An Unusual Pastry Recipe


Post by community member:

I have never talked with anyone who uses a recipe like this one. It is an “easy, no-fail” pastry, but the easy part is more in the handling. It makes 5-6 single pastries, so we freeze some in single pastry balls. If you heat one of these frozen balls in the microwave on high, forgetting to put it on a lower level to thaw, it will melt into a liquid. If you then put it back into the fridge until it is firm and roll it out to use as regular pastry, it will have “failed” and will be tough and unusable. (“How do I know this?” you ask. Well, I usually have to learn things the hard way!)

How to make the Pastry:

5 cups flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound lard or shortening
1 egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
3/4 cup milk, approximately

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together until well blended. Cut in fat with pastry blender, leaving it fairly rough and not totally mixed, sort of like baby peas in flour. In a measuring cup, mix together vinegar, egg and enough milk to make 1 cup of liquid.

Add wet ingredients slowly to dry ones, stirring as gently and as little as possible. It is these tiny, unmixed pieces of fat that make the flakes in the baked pastry, so you want to keep them intact and not make it any smoother than you have to while working it and rolling it out. It will take a bit of work with floured hands to get it into a cohesive dough that can be rolled. Do not add more liquid, just take the time to gently knead it with your hands until it is just barely blended enough. It will form a good dough when mixed enough. Do not use a food processor for this or you will end up with bread, not pastry.

Divide this dough into five equal balls. Use one ball for one pastry. If making a pie with a pastry top, use another pastry for the top. Keep the trimmings, as the trimmings from all five balls should make a good sixth pastry, if gently handled. Put each ball into a small freezer bag and freeze until needed. Take out the day before to thaw. Keep refrigerated until needed. (Microwave thawing is not recommended as it is too uneven.)

Heavily flour a flat surface for rolling. This is not a cake. You can mix as much flour into it as you need to and it won’t affect the outcome. Pastry is meant to be dry, so use a lot of flour and it won’t stick to the rolling surface. Another trick to keep it from sticking while you roll it is to keep it moving. Turn the circle continuously while also adding more flour underneath as needed. If you are rolling and it feels like it might be starting to stick in one area, gently lift that corner, add more flour and turn the dough to spread out the flour under it.

If the dough starts to crack while rolling it, roll it in the other direction, leaving that crack on the outside edge. Watch the dough carefully while rolling to prevent large uneven cracks and keep it turning. When you have a ball rolled out that is the right size for your pie tin, roll it up onto the rolling pin. Lift pin and dough onto the pie tin and unroll in place. Trim edges around outside of pie tin, with about 1/2″ left over outside edge. When the top pastry is added, fold this extra edge over the top and seal with water and a fork.

This pastry can also be used for turnovers, apple dumplings, etc. etc. It’s just very good pastry.

How to make Fruit and Berry Pie Filling:

Measure how much your pie tin will hold by filling it with water and pouring that water into a measuring cup. Most 9″ pie plates will hold about 4 cups of filling.

Wash, peel, core, pit, seed, chop and generally prepare fruit and berries as you would for pie. Make enough berries to fill your pie tin, measured as above. Add from 4-8 tablespoons of flour depending on how watery this particular cooked fruit/berry usually is. Add 1-3 cups of sugar depending on the tartness of this fruit/berry and how tart you like your pies. (Any type of berry will usually need 2 cups, rhubarb needs 3.)

Stir together in a pot on the stove on medium and bring to a boil before adding to pastry. Do you often find that you have to overcook the pastry to get the filling completely done? This step will avoid that. You can even cook it halfway or completely before putting it in the pastry. Don’t add cold filling to a pastry shell and expect it to cook before the pastry burns.

If you are pre-baking the pastry shell for a custard type filling, bake it full of dried peas or beans to keep it from losing shape in the oven.

Optional ingredients–
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon–always add this to apple pies.
*REAL butter in small bits under top pastry. (Please people, use real butter here. It’s PIE, after all. What’s a few more calories…)
*Small amount of sweetened, condensed milk for creaminess or REAL cream (see “butter” above).
*Nuts or shelled sunflower seeds.
*Raisins–good with apples and nuts.
*Pineapple. (What goes well with pineapple?)
*I think a pie made with a mix of cherries and blueberries, with chopped walnuts would be heavenly! Why don’t people put nuts in pies? Or chocolate chips. What’s wrong with chocolate chips in a fruit pie? You can just add them on top under the crust, after you put in the hot filling. They would certainly go well baked with bananas. Has anyone ever made a hot banana pie–probably not. Hot fudge pie is certainly delicious, as is butterscotch pie!

Find the recipes in this post on Farm Bell Recipes to get the handy print page and save them to your recipe box:
Unusual Pastry
Any Fruit and Berry Pie Filling

You can also find Sheryl at Providence Acres.

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  1. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    I’ll have to try this one Sheryl. I’m always looking for easy pastry recipes. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. monica says:

    That poor lonely piece of pie in the last pic almost brought a tear–poor little pie–somebody eat it! I will try once again to bake another pie. I had never heard of filling the shell with beans to keep it uniform. Thanks for a great post!!

  3. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    Not to worry, it didn’t last long! lol! Pies go really, really fast here! Cakes – not so much.

    I sometimes make more than one recipe of this pastry, when I have a free day and just keep it in the freezer.

    I also make pie filling and cook it whenever I have extra fruit/berries, then freeze it ready to use. All I have to do to bake a pie is take out the pastry and the pie filling the night before to thaw, put it together in the morning and bake.

    You can freeze whole, put together pies but they have to be raw. Baked pies that have been frozen are not nearly as good. The pastry is soggy. You also have to make sure it has thawed completely before baking it or the pastry won’t be cooked in the middle on the bottom before the top is too dark.

    The exception are squash/pumpkin pies. I often bake those and freeze cooked. They thaw well overnight and are just as good as fresh ones.

  4. BuckeyeGirl says:

    OH YUM! That looks like something worth a try! It looks like a good sturdy crust and I’m thinking of using it to line some x-large muffin tins to fill with some chicken pot pie type filling… it’s too hot here till the end of the week to bake much of anything, but I’m thinking this might be a good thing! mmmmmmmm! Thanks for the recipe Sheryl!!

  5. rosemary+++ says:

    I like the idea that this recipe can also be used for apple turnovers and apple dumplings Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dede ~ wvhomecanner says:

    I’m glad to know that this recipe is here for when it’s not so hot AND I have an oven again 😉
    Deb, the pot pie sounds perfect!

  7. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    We do use this for chicken pot pie and its delicious!

  8. Moopsee says:

    I grew up with almost an identical recipe for pastry. If you skip the sugar, the depth of flavor that comes from lard is awesome. I have many people eat my crust 🙂 rather than just the filling!
    So, do try this — you’ll be super surprised how awesome this stuff is! Also, it freezes really well. My mother would make a full batch and divide and freeze for another day. Was super easy to keep rather than buying the not so good store predone ones.
    Awesome that you shared this!! WhooHooo

  9. kellyb says:


    I just made your pie crust. It is wonderful. I used it to make moon pies, peach and blueberry as well as small individual peach and blueberry pies. My oldest who doesn’t like pie of any kind has just finished her 4th moon pie. I think you’re pastry is a hit.

  10. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    I’m so glad it turned out well for you! Its so easy. Moon pies are a great idea! I make them sometimes too, with left over pastry.

    We freeze it too, in individual crust sized balls. It freezes very well!

  11. Goose Hill Farm says:

    YUMM! This looks great. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I never have luck with pie crusts….hopefully, this will be the last recipe I’ll have to try!

    Thank you!


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