Stanley's Secret Pie Recipe

Stanley's Secret Pie Crust Recipe

One of the best pies I have had in the last 30 years was the one my friend Stanley made. I was visiting him in his place near LA when he decided to make a strawberry rhubarb pie for dinner. My daughter and her actress friend, Joanna, joined us. His stove ran out of propane so we had to "borrow" a neighbors stove. It was a great day for a walk in Topanga Canyon to bake a pie.

I have been asking Stanley for his recipe for over ten years. I asked him again yesterday and he finally relented and sent me some words and the recipe. A link to the "process" & recipe is here.

"My buddy Tim (ChefShop owner) asked me for my pie crust recipe. While I’m happy to share it, you will find it unremarkable. Tim is one of my oldest friends, and he’s had a few of my pies. I know ChefShop stocks some really good lard, and I once made a cherry pie using some of the Stennes Family Farm cherries that Tim sent me.

Why pie? Everyone loves pie. Cake is universally less popular. Sorry, it’s a fact. And when you make pie, for a brief time, everyone loves you. I’m sure that I’ve made over 500 pies. My daughter Madeline is now an expert pie maker.

Many people say the phrase “easy as pie” is a cruel joke. But actually pie is pretty easy to make. It is one of those projects that has a clear beginning and end, and the result is just beautiful and delicious. Happy Pie!"



Stanley’s Pie Crust

Put a bunch of ice cubes into a pyrex with bunch of water

Stretch out two rectangles of cling wrap onto your counter


3 Cups Flour in a bowl

dash of salt

Tablespoon of sugar (or more)

Cinnamon for certain kinds of pie, herbs for some savory pies


Blend well with a whisk


One stick of chilled butter + 4oz of chilled shortening (or two sticks of butter, or 8oz of chilled lard)  This is the “fat”, and pie makers will argue endlessly about the choice of “fat”.


Cut the “fat” into small pieces (or use a method I just learned about from my friend Karen Amarotico-- use a cheese grater)


Dump the fat into the flour mixture and blend with a pastry cutter until the mixture is like gravelly  cornmeal.  Over blending makes the pie crust less flaky.  Some people use their hands, but I think this heats up the fat too much. Don’t do anything resembling “kneading”.  Gluten strands are your enemy.  Don’t listen to people that suggest that adding vinegar makes it all easier.


Take that Pyrex of really cold water and begin sprinkling into the flour mixture and stirring  rapidly (with a big fork).  I don’t measure-- just gradually add until the stuff begins to cling together.  Towards the end, I use my hands to separate the dough into two slightly unequal balls-- big one is the bottom crust, smaller the top.


Put each ball on top of the cling wrap, and wrap each one up-- flattening them into a round disk.  Pop them into the fridge for at least 1/2 hour-- the dough needs to rest, its been stressful for them.


Use this 1/2 hour to prepare the filling, and this beyond the scope of this missive.


Rolling out the crust is just practice, but I never use wax paper or a pastry cloth-- that is for the weak.  Just flour a good wooden surface, and your wood rolling pin as needed.  Takes practice.




Stanley Smith, owner Art Authority(You can find some of your favorite art from some of the greatest museums here)