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Fruit Pie Basics

A fruit pie is a very standard dessert recipe. This one is flexible enough to make the pie you desire. The pie crust is the same for all pies. The general filling is the same, except for the type of fruit you add. In the recipe where it says "Fruit" use one of the following:

Pie Shell

9 tablespoons butter, chilled
2-1/2 tablespoons lard, chilled
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup ice water, in spritz bottle
Approximately 32 ounces of dried beans, for blind baking

Place butter and lard in freezer for 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove and cut both into small pieces.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt by pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add butter and pulse 5 to 6 times until texture looks mealy. Add lard and pulse another 3 to 4 times. Remove lid of food processor and spritz surface of mixture thoroughly with water. Replace lid and pulse 5 times. Add more water and pulse again until mixture holds together when squeezed. Place mixture in large zip-top bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, and then press into a rounded disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place 2 metal pie pans in the refrigerator to chill.

Divide cold dough into 3 parts and shape into balls. 2 of these balls will be the bottom and the last ball will be divided into 2 smaller balls to make the crust. Cut a piece of parchment paper which would fit the inside of your pie pan then lay it flat on the table. Roll your pie bottom on the parchment and trim as necessary. Pick up and carry into the pan carefully removing paper.

Place the parchment paper on top of dough and fill pie cavity with dry beans. Press beans into edges of dough and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and beans and continue baking until golden in color, approximately 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Let cool completely before filling.

Fruit Filling

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Slowly add in the sugar, honey and lemon juice and stir until smooth. Add fruit and stir in. Turn down the heat and cover the saucepan. Let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill pie shell with fruit mixture and roll the 2nd half of the dough to cover the top or into strips to crisscross the pie. Bake the pie shell for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are just golden and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Custard filled puddings can also fill a pie shell. Mix the pudding mix according to the pie directions and pour into a half-baked shell. Bake for about 15 minutes.