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Jan 27, 2012 06:16 PM

I've never made a pie crust. Is there anything that intimidates you so much you won't try to make it?

Also...meringue...the kind that goes on top of pie. These are just two things that frighten me.

You guys make your own pasta and Worchestishire sauce and cheese. Have you no fear?

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  1. I was afraid of pie crust well into my fifties. now I make it with some confidence. it is a skill which can be learned.

    3 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom

      Any tips? Maybe in my 51st year I will try and tackle it!

      1. re: Bliss149

        check out pie crust 101 and 102 on Smitten kitchen. easy as.......
        you can do it!

        1. re: magiesmom

          Yes, Vodka helps (not drinking it...well, maybe that helps too). But sometimes, the dough gets so soft I need extra flour so it doesn't fall apart when I lift it.

    2. I'm afraid of making a lot of the fermented stuff. I MIGHT try to make kimchi one day, but I doubt it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: twyst

        Oh that is hysterical that you mention kimchi. I LOVE KIMCHI so much I often eat it with breakfast and was recently fantasizing about how good it would be homemade.

        But yeah. Na ga happen.

        1. re: twyst

          Definitely recommend giving kimchi a try. As long as you get the authentic gochugaru and gochujang (korean pepper flakes and paste) it will turn out just fine. We use napa cabbage and love it.

        2. Pastry stuff in general is a little scary for me. I'm ok now with pizza dough and fresh pasta but still scared spitless about trying stuff like filo dough and puff pastry. Way too technical, delicate and finicky for a guy who doesn't really like to measure anything in the first place. :)

          5 Replies
          1. re: Jzone

            Measuring! Yes! So much easier to cook things that have a wide tolerance for error.

            1. re: Jzone

              Puff pastry is relatively easy to make and its 5x better than what you will buy, but I would never think of trying to make my own phyllo dough because it isn't worth the frustration.

              Ive never really understood why the thought of making pie can reduce an otherwise great cook to a quivering mass but Ive been making pie crust since I was in high school.

              Successful pie crust in my opinion is careful measuring and handling the dough as little as possible. You cant be afraid of it but you don't want to overwork it. I think that many people try to roll it out too thin or they don't give it enough time to rest in the refrigerator.

              I am intimidated by Chinese and Indian dishes.

              1. re: Kelli2006

                Chinese scares me but for some reason Indian doesn't.

                Indian to me was mostly a matter of getting all the spices and ingredints. (Wish I could share mine with you...I went to Indian grocery and now have lifetime supply of each spice.)

                I have an Indian cookbook called "5 spices, 50 dishes." Good way to get your feet wet without large investment in the ingredients.

                P.s. Maybe part of it for me is not having a lot of history and conviction about homemade being that much better than store bought. I can only think of one pie from a little town in Arkansas that I KNEW was homemade crust and I bet it had lard in it because it was so *&^%$% GOOD!!!!.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Kelli--funny, but I made puff pastry just once and didn't think it was worth the work, so I buy frozen. I DO make my own phyllo, tho! Piecrusts don't scare me, neither do yeast breads or naan/chappati/poori, etc. Can't really think of much I'm afraid to make, other than not making just 'cause I don't care for the product.

                  1. re: pine time

                    I don't find traditional puff pastry to be worth the time and effort, so I usually make a quick puff that is similar to pie crust that's been rolled and folded. It puffs as much as frozen, but is cheaper and tastier.
                    I made my own phyllo a couple of times, but didn't think it was better (or worth the time) so I'm back to frozen.

              2. Yes, but I've made piecrust since I was quite young. I never could get the hang of yeast bread or rolls, at least reliably. Picrust for me was pretty easy.

                I think I've written before about being thoroughly intimidated by expensive cuts of meat. I would never attempt a standing rib roast, for instance. In the first place I would never spend money on such an expensive cut; and secondly I would be extremely anxious about ruining it. (I could do a steak--if I could afford one.) I don't know how to do ribs, beef or pork, either. I'd like to do a pork shoulder some time; but there is the expense. So for me, certain cuts of meat are very intimidating.

                9 Replies
                1. re: sueatmo

                  Watch for sales on pork shoulder. Around Easter or Thanksgiving, our supermarket has those "free turkey" deals if you spend enough in a couple-month period. It used to be easy for us to make the cut. BUT one year they allowed you to sub an alternative -- pork shoulder. I did it low and slow in the slow cooker (not having a smoker) and it was delicious. And I've seen it on special very, very inexpensively. So don't be afraid of it as an expensive cut!

                  1. re: eamcd

                    I think of it as a big cut, therefore expensive. I've never seen a pork shoulder that was not expensive. And my slow cooker isn't that large, either.

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      Grocery stores in my neighborhood often run specials on pork shoulder for as little as $.99 a pound - it's usually more like $1.50-$2/lb, though. I rarely find one smaller than 8 pounds, and they're often larger, so yes, it can look on the surface as though it's an expensive cut. However, one pork shoulder will make like 20 meals, and that's for people who like to eat a lot of meat, so when you break down the cost per meal it's really a pretty good value. I do it in the oven, low and slow - you get delicious crispy "bark" along with succulent meat that way (whereas in the slow cooker you don't get the crispness).

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        I agree that it might be a good value. There are only the two of us, so I'd have a lot of meat to store or consume. I'll have a look in the next few weeks, but in my observation, the shoulder would be quite expensive taken out of one week's food budget. Also my slow cooker is not large.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I do my food budget by the month, it works out better. At least on paper! There are only two of us too (if you don't count the cats!)

                          I cook pork shoulder all the time, I do it in the oven in an iron pot. The cheapest I got it lately was $1.19/lb. Used to always be 89 or 99 cents. After it's cooked, and sauced, I put several containers in the freezer then pig out on the rest, It's totally worth it.

                  2. re: sueatmo

                    At Christmas I spent $86 on a prime rib and messed it up. But I learned what not to do next time.

                    So I would say start small if you can.

                    And if you do prime rib,
                    (1) make sure you find the damned twine you think you have BEFORE it's time to cook
                    (2) sit down and figure out EXACTLY what time you need to take it out of the fridge and put it in the oven, etc. Not just some VAGUE idea about taking it out sometime in the morning.
                    (3) Find out how you're supposed to carve the doggone thing BEFORE it comes out of the oven.

                    Despite the mistakes, It was still eaten every bit - I just had to work at it and the raw parts gushing blood were a little disturbing for Christmas dinner.

                    1. re: Bliss149

                      Here's a prime rib tip: Ask the butcher at your market or store to "Newport" it for you. He/She will cut the bones off then reattach them with butcher string. That way you bake it whole, then undo the strings and easy slicing without the bones. Cook gets to gnaw on a bone while the meat rests.

                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                        Thanks both for the tips. I just can ' t afford a fine cut of meat. It isn't in the budget. An article in the paper today said that beef would continue to increase in price. Overseas demand is up, and drought has reduced cattle in TX and OK.

                    2. I still have nightmare flashes of embarassment and humiliation, from 1976, when I brought my from-scratch apple pies to my girlfriend's very Italian family Thanksgiving dinner. My pies were so purdy, what with nicely ribboned edges and an egg wash glaze. But the pastry top was like a turtle shell. It couldn't be cut by anything less than a chain saw. At that moment I wanted to crawl under a rock. Then my girlfriend's father did a full belly laugh, and asked for the canolis and other Italian desserts to be brought on. As if he expected my failure, and my moment of shame, and then they would all return to their normal.

                      The romance didn't endure, but Al, the father, resonates as one of the greatest persons I have ever had the privilege of knowing. But I flunked pie 101, at the wrong time.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Veggo

                        Knowing the very Italian families I've grown up around, they didn't have the Italian desserts because that expected your failure, they had them because it wouldn't have been a holiday without them! I haven't been to an Italian holiday meal without an abundance of each course, and especially desserts!

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Nice story Veggo! I bet the filling was tasty, even if the crust was rock hard and 'purdy'!