Here is the recipe for the Wesson Oil pie crust that Selma Williams used to make. Wesson Oil was originally 100-percent cottonseed oil. Now Wesson makes a number of oils, none of them containing cottonseed oil.

WESSON OIL PIE CRUST

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup Wesson oil
  • 1/4 cup cold milk

In a large bowl mix flour and salt. In a small bowl mix oil and milk. Make hole in center of flour and salt mix. Pour in oil and milk mix. Quickly, stir from outside in with a fork. Form into ball. Divide into two balls.

Between two pieces of parchment or waxed paper, roll each ball into 1/8-inch thick crust. Use immediately or roll crusts onto cylinders while still within waxed or parchment papers.

Then refrigerate or freeze. Makes two 9-inch pie crusts.

Here is a classic 3-2-1 pie crust by weight. That is 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat, 1 part water.

Jabari Powell makes 3-2-1 pie crusts using Crisco shortening at his MadJack's in Pittsfield. His bourbon pecan pie and his sweet potato pie won second and third places at the Hancock Shaker Village Country Fair pie contest this year and have won in the past.

Some pie makers use up to 10-ounces of fat with 12-ounces of flour. It is best to start with 3 ounces of water and see if you need more.

Butter, lard or a combination of the two make a delicious, flaky and melting crust.

3-2-1 PIE CRUST


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  • 12 ounces flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces cold fat of choice
  • 3 to 5 ounces ice water

In a large mixing bowl using two butter knives or a pastry cutter, cut fat into flour and salt until pea-size pieces form.

Little by little, using a large fork, stir ice water into flour/fat mixture until dough just barely clings together. Press into a ball.

Divide into 2 balls. Flatten each. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least an hour.

On lightly floured surface, roll fairly thick, about 1/4-inch. Fit into 9 or 10-inch pie plate. Makes 2 pie crusts.

Ice water may be used in place of cold water in this recipe.

Start with 2 tablespoons water. The butter is unsalted. It is easier to work the lard into the flour and salt using two knives.

If you are rolling crust up to keep, use waxed or parchment paper or plastic wrap.

Refrigerate or freeze.

SHAKER FLAKIER PLAIN PASTRY

From Mount Lebanon Shaker Village

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup lard
  • Cold water
  • 1/4 cup butter

Add salt to flour and sift into bowl. Work in lard with knife. Moisten dough with water so it can be handled easily. Toss out onto floured board. Roll out. Dot with butter, fold into three, and roll out again. Divide into 2 pieces for your pies or roll up and fold in cheesecloth.

Put in covered tin in cold place until needed.

This is a superior paste. Yields enough for two 8 inch crusts.

From "The Best of Shaker Cooking" by Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller.

This pie baked with a lattice top by Alexander Smith, chef/owner of Gramercy Bis tro in North Adams, won first place in the professional division. If rose water is difficult to find, use vanilla extract instead.

SHAKER APPLE PIE

From Canterbury Shaker Village

  • 3 cups peeled, sliced sour apples
  • 2/3 cup maple or white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • Pastry for two 9 inch crusts

Slice apples into mixing bowl and add sugar, cream, and rose water and mix thoroughly so that rose water will be distributed evenly. Line the pie dish with favorite pastry.

Fill with apple mixture and cover with top crust in which a few small vents have been slashed for steam to escape. Flute the edges well to keep juice from escaping. Bake in a moderate 350 degree F. oven for 50 minutes. Serves 6.

From "The Best of Shaker Cooking" by Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller.

This pie is so good it should have been a winner. The eggs poured over the lemon juice and sugar turn into lemon curd.

Perhaps a mandolin slicer set as finely as possible would cut paper thin lemon slices. Catch the juices and add them to the pie over the lemon slices before the beaten eggs.

OHIO SHAKER LEMON PIE

From North Union Shaker Village, Ohio

  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Pastry for two 8 inch crusts
  • 4 eggs

This is yet another very old lemon pie recipe which the early Ohio Shakers fashioned frequently. It reads:

"Slice 2 lemons as thin as paper, rind and all. Place them in a yellow bowl and pour over them 2 cups sugar. Mix well and let stand for 2 hours or better.

"Then go about making your best pastry for 2 crusts. Line a pie tin with some [pastry for 1 crust]. Beat 4 eggs together. Arrange slices of lemons in layers in unbaked pie shell, with sugar between each layer. Pour beaten eggs over the lemons and their juice after they are arranged. Add top crust with small vents to let out steam.

"Place in hot oven [450 degrees] for 15 minutes and then cut down heat [to 400 degrees] and bake until tip of a silver knife inserted into custard comes out clean."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The secret in making this pie is to have the lemon slices paper thin just as it says, but fruit and sugar should really stand, mixed, longer than 2 hours for best results. Overnight is ideal.

Additional sugar should be sprinkled over lemon slices, arranging them with the unsweetened juice in the pie shell. Do not skip this step. This makes the pie juicy. Serves 6.

From "The Best of Shaker Cooking" by Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller.