But not bad for a first (post goal-setting) try, anyway! (Experienced pie bakers are admonished to stop laughing. I'm very sensitive here!) :)
I have made pie crusts before, but it's been largely a discouraging experience, and I have heretofore avoided even trying--especially since I actually like Pillsbury pre-rolled dough well enough. But I have tossed down the gauntlet, and I am ready to face the challenge!
If nothing else, it was worth The Chief's reaction, coming in from chopping wood to see an unexpected, freshly-baked cherry pie waiting for him! :)
I used butter-flavor Crisco, only because my mom used to use a product called "Fluffo," which was yellow (but not butter-flavored), and I always liked the golden color of her pie crusts. (They stopped making Fluffo when they came out with butter flavor Crisco. I have it on good authority that Fluffo was the result of a manufacturing error that was subsequently successfully marketed; my mom claims that she has never before or since found a shortening that made as good a crust. So I'm blackballed from the start, I guess!) (At least, that's my excuse!). I also used ice water, since I heard that was better for keeping the Crisco at the proper temperature. (I thought the dough seemed a little too wet--not sure if it was the shortening, house temperature, or too much water.) Next time, I'll go with traditional Crisco. For the salt, I crushed some good Kosher salt with a mortar & pestle, and then added that to the flour.
I tried really, really hard not to over-handle the dough. I rolled it out on a piece of floured parchment, on the back of which I had drawn a circle of the size I needed. I sprinkled the top with flour, then rolled out the dough under a piece of Saran Wrap. I really liked how this eliminated sticking and ripping the dough--it also made it really easy to place the dough in the pie plate without ripping it. (I took it off the parchment and folded the dough into quarters, plastic wrap side in.)
Making the edges pretty will take a great deal of practice, and at present I'm not demonstrating much of an aptitude for the artistry involved. (The Chief has graciously volunteered to dispose properly of any practice pies I care to make.) :)
And the verdict:
Color: Nice golden brown.
Appearance: Baking greatly improved the appearance of my sad efforts at fluting, at least! And I wimped out on trying to create a pretty design with the steam vents. Functional, but not especially pretty.
Flavor: I thought this was pretty tasty, but the butter flavor made me think of cookies. The Chief thought it was an exceptionally tasty pie crust as well. (For future reference: He really likes the glaze on Hostess Fruit Pies.)
Flakiness: Very flaky--even the bottom crust was noticeably flaky--not soggy or doughy as bottom crusts sometimes can be. The crust edge--due to my dearth of fluting skills, was very thick and a little bit doughy in the center--I kept way too much extra dough in an unsuccessful fluting effort.
Overall Pie Taste: Here I defer to the Chief--I'm not a fan of canned filling, but he is! He found the density of cherries to be excellent, not too much filling. When I poured in the can, however, I thought the amount looked pretty scant (though it was the exact amount the recipe called for).
Everyone ate every last bit of pie on the plate, with Taz even trying to get the fallen flakes onto his thumb to eat them, too! I'd say that qualifies as high praise--I've seen them all leave crust behind in the past. To quote the Chief: "I would rate this very high--8 1/2 or 9 out of 10." Compared to my mom's, though, I'd only give it a 6 or 7 (My mom doesn't like to make pie crusts anymore (!!), and the Chief has never actually tasted hers). But I agree, it was pretty good in the flavor department.
The real test, I'd say, would be to offer my best results to my parents and brothers and sisters, and see what they think. (I'll be seeing them all in July--O! The pressure!) :)
Meanwhile, I think I'm off to a pretty good start!