust recipe, and then I’m here to share my Dad’s hand-turned French rolling pin. Two things and two things only, and then–off I go to do some fall clean-up chores outside (today I’ve got to pull some poison ivy that I spotted down by the pond–yikes!–and then start the fall clean-up of my garden and subsequent building of the chicken yard taco*).
So I’m going to make this short. Really. At least I’ll give it the ole’ college try!
First, here’s my current favorite pastry recipe. And this has been my favorite for a couple of years, so I haven’t felt a need to tweak it much. I really like it. This pastry holds its shape well, yet it’s flaky and lovely, too. You pie makers will know why this is important. I hate it when people break a tooth on my pies, you know?
- 6 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup lard
- 3/4 cup ice water, more or less
- Stir together flour and salt.
- Cut in fats until pieces are pea sized. (I use my KitchenAid mixer for this.)
- Sprinkle iced water in, one or two Tablespoons at a time, tossing with a fork, until flour mixture is moistened. Don’t overwork your pastry!
- Divide into three balls. Divide each ball into two pieces. Each piece should be enough to make one crust for a pie.
- On lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten one piece of pastry. Roll from center to edges into a circle approximately 12″ in diameter. There’s your first pie crust!
- Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin and transfer to your awaiting pie plate. Proceed with making your pie!
- Important note: I always brush milk on the pastry, before I bake it, and sprinkle it lavishly with sugar. So there. It’s best that way. I guarantee it. Your money back if you don’t find this to be true.
Now about that French rolling pin I’m giving away this week. I own several rolling pins. One is a pretty vintage one with red handles that I bought at a yard sale. I never use it, I just like the way it looks. One is a homemade one that my dad made for my neighbor Audree, when we lived in Iowa. She wasn’t a baker, so she never used it, but she treasured it because she loved my dad. When she died, her family gave it to me. One is a homemade one that my Dad made for me a few decades ago, a really large one with handles that I used every day until Dad raised my rolling pin bar.
That happened the day he made me this French rolling pin.
Why do I love my French rolling pin so much? So many reasons:
- It’s light, yet it has just enough heft to handle pastry dough, bread dough, even play dough in a pinch. 😉
- It has a lovely smooth finish that cleans up easily.
- It is a Thing of Beauty, and honestly I do like to surround myself with beautiful things.
- It’s completely unique. My dad makes these beautiful rolling pins, and each one is special: no two are alike.
- It’s so slim that it will fit into the drawer underneath the board where I roll out my pastry.
- It feels like a tool that a professional pastry chef would use, not just a farm-woman-cum-domestic-hack like me.
- Sheesh, my Dad made it. Of course I love it. 🙂
Here are a few specifics for you:
- It’s made of hard maple and is hand turned, by my dad in his wood shop.
- The finish is hand-rubbed, food grade carnauba wax
- No two are exactly alike.
- These pins will be available in my store (yep, I’m getting a store!) after the giveaway is over, which is to say, in time for Christmas gift-giving!
- Special orders (different sizes, woods, design, etc.) will be available, as well.
Now . . . don’t you really waaaaant it? 😉
So, you would think that with such a great tool, my time spent in the kitchen is all happy sighs and glorious singing. But. Life is not all roses and cream for the owner of such a fine kitchen tool, Gentle Reader. Oh no.
You know you’re going into dangerous territory here. Once you have a great pastry recipe, and an awesome rolling pin, your folks are going to expect great things from you. Pies with flaky crusts that crumble on the tongue. Pot pies that bubble gently with succulent gravies. Sweet rolls for breakfast every morning. Oh, the pressure! But I know you, my Gentle Reader. You are UP to this task. You. Are.
So enter the giveaway below. Enter early, and enter often (there is an option that you can enter daily), but don’t put it off–you might just forget and then this beautiful work of art cum impressive kitchen tool will go to somebody less deserving than you.
And that, my Gentle Reader, would be a doggone shame.
Here’s the doo-dad you’ll need to click on for entering (it’s easy-peasy, don’t be shy!) . . . and good luck!!
By the way, click here to get the recipe for those lovely hand pies above!
And while you’re clicking away, click on over to The Prairie Homestead and join me at their link-up! You’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn there! 🙂
More from my site
- Granola with Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit: 5 Minute Breakfast Mission
- Going bald for a great cause, with St. Baldrick’s Foundation
I have my Mom’s old rolling pin and pastry board that are 60 years old. I like to roll out fun pastries. Play dough sounds fun too!
Amy this is a wonderful and thoughtful giveaway. So nice to have such a talented Dad too. Thanks for the chance to win
That rolling pin is awesome. And those pies look delish. Thanks for sharing.
So, at last I get my hands on your pastry recipe. I have been waiting in the shadows a long time for this. And I could really use a nice hand made rolling pin to use on the many pies in my future now that I have your secret. Now I need to go discover your recipe for the hand pies. My wife is away on the east coast with friends so the kitchen is all mine…………………for the next three days it will be the dessert capital of Racine…then she returns and it will be “back to normal” with fresh fruit and yogurt for dessert.
“In the shadows,” oh Chef, you always make me laugh will your excellent comments. Send me pictures! I want to see all the glorious desserts you’re going to make this weekend!
Ouah! Ouah! Me chercher!
My, what a wonderful giveaway! The talent of your father continues to amaze. Makes me miss my Dad. I don’t know what I will use the pin for yet – I am the world’s worst pastry maker. No, really, ask my spouse about the time I tried to make strudel. (apple strudel, of course.) It’s still a family joke.
Probably you just need a good pastry recipe, Alana, and now you have one! Also with pie crust, remember that a very light touch is essential! Never overwork it.
I only have one, an antique that belonged to my great grandmother that has only one handle. My woodworking neighbor is making itty a new handle. I would love one of your Dad’s and free is good
Fantastic and fun post. I have copied down your pie crust recipe and can’t wait to try it for the holiday season.
I love the custom rolling pins. My brother does a lot of wood work also, so I have mad respect for the craft. Congratulations on the store! That is awesome!
You’re a chef, I’d love to hear what kind of rolling pin you prefer?
Wow – that is one might rolling pin! love it 🙂
Not fair! I’m on a strict eating plan at the moment for health reasons and then you post this?!?
I LOVE baking. But I’ve never really had a go at making my own pastry. I’m definitely copying this and keeping it for when I can eat filled pastry dishes again!
Enjoyed your post, thank you.
Aww, Mel. Hopefully you’ll make your goals and you’ll be able to make a pie occasionally again soon!
Awesome post! Looks like a great recipe that I need to try 🙂 Great pics!
This rolling pin looks incredible! What a wonderful recipe too! Love your pictures of the pastries too. Thanks for sharing this with the world!
My favorite thing to make using a rolling pin are sugar cookies with my grandkids during the holidays.
I have spent days looking for hand carved wooden spoons, and now you present this! Oh my! Would love to win! Your pie dough recipe is a lot like mine. I always use lard and butter. We have a prolific apple tree so I make many pies. I freeze pie filling ahead. Thanks for the chance to win!
Hand carved wooden spoons . . . that sounds like a fun project, eh, Dad? 😉
Love you blogs. They are so homey and remind me of my childhood growing up on a farm.
I have 2 rolling pins. One from my Mom and one from my Aunt. The one I use the most has lost it’s handles. I mainly use it for making my crust for apple pies, which I will be making today.
My children got a gander at your pictures of hand pies. I am facing down a mutiny. What have you done?!
Well, started a mutiny, apparently! You’ll love them, too, Jenn!
My favorite thing. . . hmm. Hard to say! Probably pie, or scones. 🙂 Great post Mum!
I have always wanted a french rolling pin. Cant wait to try your recipe.
I use my rolling pin often. We make all of our food from scratch at my home. Breads, crackers, pasta, pie crusts and empanadas, all make good use of my rolling pin.
Crackers! Pasta! Empanadas! You’re a rockstar in the kitchen, Kelly!
So Amy, fellow lover of all things tomato, have you made a tomato tart with this pastry? I am determined to do so with some of my last fresh tomatoes of 2014! This has been a bumper crop year for many veggies in our garden. Of course, a french rolling pin made by your esteemed father would be a treasure in my kitchen – and would make all it touched delicious.
You’re the second person today who mentioned a tomato tart to me! You know what that means: I’m going to have to figure out how to make one!! I do still have tomato plants producing in my hoop house! Thanks for the idea–do you have a favorite recipe that you’d share with me? I’ll have to direct your sweet comment to Dad, it’ll make his day!
I just put about 1/3 cup of shredded cheese in an unbaked pie shell, top with one layer of sliced tomatoes, brush with olive oil mixed with minced/crushed garlic, add salt, pepper, and any other seasoning desired, sprinkle with a little (or a lot) more cheese and bake at 375 till cheese is starting to gently brown. Let it cool slightly before cutting. I usually go with an Italian cheese blend – the original recipe called for Fontina, which is wonderful but pricey-but I think any cheese would be delicious! Your parents were the most wonderful of neighbors!
My folks still miss the days when you all were their next-door neighbors, too! Thanks for this recipe, and would you mind if I shared it on my blog? I’m going to make one as soon as I can get my hands on some cheese . . . and tell me, what do you serve with this? Does it fly with your family as a main dish, or do they ask “where’s the meat?” like mine would?
Share away! Too good to keep it a secret. We usually have it as a side dish, not an entree, and it seems to taste great with about anything.
Made Tomato Tart today with your pastry and it was fantastic! But as I was putting it together, I realized that the instructions I gave you were wrong on one point. I bake the tart for 15 minutes or so before putting the cheese on top of the tomatoes. Then pull it out, sprinkle on the cheese and resume baking for another 15 minutes or until crust and cheese have the desired amount of browning. This step saves you from having to cover it with tinfoil during the last part of the baking to keep the cheese from getting too brown!
I am always trying to tweak my pastry recipe too! Though I need to break down and buy a pastry blender. I don’t always want to haul out the clunky food processor and the fork method has always proved to take me more time than I’d like! I have never tried one with lard before! I am intrigued! Your father’s rolling pin looks beautiful. I, too, love to surround myself with beautiful, and functional, items! (Especially in the kitchen!)
It’s always so nice to hear from you! I use my KitchenAid to make my dough usually, and you really ought to convince your hubby to buy you one if you don’t have one yet–yesterday would be good!
Welllll!!! That’s a toughie…Let’s see…I just made YOUR cinnamon buns, oh so good! Then made YOUR pizza, cheese bread, and the blueberry focaccia. Now you post this!!! Geezzz! You’re gonna get your readers fat!!
I make mostly tomato pies with my rolling pin which isn’t that great (rolling pin). Some how, along the way I lost my mom’s rolling pin (sick) moving and it was a good one. She’s French and she knew her pastries and yes it was a good rolling pin. And…by the way, I thought your dads initials was the date when I first looked at it (July). Anyways, will have to try this and compare with my processor pie dough. Do you actually mix all that flour in your kitchenaid? Do you use the regular paddle? Do you need the butter cold? Do you use your kitchenaid to toss the water? Sorry, so many questions. Just want to make sure before I make it.
Good questions, all of them! Here are the answers: I DO mix all that dough in my Kitchenaid, with the regular paddle. I use the butter cold. I use the KitchenAid to toss the water because I’m ALWAYS in a hurry, but I stop the mixer as soon as possible, to avoid overworking the dough. I need to go back in to that recipe and add some of these instructions. (I wrote it while I was in a hurry, natch’.)
You are very fortunate to have a father that has a creative streak. I’d love to win a hand-made rolling pin and not a factory-made one.
Absolutely, Debi, I know I’m blessed!
Please let me know if my comment went through — this was giving me issues and not wanting to publish my actual comments.
Your comment went through, thank you!
Beautiful rolling pin. I’ve purchased some beautiful wooden handmade cooking utensils from etsy over the years and just love them. I’ve mostly purchased from a gentleman in Colorado who salvages wood from many sources and includes all that information with the utensil.
Thanks Patti. I’ll pass on the compliments to my Dad. He is so good with his hands!
My family loves when I make pie.
I would love to make hand held pies with such a beautiful rolling pin. A great rolling pin does most of the work for you – not too heavy but enough weight to flatten the dough.
Agreed, J! I have tried lots of types of rolling pins and this one is just the perfect one, in my opinion. I am trying to talk my dad into making me one that is about half the length, though, for smaller jobs.
I want a lathe so I can make these rolling pins. They are simple and beautiful.
What a joy it would be to win one of your dad’s rolling pins to roll out the few pastries I make. thank you for the opportunity to win such a lovely gift.
I would love to win this rolling pin! A few years before my dad passed away I asked him if he would make me a wooden pizza peel. It’s a simple thing but to me it’s a thing of beauty to be used and display. I love to make bread & pizza (I’m not a very good pie maker though). So I use rolling pins for pizza, chapati, runzas, rosky and various pastas.
Wow, a handmade wooden pizza peel . . now that would be a treasure for sure . . . (hint hint, Dad) . . .
I just found you through a blog hop, & I’m so glad I did; good work!
Oh, & my favorite thing to make with a rolling pin is pie crust!
Diane, I’m with you!
I would love this…I am finally learning to make pie crusts. The hand pies are my next adventure.
The hand pies are so much easier than they look, Mary Beth. And the really crazy thing is, even if they look a bit (cough) rough around the edges when you are finished shaping them, if you slather enough milk on them and sprinkle them with enough sugar before you put them into the oven, they’ll be absolutely beautiful when you pull them out!
I just love to make individual pies. I guess turn-overs. My Mom use to make fried apples for dinner. Then the next night she would have her crust all ready when I got home from school. It would be all round and perfect and in a tall stack with damp paper towels between each. Then after dinner she would have the leftover fried apples on the counter ready to go. I would put the apples in and she would fold over, pinch with a fork, and drop into the hot oil. Yum. We all had plenty. I still do this same thing. So good. I have this heavy granite rolling pin I was given as a gift by a friend. I could never find my Moms rolling pin when she passed. I would love a chance at this one.
On another subject, my hens feet are gray… time to clear the hen house. That is how I found your site. I just love it!
I love making hand pies 🙂 (any and all types of fillings )
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