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Secrets to piecrust and pastry

It’s all in the crust

While Mary Berry makes it clear she was never much help to her mother, Tanya, in their Henry County farmhouse kitchen, she says, “I must have been watching.” How else can she explain the first time she made piecrust? “I remember vividly making my first pie. It never occurred to me to buy a crust. I had never seen anyone buy a crust,” she recalls.

Berry, now executive director of The Berry Center in New Castle and a farm wife, said she was surrounded by good cooks growing up. “My Grandmother Berry was a wonderful cook. She was a great pie maker and a great biscuit maker. She made a strawberry shortcake that was layered pie pastry with strawberries and sometimes ice cream or whipped cream. Oh, gosh, it was good.”

Mary’s mother, a good cook, “is also a great gardener,” Mary says. “She figured out how to use the food she was raising in inventive ways. She didn’t waste much. She made our yogurt, she made our cottage cheese, she made our butter. She is something.”

Working full time and traveling a lot, Mary says she can’t cook like her mother does. But she still likes to cook and there’s homemade food for dinner every night. And Mary still loves to bake. She makes her piecrust with good lard if she has it and butter if she doesn’t. “I think lard makes all the difference in piecrust and biscuits,” she says.

Mary’s Chocolate Pie

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

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