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Pastry Recipes for Pies from my Grandmothers Kitchen

Updated on February 15, 2013

Making Pastry for Pies in my Grandmother's Kitchen

Yes, this is me 'rolling' pastry in my Granny's kitchen at a very tender age, many years ago, but I still use my Grandmother's pastry recipes. Learning to make pastry was fun and I still enjoy cooking; even more since I set up a guest house, Les Trois Chenes or 'The Three Oaks', in deepest, rural France.

My Grandmother, though, was brought up in the north of England and her recipes and cooking stem from those roots. She was the daughter of a professional cook who would provide fabulous food for the owner of great houses in the days of 'upstairs, downstairs', but my Gran didn't have the luxury of unlimited income. Instead, she produced much of her own food by growing vegetables and keeping hens and goats. The rest of her produce would have been grown locally and she made most of her bread, cakes, and savoury dishes including some marvellous fish, meat, vegetable and fruit pies. You can find the pie recipes below, but these are her pastry recipes. Enjoy reading them, but, you know, I'll forgive you if you decide to buy them ready-made from the supermarket!


This work by Barbara Walton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Please note that all pictures, unless otherwise stated, are copyright of the author, Barbara Walton, and are not to be reproduced without written permission

Cards and Gifts

Angel of the House Post Cards by

My Grandmother's Tips for Perfect Pastry

My Granny's notes say that pastry should be wrapped in a wet cloth and left to lie for a few hours. She reckons that the best short crust pastry is made by using equal quantities of butter and lard. She said that pastry made with baking-powder needs a 'quick' oven and it should be put into the oven as soon as it's made. To test your oven temperature, (and remember these were the days of ranges and fires!), sprinkle with a little flour. If too hot the flour will blacken, but if it turns pale brown, it will do. Put the pastry in the hottest part of the oven for 2 minutes to rise, then move to a cooler part until cooked.

To glaze pastry, brush it over with the yolk of an egg to make it deep brown, yolk and white mixed for a lighter brown, milk with a little sugar in it for just a light glaze.

She used to make heavenly short crust pastry, puff pastry and flaky pastry and I only wish that I was half as good! Still, we live in hope so read on and see more of her recipes.

Image: This is my Granny!

The Great British Pie Renaissance - Listen to Radio 4 Food Program: Life of Pie

Where have all the pies gone?

Listen to this radio programme and find out just what is happening to the 'humble pie'

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pie Birds

.... but were afraid to ask

Pie birds and pie funnels help you bake the perfect pie

Flaky Paste 1

(Yes, they did use the word 'paste'!)

1/2 lb flour, 1 tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 lb butter and whites of 1 or 2 eggs

Whisk whites of eggs until frothy and mix in the flour with about 1 gill of cold water to make a paste. Roll out and place 1/3 of butter cut into small pieces over this, sprinkle a little flour over. Fold in 3, roll out. Place a second 1/3 of butter in the same way and repeat once more.

What is a 'gill'? Well, it's 1/4 of a pint.

Flaky Paste 2

1/2 lb flour, 7 oz butter, white of egg, a little lemon juice, cold water.

Whip the egg white to a stiff froth with a pinch of salt. Add flour with lemon juice and a few drops of cold water. Roll out to about a foot. Take the 7th part of butter and divide into small pieces, and so on til all the butter is used up.

This is not, in a million years, how my Gran would have made it! - But I'm sure it'll be delicious

Puff Pastry 1

11/2 lb flour, 1/2 lb butter, 1 eggyolk, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, salt, cold water.

Squeeze the butter in a floured cloth to remove moisture. Put the flour into a bowl with the salt, make a hole in the centre and add the egg yolk, water and lemon juice then mix together. Work until smooth and roll out thinly. Put butter on one half and fold. Press the edges together. Stand in a cool place for 15 minutes. Roll out once more and then fold into three. Repeat this six times.

Puff Pastry 2

1 lb flour, 1 lb butter or lard

Mix a little salt with the flour if lard is used and make it into a stiff paste with cold water. Roll it out to the size of a meat plate and place the fat on it. After having worked it with the hand into a ball, using a little flour, put it away in a cool place for 1 hour, then roll it out 4 times; repeat this rolling out twice letting the paste lie one hour each time between each turn. Then it is ready to use.

Rough Puff Pastry

3/4 lb flour, 6oz butter, a few drops of lemon juice and some very cold water

Sifted flour is lighter, so shake through a sieve. Break the butter into pieces the size of a walnut with floured fingers; don't touch the butter. Pour in water very slowly and mix with the other hand and quickly until the pastry reaches the proper consistency. Dredge flour onto a board and rub well in. Roll out the pastry into a long strip. Fold over into three, and roll out lengthwise. Repeat four times.

See how Julia Child tackles puff pastry - (She's not dissimilar from my Gran!)

More about Julia Child and many other celebrity chefs in 101 Cookbooks by UK Celebrity Chefs

OK, what's the difference between flaky and puff pastry?

This is the answer from Wiki.answers: "The difference is the way it's made and the end result, to make flaky pastry you spread your fat a little at a time whilst repeatedly rolling and folding the sheet onto itself, this builds up lots of thin layers of pastry and these layers fluff up or flake when baked, puff pastry (sometimes called rough puff) is quicker to make as all the fat is added all at once, in knobs, or little lumps, the pastry is rolled out and the fat is randomly dispersed, when baked the pastry puffs up with lots of random bubbles."

Boiled Paste for Pies

1 lb flour, a little salt, 3 oz boiling suet, 2oz boiling lard

Mix with boiling water.

(So simple!)

Dripping Crust

1/2 lb flour, 1/4 lb dripping, pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (to counteract the flavour of the dripping).

Beef dripping is best. Shred dripping if hard. Make with cold water, rather moist as with flaky pastry.

What is dripping? Dripping, also known usually as beef dripping or more rarely, as pork dripping, is an animal fat produced from the fatty or otherwise unusable parts of cow or pig carcasses. It is similar to lard and tallow although tallow is an unacceptable flavor for shortening or cooking generally. Read more in Wikipedia

Short Crust

3 teacup fulls of flour, a 1/4 lb of butter or dripping, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teacupful of cold water, 1/2 tsp full of baking powder

Rub the dripping among the flour, add the sugar and baking powder. Make into a stiff paste with the water. Roll the paste out rather thinly.

Short Pastry for Sweet Pies

1/2 lb flour, 1/4 lb butter, 1oz castor sugar, cold water and yolk of 1 egg

Rub the flour and butter together until smooth, add the sugar and then the egg. Mix with a little cold water into a stiff paste. Roll out and use.

Fox Run Marble Board

Mason Cash Mixing Bowl, 6-Quart

Gordon Ramsay by Royal Doulton White Porcelain 1-Quart Oval Pie Dish

Fox Run Marble Rolling Pin and Base

Antique Style Balance Scale

Black

(Black)

(7" H x 9.75" W x 4.25" D)

Pfaltzgraff Winterberry 9-1/2-Inch Perfect Pie Plate with Cardinal Pie Bird

Anyone remember Mr Pastry?

Are you going to give these a go?

Let me know how you get on!

I hold up my hands and say that my pastry is not the best and I have to save time by buying it in, but I'd love to have the leisure to try to make my own flaky pastry. What an achievement. So if you give it a go, will you let me know? Send me a picture and I'll put it in the article - with an acknowledgement and link of course.

Happy baking!

Portmeirion pie dishes - A thing of beauty and the perfect gift

I was given a Portmeirion mug and plate in the distant mists of my youth, and I still have them, even now. What a perfect gift! These Portmeirion pie dishes would grace any table, and they are just so collectable.

And where in the world are we?

show route and directions
A markerLes Trois Chenes is deep in the heart of rural France -
Videix
get directions

B markerFamous for its porcelain -
Limoges
get directions

C markerBeautiful and ancient city -
Angouleme
get directions

Calling all lens masters Join our fabulous, supportive group on this facebook page: Post Your Squidoo Lenses Here Post links, network and make friends.

Why don't you leave a comment? - I'd love to hear from you

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    • BLouw profile image
      Author

      Barbara Walton 10 months ago from France

      Thank you so much for your personal thoughts about the traditional arts of pastry making. I expect soon lard will be the latest good health food fad - after all fat is back now! I'll certainly take a look at your hub, Glenis.

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      Glenis Rix 11 months ago from UK

      Sounds like we have very similar backgrounds. I was taught to make shortcrust pastry with the same ingredients that your gran used. I don't have lard in my kitchen nowadays though -too unhealthy in an age when we are far less active than our grandparents were. My Dad made hot water crust pastry for pork Pies - with disastrous results. You can read about it on my hub - Pok Pies and Sugar Pigs.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 4 years ago

      Your Grandmother sure did know her stuff; thanks for sharing. I agree with the half butter and half lard, that's the combo I use as well. Fantastic Lens!!!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      I absolutely adore pies!!!! Blessed!

    • piarejuden profile image

      piarejuden 5 years ago

      Wow..so tempting.. I am hungry for pie!! :) I am sure you are as good as your granny and that she would be real proud of you! Cheers.. great lens!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      I bet you bake one mean pie! "Squid Angel blessed."

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      I'm not much of a baker, but I sure do like reading about your gram, since I never knew one . ..

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      What a wonderful place your grandmother's kitchen must have been! Easter Blessings to you again.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Excellent, love the photos and thanks for the clip of Mr. Pastry, Debbie and I both remember him (just!). Nicely done, blessed.

    • BLouw profile image
      Author

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      @SandyMertens: Many thanks for the blessing, Sandy. Lens added.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

      Thank you for this lovely baking lens!

    • JohnMichael2 profile image

      JohnMichael2 5 years ago

      Wow ... a wonderful collection ... need to make some of these.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Thanks for adding this to my Recipes, Reviews and Food Collection lens. Wonderful work. Blessed! Please add this to my Zazzle and Blessings for November 2011 lens.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      My mons used to say the same saying your mother told you.