Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at your Henderson open house? It’s been a standard for open houses everywhere and forever, but if the goal is to make your property and its open house a standout, it’s a solution hardly in sync with the goal. Cheese and crackers? C’mon—does anyone really want dubious-looking cheese and cold cuts that have been sitting out for who-knows-how-long…?
Stone fruits and berries are at their absolute peak this time of year—so they make for a simple, elegant solution. It’s also one that’s easy to provide and appealing to look at…
Then again, if you are planning for your own Henderson open house in this summer, you also have the option of upping the ante a bit—while still bringing the fruits of the season inside to the party. To add a delightfully unexpected and memorable surprise to your open house, consider baking a pie or two! Let the mouthwatering aromas fill the air just before show time—and be assured, the effect of that kind of old-fashioned hospitality will linger long and memorable.
Of course, it’s necessary to come up with an absolutely stunning pie—and since we aren’t all Julia Child-level kitchen whizzes, a little help might come in handy. Fortunately, help is here. This comes from Susan Hamilton’s book, Hit Woman, her memoir of the commercial music business and her adventures at its apex. Hamilton’s cookery became almost as renowned as her music chops, and in an aside in an early edition, she shares the recipe for “the last pie crust you’ll ever use.” She recounts how it originated with a $1 mail-in classified ad from a long-forgotten Vermont newspaper. Here it is, reproduced (with her permission) for you to try:
- 3 ¾ c. unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ lb cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes (3 sticks)
- 6 tablespoons cold lard cut into small cubes (about 3/4 stick)
- ½ c. ice water
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 whole egg
Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in food processor. Mix ice water, egg, and vinegar in a glass measuring cup and set aside. Cut butter and lard into cubes quickly and place in processor. Use about 10 1-second pulses until fat pieces are the size of small peas. With the motor running, slowly pour the liquid into the mixture. When ingredients have almost massed together, dump contents into large mixing bowl and form a big ball with your hands. If necessary, give it a quick knead with the heel of your hand. Divide into 3 or 4 discs (3 for galettes; 4 for 9” crusts), place in Ziploc bags in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Crusts can be frozen for about 6 months.