Today is my son Andy's birthday. Andy LOVES these. Whenever I'm visiting him, I try to make them for him. He will eat them all in one sitting, unless he rations them, which he has been known to do. Even then, he eats them up pretty fast!
When I was growing up (did I ever really do that?), my Mom always used the leftover scraps of pie crust to make little cookies. (My Mom and Dad were children of the depression - they used everything.) Mom made the most amazing pies - the crust was always perfecto. She used lard in her pie crust, which in today's world is a ginormous No-No. I'm sorry, but if you want really flaky pastry, NOTHING can really take its place in a basic pie crust recipe.
So, if lard is out and shortening is in, the real trick to flaky pie crust is not in the ingredients, it's in the mixing. USE YOUR HANDS!!
Basic Pie Crust
2 c. flour
1 t. salt
2/3 c. + 2 T. vegetable shortening
6 T. cold water
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the shortening and work it into the flour with your hands until it is crumbly and the pieces are about the size of peas.
Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the water. Again with your hands, work the water into the flour mixture until moistened - DO NOT OVERWORK IT!
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and set one half aside. On a well-floured surface, roll out the other half until very thin. Repeat with the second half.
This recipe is enough for a 9 in. 2 crust pie or several cookies.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice rolled-out dough into 1 inch strips and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until set and very lightly browned.
KEEP AN EYE ON THEM - THEY BURN EASILY!
If you've done it right, they will melt in your mouth and you will find a use for those leftover scraps. But you must promise to think of Andy when you make and eat them.