Aunt Emma's Never Fail Pie Crust

3 c sifted flour
1 1/4 c Shortening
1 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
5 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vinegar

Cut shortening into flour and salt.
Combine egg, water, and vinegar in a separate bowl.
Pour liquid into flour mixture all at once. Blend with spoon until flour is all moistened.
It can be re-rolled without toughening. Will keep in refrigerator for two weeks or divide into balls enough for one pie and wrap in Saran wrap and freeze indefinitely.

Makes 2 crusts

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When in Doubt, Think Peanut Butter


It's the age-old dilemma, what to buy someone who can buy everything herself. Since marrying one year ago she's become a black-belt shopper in her own right. And even if she had remained "happy to be shopping at Ross" about twice a year, the new man in her life is happy following her around at the mall, or the vacation boutique, buying up whatever she pauses to look at for longer than 2 seconds.  This made it difficult for me to even think about finding her the right birthday present this year. What to do, what to do? 

It took me a couple of weeks and then one day, flipping through "Baking From my home to yours" I chanced a look under P in the index. (Cue the lightbulb and the trumpets) Behold the Peanut Butter Torte, page 282!  Bonus- two beautiful photographs.  This, I decided, is birthday-gift worthy! (The new husband doesn't cook. ha-ha)

There is a lengthy list of ingredients but most are pantry staples, the others are easy to find. i.e. Oreo cookies for the crust, salted peanuts, and peanut butter (Dorie recommends Skippy).

Without explaining why I needed to know, I was given a delivery time of 4:30 Saturday afternoon.  Her pending birthday plans were scheduled to commence shortly after 5. Saturday morning, over breakfast, I read the entire recipe for the first time. Yikes, the torte required a minimum 4 hour refrigeration before adding the chocolate ganache topping, and then another 20 minutes after that.   I had to get cranking!

Dorie has a fantastic way of describing the mechanics of a recipe.  I am a novice but, following her directions, my torte came out well.  I struggled a bit with pressing the Oreo crust up the sides of the Springform pan. Mine is a silicone affair with a ceramic bottom. Pushing the crumb mixture up the sides caused the silicone to flex. Still, I managed a reasonable facsimile. The fact that I didn't make the crust go all the way up didn't affect the outcome.
Thankfully, the Tupperware Transport gods were with us that day, and the Peanut Butter Torte delivery was accomplished without a hitch.  The Birthday Girl, who does not allow herself frequent dietary indulgences, was more than happy to cut into her surprise immediately. At this point I had to confess I did not accomplish quite all of the recommended refrigeration periods, and the mousse filling was a tad soft. Still, it was phenomenally delicious.  Birthday Girl thanked me and announced that Peanut Butter is her favorite.

But I already knew that.

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