This lady was the best pie maker I’ve ever known.
My Grama (pronounced “Gra-ma,” no “d” sound) was also the best baker, cook, seamstress, crocheter, knitter, and crafter I’ve ever known. It seemed like there was nothing she couldn’t make. Basically, she was Domestic Super Woman.
I loved watching her in the kitchen or in her chair. In those places she made magic with her own two hands.
Every time I walked in her house I always did two things- walked over to the dining room to see what she had made for dessert and scanned the room for her latest craft project to admire.
I miss her so much it hurts. When she passed I told my mom and aunt there were only two things of hers I really wanted- her rolling pin and her pastry cloth. They were happy to oblige.
As a bonus I ended up with her apron, too. A very country classic apple themed apron she had made herself, of course.
Whenever I make a pie I put on her apron, pull out her rolling pin and cloth, and say a little prayer. I try not to cry but I usually do. And by the time I’ve rolled out the crust and formed it in the pie plate, I smile a little and think about how, even though mine get a little better each time, hers were still better.
I’m pretty sure they always will be.
Her pastry mat really helps, though. Years back, when she taught me how to make apple pie, she told me that the mat was really what made the crust good.
I sort of thought “Hmm, okay. Well that’s just one more thing to buy and store,” So I never really considered getting one of my own. After all, she was the pie maker for the holidays and birthdays and celebrations- I didn’t really make pies back then.
But now that honor has been bestowed upon me and I want to honor her each time our family celebrates.
And using that mat has made me realize that pie crusts really are better when rolled out on a pastry cloth. Here’s why:
#1 Pastry Mats mean less time spent disinfecting.
No more scrubbing my counter before rolling out the dough. The mat is used solely for dough so there’s no cross contamination, and it’s folded over so that the top (where the dough is rolled out) is on the inside and never touches the counter. Awesome.
#2 Pastry mats mean easier clean up.
No more wiping up a ton of flour from the counter top when you’re done rolling. Just shake out your mat over the sink and either fold it up for next time or wash it (if it’s been used a couple of times.) Even more awesome.
#3 Pastry mats mean the dough sticks less.
Because of the texture, the dough will stick less to the mat than it will to a countertop, so you need significantly less flour on your work surface. Which also means...
#4 Pastry mats produce a better textured crust.
Less flour on your work surface means less flour in your dough, which means a lighter, flakier crust. Yummm!
#5 Pastry mats make it easier to roll out the dough evenly.
Because there is less sticking to the work surface, it’s easier to get the dough to behave and roll out as it should. There’s less pulling and stretching where it’s sticking and more rolling out evenly.
#6 Pastry mats make the home baker feel like a pro pastry chef.
Let’s be honest, there’s a reason most people are surprised when they hear a pie crust is homemade. That shit has a bad reputation for a reason. A mat will help so much that you’re likely to cry and curse less when you’re rolling out your dough. So don’t hesitate, get yourself a mat and get ta rollin’ so you can actually enjoy making homemade pie crusts!
Where can you find these babies? Here’s one on amazon that has a sizing guide.
Or you could simply make one by purchasing some unbleached canvas cloth from a fabric store. My mat is about 36" x 26" and there is more than enough room for rolling out a 9 inch crust.
And, because I love ya and appreciate your readership here on my humble little blog, I found this article on pastry mats you might like to read as well. Lots of good info there.
Do you have any pie crust tips to share? Leave a comment below and share the knowledge…
Happy rolling and flouring friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!
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