Aunt Stef’s Mothers Day Present

Now that’s love!

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My Aunt Stef was the one person I could rely on to pull me from the fire whenever I got into trouble. Any heavy-duty injury warranted a stop at her house so she could perform triage and make the call to my mother explaining that I was okay but…. She rapidly became my favorite Aunt. :: Follow Gromit for more

My Bapci’s Babka

An easy to make bread for Easter or just to have around

Babka dough after one and one-half hours
Babka dough after one and one-half hours

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of Easter time when my bapci (pronounced bop-chi, which is Polish for grandmother) would make babka bread. Each of her eight children would get a loaf or two for the traditional Easter dinner.

:: Follow Gromit for more

Master Pie Crust

There’s a reason to use two fats in your pie crust.

You’ll note that I use butter as well as shortening in this crust. Why? Well butter contains water and when the crust is baking the water turns to steam and guess what happens! You get a flakier crust than if you just used shortening. It must be magic!

Master Pie Crust


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 9 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup ice water


  1. Cube butter into 1/4 or 3/8 inch pieces. Place in small bowl and refrigerate.
  2. Measure one 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening and refrigerate.
  3. Mix salt in ice water and keep chilled in refrigerator.
  4. In a food processor combine flour and sugar. Pulse two or three times to mix well.
  5. Add butter to processor and pulse several times. Add shortening and pulse until the mixture looks coarse and pale yellow.
  6. Place mixture into a large bowl and add three tablespoons of ice water. Knead the dough and water mixture until a loose ball forms. Add water one tablespoon at a time until mixture comes together. Be careful not to over knead as this will make a less flaky crust.
  7. Form pastry into a ball with your hands and divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Press into small disks on a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Roll disks out on floured wax paper until the pastry is about 12 inches round and about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to pie pan. Fill with fruit and add top crust. Cut vents to allow steam to escape.
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