For me- pie is all about the crust! I used to be nervous about making crust, and it never turned out quite right, not light enough, not flaky enough. Well this weekend I discovered the magic ingredient, and I'll never buy a frozen, pre-made again.
I'd had my fill of pie on Thanksgiving- Josh and I buy our pumpkin pie from our favorite bakery, Lovely in Wicker Park in Chicago, IL; instead I made these "Toaster tarts" from Karen Soloman's book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It. They are really just homemade pop tarts, but man, are they about a million times better.
The dough for the crusts is rolled out thin, and pinched shut around a little filling, I used some cherry preserves I had in the fridge. The tarts are baked just until they are mostly done, then finished off in the oven or toaster right before you eat them.
They are sort just little pies that could fit in your pocket, they're light on the filling but they're a great recipe to showcase an outstanding crust.
About that crust; I'd been looking for an excuse to make some lard for a while, and this baking challenge gave me just such an opportunity. You can read all about the lard making process here, and it is a process, about 2 days worth of work, but let me tell you that it is worth every minute.