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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In 4/4 Time

Or, How I Managed To Use Every Bowl in My Kitchen...

For all of you Pound Cake lovers, here's one for you. Dorie Greenspan's French version is called "Quartre-Quarts". I think this may come in handy someday when you visit France and see some cake in a bakery window labeled with this name. Thanks to me, you'll know exactly what you're getting! Thank me later...

Four-fourths means that, like our country's original Pound Cake recipe, the 4 main ingredients are measured equally.  You weigh your 3 eggs, then measure each: the flour, sugar and butter to weigh the same.  I like it.  But I don't have the patience to do that when Dorie has taken care of that for us. She states in Around My French Table that she had to tweak it a bit to manage the difference in American and French flours.  Now we can bake the same delicious after-school snack for our children. Except the only child I have left in school is many miles away in Pennsylvania, currently freezing her derriere. (I do have a few French words of my own. Actually stolen from the ballet classes of my youth.)  I'd like to bake this for Amazing Daughter right now!

I was delighted to read the recipe and see that Dorie gives a choice of flavorings: vanilla, dark rum or Cognac. Well... that sounded like an excuse to bring out my bottle of Armagnac!

This recipe goes together easily, including the whipping of the egg whites which, I have to say, no longer intimidates me!

I know this looks like scrambled eggs, but it's the cake batter with the whipped egg whites folded in.

Dorie instructs to scrape the batter into the pan. Scrape being the operative word. The batter is thick.  It is sprinkled with light brown sugar before baking.

 The cake is lightly golden and pulled away from the sides of the pan.

Three out of three tasters agree- absolutely delicious! 
The Armagnac lended a very slight flavor, not too sweet.
Dorie describes it as a dry cake by American standards but we didn't find it that way at all. Tender, moist and not needing any accoutrement.

Now, let me count the bowls:
2- separated eggs, yolks and whites
1- dry ingredients
1- sugar
1- brown sugar, prep bowl
1- mixer bowl for egg whites
1- bigger bowl for mixing egg yolks and sugar
1- even bigger bowl for adding dry ingredients to wet
1- yet even bigger bowl to allow room for folding in beaten egg whites

Sheesh!  Maybe I should have read the entire recipe before getting started!!

Check out the other Doristas experiences at:


  1. Your blog entry was so fun to read. I too dirtied way too many dishes than would seem necessary for such a simple cake. I even took a picture of the counter by the sink but it didn't make it into my blog. I didn't come by the "tsimmis" in my name by accident. I'm going to try your pie crust recipe too. I can't make a decent crust for anything.

  2. Glad you all like the recipe, your cake looks great. Tricia and I both enjoyed this one.

  3. I thought it was a great excuse to bring out the Armagnac also! I love how you wrote this post, so fun! Have a great week!

  4. Why is it that the simplest things cause the biggest mess? Cute post.

  5. I'm so with you about the bowls! I had decided to make 2 cakes (the chocolate armagnac cake that Dorie talked about on NPR) - so it REALLY made a mess. Luckily, they were both delicious!! Lovely post - and your cake looks fantastic.