Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent: Week 1

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: Telling the Christmas Story
Supplies:
  • Wreath
  • Candles: 3 purple, 1 rose, 1 white
  • Bible
  • Jesse Tree Ornaments (or pictures)
  • Chocolate/Candy (optional)
As I mentioned in my previous post, I want to take time to celebrate Advent this year and reflect upon the reason why we celebrate the season. My oldest son has entered the "why phase", and he asks questions like, "why are we putting up a Christmas tree?" or " why do we hang a wreath?". Embarrassingly enough, I don't know why we observe many of the Christmas traditions. So, I intend to investigate some of these questions over the next four weeks and share my findings with you through the "Christmas Question of the Week".

In addition to answering a weekly Christmas tradition question, I will also provide a daily reading. This corresponds closely to many Jesse Tree devotionals you can find online, but I have added my own spice to it. Using a Jesse Tree format, we will learn about who Jesus is by reading Bible stories that tell about Jesus' ancestry and life.

    Whether you have celebrated Advent your entire life or you have never thought about who Jesus is, I hope you learn something new about the Christmas story and gain deeper meaning to why we celebrate Christmas.


    Christmas Question of the Week

    Each week, I will attempt to answer a question about why we celebrate a particular Christmas tradition. I don't intend to answer all of the questions in my posts over the next few weeks, but I do hope to answer a few of the questions.
     

    Why do we exchange presents? 

    The Christmas morning gift exchange is probably my most favorite Christmas tradition. As a young girl, I remember searching the house during the month of December trying to discover my mom's hiding place for all the unwrapped presents. I would get up Christmas morning before the sun would rise and then sit in front of the brightly lit tree with the pile of presents underneath it waiting for the rest of the family to wake. As a child, the gift exchange was primarily about me: what presents did I get?

    Now, as an adult, I find just as much joy -- if not more joy -- in giving gifts as I do in receiving them. I like trying to think of the perfect gift for each one of my family members. I enjoy being creative and making a few of the gifts. And, I love seeing the expression on the recipient's face when they open the present. The reason I love the gift exchange is because I genuinely love the people receiving the gifts. But, it's much deeper than that...

    The Bible tells us that "we love because he [God] first loved us" [1 John 4:19]. The motivation for my love for others is because I know that God loved me first. He didn't love me after I did something good. He didn't love me more because I helped someone else. He loved me first; therefore, I love others. I love as a response to God's love for me.

    How do I know that God loves me? God sent His only Son to this world so that I (you) can have a relationship with Him. Not only did Jesus live among us, but He did so perfectly. And at the end of His life, He died as a sacrifice for you and me. 1 John 4:10 sums it up well: "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Propitiation means that Jesus sacrificed himself to take away our sins.

    God gave us the ultimate gift over 2000 years ago when He sent His one and only Son to this earth. So as I exchange gifts with friends, family, and neighbors, I think about the gift God gave me: Jesus. The gifts I give are simply a reflection of God's love.

    Advent Week 1 Daily Devotional

    Each day throughout Advent, my family will take a few minutes to read a passage from the Bible and talk about what it means. During this time, we will light our Advent "wreath". During the first week,  one purple candle will be lit each day during this time. The schedule below details the daily passage as well as a short description and application question. Most of this is based upon the Jesse Tree, which includes a clear, succinct overview of Jesus's ancestry and life in the Bible. Even if you don't have Jesse Tree ornaments, you can use pictures or different items around your house to represent the symbol for the day.

    Day 1 (December 1st)



    Day 1: Branch from Stump
    Symbol: Branch from Stump
    Scripture: Isaiah 11:1, Matthew 1:1-17
    Explanation:  God has had a plan since before the beginning of time. Before Jesus, a man named Jesse had a son named David. David grew up to be the king of Israel. Many generations after David, Jesus was born into the same family line. Many people anticipated and were anxiously waiting the coming of a leader, a king, a savior. But God had an even bigger plan in mind than providing a king over Israel. Jesus came to reign as The King over the entire world. 
    Question:  If you're anything like me, I get so excited about the anticipation of Christmas! The food. The presents. The music. How much of your excitement is centered on the arrival of Jesus? What ways can you refocus your attention on Christ's coming?


    Day 2 (December 2nd)

     

    Day 2: Earth
    Symbol: Earth
    Scripture:  Genesis 1:1 - 2:3
    Explanation:  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and it. was. good. God made sweet smelling flowers, vibrantly colored fish, and beautiful landscapes. Everything was perfect. It turned out exactly the way He imagined.  He put us in charge of caring for and enjoying the beauty that He created.
    Question: What are some ways you can care for and enjoy God's creation?



    Day 3 (December 3rd)


    Day 3: Apple (with Snake)
    Symbol: Apple (with Snake)
    Scripture:  Genesis 2:4 - 3:24
    Explanation: In Day 2 we learned about God's perfect creation. Today we read about the creation and fall of man. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating fruit from the forbidden tree. Since this moment, evil entered the hearts of men -- not just Adam and Eve, but everyone. This disobedience (or sin) separates us from God. God is extremely loving, but He is also just. He still loves us, but there are consequences for our actions. God is holy and perfect, and He cannot be in the presence of sin. On our own, we will never be perfect. The Good News is that we don't have to be. Christ was perfect for us! (This is a little "teaser" for the end of the story. We will discuss this more throughout Advent.)
    Question: What are some ways that you have disobeyed God?

    Day 4 (December 4th)

     

    Day 4: Ark
    Symbol: Ark
    Scripture: Genesis 6:9 - 8:22
    Explanation:  All the sin in the world made God very sad. So, He asked a man named Noah to build an ark to house Noah's family as well as two of every kind of animal. As you can imagine, this was a big boat! Then, God sent rain...and more rain...and more rain until the entire earth flooded wiping out everything and everyone except those on the ark. After the flood, God made a promise to Noah. He promised not to send another flood that would destroy the entire earth, and He sealed that promise with a rainbow. The rainbow is a symbol to remind us that God always keeps His promises.
    Question: What promises has God kept for you?

    Day 5 (December 5th)


    Day 5: Field of Stars
    Symbol: Field of Stars
    Scripture: Genesis 15:1-6
    Explanation: Abraham was a man of God, but he still doubted God. God promised to do great things with Abraham and his family (alluding to Jesus being born in his family line), but Abraham didn't know how this would be accomplished without any children. God told Abraham to look toward heaven and promised Abraham as many offspring as stars in the sky. Sometimes God asks us to trust Him and to wait patiently for His timing.
    Question: What times in your life have you questioned God's faithfulness?

     Day 6 (December 6th)


    Day 6: Ram
    Symbol: Ram (This picture is for my UNC fans;)
    Scripture:  Genesis 22:1-19
    Explanation: Abraham had a son, Isaac. Abraham loved God and his son very much. One day, God asked Abraham to do a a very difficult and confusing thing. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham didn't know why God would ask him to do this, but he loved God so much that he knew he must obey. As Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God sent a messenger to say, "WAIT! STOP!".  Instead of sacrificing Isaac, God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead. God knew his love for Him was genuine since Abraham was willing to give up his own son for Him.
    Question:  Is there anything in your life that you feel like God is asking you to give up, or "sacrifice", for His sake?

    Day 7 (December 7th)

    Day 7: Ladder

    Symbol: Ladder
    Scripture: Genesis 28:10-17
    Explanation:  Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob didn't always make the best choices, and he treated is brother poorly. Instead of facing his troubles, he ran away. He then realized that he needed to return and face his family and brother. The night before he returned home, God spoke to Jacob in a dream. In the dream angels were climbing up and down a ladder into heaven. God was reminding Jacob of the promises he had made his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham (promising a ridiculously huge family...which includes Jesus in the family line). After that point, Jacob knew that he could never run away from God; God would always be with him.
    Question: Was there a time in your life that you tried running away from God? How do you know that God is always with you? 


    ***********


    All Advent Posts: 

    Thursday, November 28, 2013

    Advent: Introduction

    Skill Level: Beginner
    Skills Attained: Telling the Christmas Story
    Supplies:
    • Wreath
    • Candles: 3 purple, 1 rose, 1 white
    • Bible
    • Jesse Tree Ornaments (or pictures)
    • Chocolate/Candy (optional)

    The Christmas season approaches, and I reflect on, "why do we celebrate this holiday?" As a Christian, even I get caught up in the decorations, Christmas cookies, and gift exchanges; oftentimes forgetting about the celebration of Jesus's birth. I have two small children, and this year my oldest is starting to comprehend the world around him. So, I want to be intentional about sharing the Christmas story with my children. Undoubtedly, this will help me refocus and recenter on Christ in the midst of the parties, shopping, and delicious food. So, over the next four weeks, I will share with you some ways you can remember and celebrate Jesus this Christmas season! 

    What is Advent? 

    Growing up in church, I heard about "Advent", but it didn't consist of much more than lighting a candle on a wreath each week during the church service. So, what is Advent?

    Advent means "coming", and in context of the Christmas season, it refers to the coming of Jesus. 

    Why do we celebrate Advent? 

    We not only remember Jesus's coming to earth as a baby over 2000 years ago, but we celebrate the anticipation of his return!

    God sent Jesus to this world because of His love for us. When God created man and woman, He designed us to be in a relationship with Him. However, sin entered the picture (and "sin" just means anytime you miss the mark, or aren't absolutely perfect). Since God is holy, perfect, and pure, sin cannot be in His presence. But God wants us to be with Him, so He knew there MUST be a way! Enter Jesus. Jesus came to earth as a man -- a baby, and lived a spotless, perfect life and died a sacrificial death for me...for you...so that we can be with God. So, if you simply believe Jesus is who He said He is (Lord and Savior) and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you can spend all of eternity in the presence of our loving Father that so desperately wants to be with you (Romans 10:9). So, when we stand before God, He does not see my shortcomings or mistakes; rather, He sees the perfection of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).

    So, we celebrate Advent to remember Jesus's coming as a baby but also the promise of His return (Acts 1:6-11)! It is because of God's love for us that Jesus came, and that is why we celebrate the coming of Christmas. 

    When do we celebrate Advent? 

    Advent commences four Sundays prior to Christmas day and runs through December 24th. Some years Advent contains only 22 days, and other years there are as many as 28 days. In 2013, Advent begins on Sunday, December 1st, so there are 24 days in Advent this year. 

    Advent may be observed once each week, but it is meant to be celebrated daily. So, over the next few weeks, I will be posting a weekly schedule that will include include daily events for the following Sunday through Saturday. There will be four posts, plus one on Christmas Day: 

    How do we celebrate Advent? 

    There are many ways you could observe the Advent season:
    • Read Biblical passages highlighting the story of Jesus. 
    • Incorporate fasting. 
    • Study an Advent devotional. 
    • Light an Advent wreath. 
    • Hang a Jesse Tree (which, according to Wikipedia [very reliable source;)], is a depiction of Jesus's ancestry). 

    I don't want to bite off more than I can chew the first year I incorporate this tradition into my family, so I will start small and simple; easy enough for my children to understand and appreciate. I simply want my children to learn about the story of Jesus and why we celebrate Christmas. So, we will do a mish-mash of things. 

    Advent Stockings
    We will light an Advent wreath and read through Biblical passages that correspond to the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree has daily ornaments (or pictures) that walk you through the story of Jesus. I may also include some devotional questions geared for adults. In honor of my German heritage, we will enjoy delicious chocolate each day from my Advent stockings I made a few years ago. 

    As the years roll on, my hope is that my family looks forward to celebrating Advent and hearing about the story of Jesus and what that means in our every day lives. 

    No matter what age you are, I hope you enjoy these series of posts, and that you learn a little bit more about Jesus's coming to earth as a man as an expression of God's love for us, not to condemn us but to save us. [John 3:16, 17]

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Apple Pie


    Skill Level: Intermediate
    Skills Attained: Pastry Dessert
    Supplies/Ingredients:
    • Pie plate
    • Butter knife
    • Pie crust
    • Aluminum foil/pie crust covers
    • Medium-size bowl
    • 6 c. (about 2 1bs.) Apples (prefer tart apple like Granny Smith or Mutsu)
    • 1 T. Lemon Juice
    • 1/4 c. White Sugar (additional for sprinkling)
    • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
    • 2 T. Flour
    • 3/4 t. Ground Cinnamon
    • 1/8 t. Ground Nutmeg
    • 1/8 t. Ground Cloves
    • 1 t. Milk
    • 2 T. Butter 
    Like many Americans, Thanksgiving is probably my favorite meal of the year. But, it's not because of the turkey (Actually, turkey is probably my least favorite meat.), mashed potatoes (I think I prefer a loaded baked potato.), or even the stuffing (In fact, I truly dislike "wet bread", but don't get me going on that tangent.). The reason I love Thanksgiving meals so much is for the pie! I do enjoy pumpkin pie, but I actually prefer apple or pecan. So in this post, I will share with you a recipe for my most sacred and prized dish: apple pie.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, "Pie Crust", making a pie sounds like a very intimidating task. Fear not!  My hope is that this post and the last post equip you with all the knowledge and resources you need to make your [perhaps very first] pie. Let's dig in...

    ******

    Before you begin the pie filling, make your pie crust, wrap it in plastic wrap, and stick it in the refrigerator. This allows the pastry to chill sufficiently while you prepare the filling. 

    To begin the apple filling, peel and slice your apples. Certain types of apples are better for cooking than others. You want to find a tart apple that isn't too sweet. My favorite apples to use are Granny Smiths. Recently, I used Honey Crisp and Mutsu, and I found those to be equally tasty. I also like to use a combination of apple types: a few Granny Smiths and a couple Honey Crisp. Go wild. Get crazy. ;) 

    As the pictures show, slice about 2 pounds of apples about 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick until you have 6 cups. If the apples are too thin, the fruit can overcook and get mushy. If the apples are too thick, the fruit may not cook enough and be too crisp. 


    Once your apples are cut, place them in a medium size bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This prevents the apples from turning brown. Then, add the following dry ingredients: (Note: You may want to increase the amount of sugar depending on the tartness of your apples. I don't like overly sweet pies, so 1/2 c. of total sugar is on the low end of what I would recommend. Use your discretion.)

    • 1/4 c. White Sugar 
    • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
    • 2 T. Flour
    • 3/4 t. Ground Cinnamon
    • 1/8 t. Ground Nutmeg
    • 1/8 t. Ground Cloves

    Gently toss the ingredients to coat the apples. 


    Take your pie dough out of the refrigerator. If the pastry is not pliable, let it sit for a few minutes. Roll out the pie crust and place over your pie plate. Pour the cinnamon-sugar fruit mixture into the pie crust.


    Cut 2 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and place on top of the apple filling. Roll out the pie crust for the top and drape it over the top of the apple mixture. (For more detailed instructions, read my  "Pie Crust" post.)


    Next, you need to seal the top and bottom pie crust together by crimping, or fluting, the edge. There are a variety of ways you can flute a pie crust, but I prefer using my fingers to crimp the edges. Once the pie is sealed, cut away the excess crust with a knife. (For more detailed instructions, read my  "Pie Crust" post.)


    Using a knife, cut slits into the top of the pie crust so that air can escape while baking. This will help prevent the pie from blowing up in the oven. (Always a good thing.) Here's a chance for you to get creative. I attempted to cut a flower on the top, but art was never my strong suit. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of milk and sprinkle with sugar. 


    Using aluminum foil or pie crust covers, cover the edge of your pie to prevent burning. Place the pie into a 375 degree preheated oven. Place aluminum foil beneath the pie in case the filling overflows. You could also use a cookie sheet, but then you would have to scrub the mess. I prefer the foil because you can simply throw it away. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. Remove the pie crust cover and bake for another 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. 


    Enjoy your delicious apple pie!


    Generally, most fruit pies follow the same recipe. However, some fruit (like peaches) create more juice when cooked. This may create a runnier pie filling, so you may need to add a thicken agent such as flour, cornstarch, or dried tapioca. Additionally, some fruits are sweeter than others, so you would alter the amount of sugar added. 

    I hope you feel equipped and ready to bake 
    your pies for Thanksgiving! 

    Please share your pie-making experiences. If you made your first pie, please tell us how it went! 

    ****

    Apple Pie Recipe:
    • Pie Crust
    • 6 c. (about 2 1bs.) Apples
    • 1 T. Lemon Juice
    • 1/4 c. White Sugar (additional for sprinkling)
    • 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
    • 2 T. Flour
    • 3/4 t. Ground Cinnamon
    • 1/8 t. Ground Nutmeg
    • 1/8 t. Ground Cloves
    • 1 t. Milk
    • 2 T. Butter 
    1. Prepare pie crust, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator while making pie filling. 
    2. Peel and slice 6 c. of apples about 1/4" - 1/2" thick and place into a medium-size bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. 
    3. Add dry ingredients (sugars, flour, and spices) to apples; toss until apples are coated. 
    4. Roll out the pie dough and place over your pie plate. Pour the cinnamon-sugar fruit mixture into the pie crust.
    5. Cut 2 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and place on top of the apple filling. Roll out the pie crust for the top and drape it over the top of the apple mixture.
    6. Seal the top and bottom pie crust together by crimping, or fluting, the edge. Cut away the excess crust with a knife. 
    7. Using a knife, cut slits into the top of the pie crust. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of milk and sprinkle with sugar. 
    8. Using aluminum foil or pie crust covers, cover the edge of your pie. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. Remove the pie crust cover and bake for another 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Pie Crust



    Skill Level: Intermediate
    Skills Attained: Pastry-Making
    Supplies/Ingredients:
    • Medium mixing bowl
    • Fork/Pastry Blender/Food Processor
    • Rolling pin
    • Butter knife
    • Plastic wrap
    • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling dough)
    • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ pound (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
    • ¼ cups vegetable shortening
    • 1/3 cup ice water
    If I had to choose a “signature piece” as a homemaker, I would hands-down choose the apple pie. My mother taught me how to make an apple pie when I was a young girl (around 9 years old). She used a basic recipe from her Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Nothing fancy, but it always turned out so delicious! Mom's pies were quite the crowd pleaser at the Thanksgiving table. I even won a blue ribbon at the local fair for this confectioner’s delight. (This proved to pay off with dividends later in life as the pie’s blue ribbon status peaked the interest of my now husband when we first started dating.) My recipe evolved slightly from the recipe my mom used. I have made enough pies to tweak it to my liking. 

    I hear concern about how difficult it is to make pie crust. I admit that making pastry is more labor intensive than opening the package of a pre-made crust from the store. However, I believe more people could do it than give themselves credit, and the buttery, flakey pay-off is oh-so incredibly worth it! My hope is that this post will not only inspire you but also give you the confidence to attempt the apple pie. 

    I'm going to split this dish into two posts: Pie Crust and Apple Pie. This week, I will explain how to make a pie crust. Next week, I will provide instructions on how to make the filling and assemble the pie. This post is a bit longer than usual, but I want to equip you with all the information you need to attempt pastry dough. I have provided written step-by-step instructions with pictures below, but if you prefer learning by video, there is a video you can watch as well. This is a longer video, but it's very thorough. I'm just learning how to use movie editing software, so I tried to spruce it up as much as possible for your viewing pleasure.



    If you read any pastry recipe there are three main ingredients: flour, water, and some type of fat (i.e., butter, margarine, vegetable shortening, lard).

    Fat

    Due to the heightened skepticism of trans fat, you may be uncomfortable with the idea of using vegetable shortening. That is absolutely okay. Exclusively using vegetable shortening can be a little easier to work with, but the crust will lack flavor. You may see recipes that call for a combination of shortening and butter, which enhances the flavor. Using all butter in the crust makes an extremely rich, flavorful crust, but it can be more difficult to work with. In my experience, you can substitute equal parts shortening and butter if you want to experiment with what works best for you. Now, I have never personally made a pie with lard…for a number of reasons. First, it is not a common item found in the store, but also, it just sounds gross to me. However, I do know people that swear lard provides a taste that you can’t beat.

    Flour

    You can also modify the recipes by adding sweeteners, ground nuts, whole-wheat flour, or cornmeal. For the apple pie, we will stick with basic all-purpose flour. I like to substitute cornmeal when making blueberry pies. 

    Water

    I am sure you can get extremely fancy with using bottled water, distilled water, or purified water, but I use plain tap water. 

    The recipe I use most often is taken from The Joy of Cooking ("Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough". The Joy of Cooking. Rombauer, Irma S., Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. Page 862 -864. 1997.). Below are the ingredients for my pie pastry. This yields two 9” pie crusts (one for the top and one for the bottom).

    • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling dough)
    • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ pound (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
    • ¼ cups vegetable shortening
    • 1/3 cup ice water

    Mix dry ingredients with
    pastry blender
    To mix the ingredients, you can combine the ingredients by hand in a bowl (with a fork or a pastry blender), or you can use a food processor. Although the food processor makes this process incredibly quick, my piecrusts have not turned out as flakey when I use this machine. I prefer using a fork or pastry blender to mix the ingredients.

    In a large bowl, mix together all of the flour, sugar, and salt. Using the tines of a fork or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the mixed dry ingredients. 





    Cut cold butter into small cubes
    Cut butter and shortening into mixed
    dry ingredients with pastry blender
     until butter is pea-sized pieces form
    To expedite this process, cut the sticks of butter into cubes before adding them to the mixing bowl. Continue cutting the butter into the flour mixture until pea-size pieces form. Add the vegetable shortening, and continue cutting with the fork until the shortening is distributed evenly throughout the mixture.



    Water will now be added to the flour and butter mixture. Pour 1/3 cup ice water over the mixture. Continue cutting the mixture with the fork until the mixture is evenly moist and the dough starts to stick together. Stop mixing once the majority of the flour is no longer dry. If the pieces do not stick together, add one additional tablespoon of water (up to 3 tablespoons) and combine until the pieces stick together.


    Pick up the mixture with your hands and form one large ball. The ball should not be smooth but rather look a little rough. 


    Divide the dough in half (one section will be used for the bottom crust and the other for the top crust). Form the dough into a disc-shape and wrap with plastic wrap. Place the dough discs into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out the crust. 



    Remove the discs of dough from the refrigerator. If the dough was in the refrigerator for more than 30 minutes, let the dough sit on the counter until it is pliable. For less experienced pastry-makers, liberally flour your rolling surface. (This can be on a clean counter-top.) As you gain more experience, you will require less flour. You want to ensure that your pastry does not stick to the surface, but the more flour you use, the less flakey your crust will be. Place the disc of dough on the floured surface. With a rolling pin, begin rolling the crust. Take one stroke in one direction, and then turn the pin 90 degrees and roll the dough again. Continue this process until your dough is approximately ¼ inch thick. Your dough will not be a perfect circle, and that is okay! Simply ensure the finished shape is about 3 inches larger on all sides than your pie plate. So, if you are using a 9” pie plate, then make sure your dough is roughly a 12” diameter circle.

    Lightly grease your pie plate. (I use any type of cooking spray, but you could use butter or shortening.) Using the rolling pin, roll half of the pie crust onto the pin. Slip the pie tin under the crust, and slide the dough into the pan. Gently press the pie crust into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Do not cut the excess crust from the pan at this time.



    If you are making an "open face" pie without a top crust, place your filling into the pie and flute the edges (see instructions below).

    If you are making a pie with the top crust, place your filling into the pie, and roll out the second half of your pie dough per the instructions above and slide the rolled out dough on top of the pie. Crimp the edges to ensure the top and bottom crusts are sealed.

    There are a number of ways you can flute the edges of your pie crust, but I generally just use my fingers as you can see in the picture below:

    Crimp the edges of your pie crust
    with your fingers
    Finally, using a knife, trim the excess crust away from the pie.

    Trim away the excess crust from the pie
    You can use this crust for any type of pie you would like to make. One of my favorite pies is apple pie, so next week, I'll share my apple pie recipe. Hopefully, you feel prepared to add this pastry crust to your arsenal of Thanksgiving recipes!

    My next post will include instructions on how to make an apple pie. Until next time...

    ******

    Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough (The Joy of Cooking)

    • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling dough)
    • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ pound (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
    • ¼ cups vegetable shortening
    • 1/3 cup ice water
    1. Using a fork or pastry blender, mix flour, sugar, and salt. 
    2. Cut butter into cubes with a knife and add to flour mixture. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces of butter are pea-sized. Add the shortening to this mixture and continue cutting ingredients using the fork or pastry blender. 
    3. Add ice water to mixture and combine until the ingredients are evenly moist; the mixture should not be too wet, but there should not be a lot of dry flour in the bowl either. Be careful not to over-mix the ingredients. If there is a lot of dry flour that remains, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. 
    4. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and form a ball with your hands. 
    5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 
    6. When you are ready to make your pie, unwrap the dough from the plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out your dough.