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Step-by-Step with Mary Crafts: Mom’s Perfect Pie Crust

By | Ask Mary, Food, How To, Recipes, Tips

Pie is the truly iconic American dessert, but very few people know how to do it well. The novice baker may spend most of their time perfecting the pie filling and spend little time and attention on the crust. However, a true pie maker and connoisseur knows the greatest pie joys lie within a well-made crust. Remember, there is no such thing as a good frozen pie crust from the grocers freezer. But, practice makes perfect and soon you can become an excellent pie maker!

For a single pie crust (for 8 or 9 inch pie) you will need the following:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp lard* (room temperature)
2 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup ice water (approximately)

Click here for a printable version.

*IN PRAISE OF LARD: No other fat can compare to real lard in a pie crust. If you need to substitute Crisco for the lard, don’t add the butter, just use straight Crisco. The crust will still be flaky but without the buttery flavor.

If you plan on making a two crust pie (crust on top and on bottom) simply double the above recipe. Or, if you’d prefer, my mother always made a “French Apple” pie which replaces the top crust with a crumb mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup butter mixed until crumbly. Increase baking time 10 minutes.

Okay, let’s get started!

Blend the lard and butter together to create the perfect fat. Chill until cold (you’ll want to chill your butter and lard mixture between every step. Your flaky and delicious crust depends on your fats staying cold.)

Cut the lard/butter mixture into small pieces. In mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.

Using your fingers, pastry blender, or two knives, work quickly to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles small grains of rice. You can use a food processor but you have to be super careful to not over mix. Chill until cold.

Once your mixture is cold, sprinkle the cold (ice cold) water over the flour mixture, one tablespoon at at time, and lightly toss with a fork after each addition. The dough should come together as dough but it should NOT be wet. Just make sure there isn’t any loose flour at the bottom of your bowl. Do not over mix.

Form the dough into a flat disc (if you’ve doubled the recipe for a two crust pie, split the dough in half and make two flat discs). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes before rolling.

Flour your surface. I like to use a pastry cloth for my floured surfaces, this decreases the amount of flour needed to ensure my dough doesn’t stick. Roll dough into a circle approximately 2 inches larger than your pie plate. Crust should be approximately 1/8 inch thick.

Place the upside down pie pan in the center of the dough. Cut out the circle with a knife or pizza wheel to be an inch larger around the pan. (If you’ve made a second crust, repeat this process and set your rolled and sized dough aside.)

Fold circle into fourths and place in pie pan, unfold to cover pan.  Lightly press crust into pan. Fold excess dough under on the rim of the pie plate. Crimp edges with fork or pinch between thumb and forefinger to form an edge that is higher then the plate to catch any juices that begin to bubble. Chill until cold.

Your crust is now ready for filling and either a double crust or crumb topping. Fill your cold crust with you filling and top with your choice topping.

If you chose the crumb topping, skip the next two steps. For the double crust pie, you will want to tuck the top crust between the bottom crust and your pie dish. Place some pressure on the two crusts to secure.

After your crust is tucked and secured, pinch or crimp the edges of your crust to seal completely. With a pastry or pairing knife cut a large “S” in the middle of the pie along with a few other slits around the top for steam to escape. Sprinkle generously with sugar.


Place pie on the lowest rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking 35 more minutes or until juice is bubbling out of the center vent which indicates the juice has thickened. Five minutes before it is finished baking, brush the top crust with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Tip for a crisp bottom crust: bake on a pie stone and always cool on a rack and not the counter.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, or cheese! For printable instructions, click here. I’ve included the filling recipe for my mom’s prize-winning apple pie!

Love, Mary.

Mary’s Advice for Brides

By | Culinary Crafts Events

Dear Bride,

Mary Crafts here. I’ve seen more weddings than I can count, I know the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and I feel qualified to offer you some advice.

Last year, our bride Chelsea had her beautiful wedding celebration at Red Cliff Ranch in Heber, UT. This gorgeous ranch was the same place that I held my wedding just five years earlier. I fell in love with this darling bride and her mother from our first meeting in our office.

Over the next few months, we worked together to plan out the details of her special day. Chelsea already had the fabulous David Newkirk reserved for her photographer, and I suggested some of my favorite vendors for the Ranch: Kale Fitch as videographer, Gold Standard as the music, and Josh from 5 Penney Floral to add the perfect little accents that turn the ranch into a romantic wedding location. We also created a wonderful menu for the night. From the dinner, to the cake, to the late night snack! This wedding was sure to be a big, perfect, beautiful success.

Eventually, the big day arrived. Chelsea was giddy and excited to finally marry her sweetheart, Walker, and she anticipated the day would go exactly as dreamed. However, it wasn’t long until Chelsea ran into a problem: the officiate was late.

After waiting 45 minutes for his arrival, we discovered that the officiate (a close friend of Chelsea’s fathers’s) had gotten confused and was still two hours away! Although the guests were tired and restless, Chelsea’s father insisted on waiting for him. The ceremony would start three hours late.

So, what was there to do? After months of planning, it all came down to one small mistake and the whole evening could be tainted! One thing that I told Chelsea in this moment, and one thing that I will tell you, is that things hardly go as planned. But, if you think on your feet, and prepare to be flexible, everything will work out. Just because it doesn’t go as planned it doesn’t mean it won’t go perfectly.

I had an idea, and Chelsea was so willing and ready to try it out.

In front of the crowd of tired guests I pulled up a chair and stood on top.

“Excuse me!”

Heads turned.

“Now, I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news. The bad news is, the officiate is still two hours away and we’ve determined to wait for him.”


“The good news is, we are opening the bar and starting the passed hors d’oeuvres!”


Guests had a delightful time switching the cocktail hour to before the ceremony and moved into dinner following the ceremony. Here’s what Chelsea recently wrote to me about it:

“Not a moment goes by that I don’t think about perfect my wedding day was, but what I remember are the incredible people that made it happen… So many people have shared with us how impressed they were with your ability and flexibility to adjust the cocktail hour with our officiant being late. They loved eating and drinking beforehand and socializing/catching up before the ceremony. Your kindness, sincerity, creativity, energy, and love has forever been imprinted on my heart.”

Chelsea was able to roll with the punches and it turned what seemed at the time like serious issue, into one of her favorite memories at her wedding.

Culinary Crafts, Mary Crafts, Bride, Advice, Utah Destination WeddingPhotos by David Newkirk

Good luck, and happy planning!

Love, Mary.

Friday Instagram of the Week

By | Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Instagram of the Week


Today’s Instagram of the Week comes from the fabulous Mary Crafts, who is CONSTANTLY being inspired for new creations for Culinary Crafts!  Take these Potato Tornados she got at a Pioneer Day Carnival last week – she’s already figuring out how to incorporate them into our offerings!!!  I, for one, am so EXCITED to see these at our events.  Mary, you are a rockstar (follow her a @marycrafts on Instagram) and remember to tag Culinary Crafts or add #culinarycrafts to your posts and you may be next week’s pick!  Happy weekend, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

The Art of Catering Food Conference! | Trendy Tuesday

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Trendy Tuesday

We are so thrilled to attend The Art of Catering Food conference this July!  And we a equally honored to have been asked to speak and share ideas and advice with so many of our fellow caterers!  Mary Crafts, Kaleb Crafts, Ryan Crafts, and Jocelyn Ball will all be speaking and we can’t wait to hear it!  If this is something you just can’t miss, here is the info to get registered:

We can’t wait – it looks like its going to be AMAZING!!!  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Check out our website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Mary’s Top 10 Restaurants! | Food Theory Thursday

By | Food Theory Thursday

We have a new series for Food Theory Thursday that I am THRILLED to announce!  Mary Crafts-Homer has been kind enough to share her Top 10 Restaurant Picks for Utah County, Salt Lake City, and Park City!  Mary, I’m sure you know, loves frequenting the local fare to see whats new, what delicious, and where you can have the best meal EVER.  Luckily, Utah is brimming with restaurants that are simply divine!  (I would also like to note that the ever fabulous Mary writes the restaurant reviews for UV Mag, where you can also find this first Top 10 list!)  So, without further ado, take a look at Mary’s first Top 10:  Utah County!

Mary’s Top Ten Restarants of Utah County! (You might even catch at any one of these fine establishments!)

Best Fine Dining – Sundance Tree Room
Best Pizza – Pizzeria 712
Best Hamburger and Fries – Spark
Best Mid-priced Value – La Jolla Groves
Best Healthy Cuisine – Blue Lemon
Best Secret Indulgence – J Dawgs
Best Asian – Shoga
Best New Concept – Communal
Best Mexican Burrito – Mountain West Burrito
Best Desserts – The Chocolate Dessert Cafe

Happy dining!!!  Remember to stay tuned for the Salt Lake City and Park City picks!

Check out our NEW website at www.culinarycrafts.com!


Vendor Spotlight: Pink Piggy Design, PixelWhipped, and Swanovation!

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides

All of the vendors who participated in Mary & Rick’s wedding were simply wonderful!  Today, I’d like to focus on how to take your wedding up a notch with a few easy tips and also show you a couple of vendors who helped Mary and Rick do just that!  Adding ice sculptures and custom signage are simple, yet effective details that add panache to any event.  Check it out!

Take a look at these ice sculpture from the ever fantastic Swanovations Custom Ice Sculptures.  You might remember, we’ve spotlit them before here.  We couldn’t help but showcase them again, this time with the gorgeous pieces that were at Mary and Rick’s wedding reception!  Ice sculptures are a fabulous way to create visual interest and focal pieces at your event!  Plus, the can do double duty by being floral containers too!  So beautiful!

Now, we come to these beautiful paper pieces from the wonderful Pink Piggy Design.   Not only did they make the seating chart concept look sophisticated and polished by designing these AWESOME seating tags, but they made every guest feel special by creating a personalized tags that was at each guest’s seat.  Many people don’t think about adding these details, but they really go a long way making you event look, and feel, refined.  Be aware, however, that it is always a good idea to work with a professional, like Pink Piggy Design, to make the finished product look AMAZING!  They know the best papers, sizes, and design that will really tie your event together.  Plus, they take care of the hassle for you, so you can relax and plan you event!

Lastly, we come to the beautiful food signage from PixelWhippedPixelWhipped created GORGEOUS custom signage for both the rehearsal dinner and the reception.  These pieces not only made the guests aware of the delectable offerings at each event, but they were a fun way to create messages for the guests and tied in perfectly to each event’s design and feel.  Signage like this is another way to kick your event up a notch and make it feel TOTALLY high end!

Thank you SO much to Swanovation Custom Ice Sculptures, Pink Piggy Design, and PixelWhipped for your BEAUTIFUL contributions to Mary and Rick’s wedding weekend!  You are amazing!  And remember, adding ice sculptures and paper pieces are an excellent way of taking your event to the next level!

Check out our website at www.culinarycrafts.com!

Photographs provided by Pepper Nix Photography and ZumaPhoto

Off to CaterArts 2011!

By | Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts

We are so excited for CaterArts 2011!  Our very own Mary Crafts-Homer will be leaving for Louisville, Kentucky on Friday to attend the board meeting of The International Caterers Association where she has served for 6 years.  Then, she will be staying on for the CaterArts Conference and welcoming Culinary Crafts own executive chef, Marco Niccoli, and the sous chef, Victoria Skeem, to join her and share in all the fun!  CaterArts is THE best and most esteemed conference that brings in only the most talented chefs to teach the newest trends and most cutting edge catering ideas!  We are so thrilled to see what Mary, Marco, and Victoria bring back to share with us and the people of Utah!  Have fun!!!

Check out our website at www.culinarycrafts.com!