FOR THE PIECRUST:
2 CUPS FLOUR
½ TSP SALT
¼ TSP BAKING POWDER
8 TBS BUTTER – chilled, cubed small
2 TBS SOLID CRISCO – chilled, cubed
8 TBS ICE WATER
Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Quickly work the butter and shortening into the flour mixture with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle with 8 tablespoons of ice water and stir with a fork until it just combines. Form into a ball, then flatten into a disc and divide in half. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
FOR THE FILLLING:
3 RUSSET POTATOES – medium, peeled, quartered
2 CUPS CLAM JUICE
5 BACON STRIPS – cut into ½” pieces
1 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION – peeled, chopped
¼ CUP FRESH PARSLEY – chopped
1 TB FRESH THYME LEAVES
3 CUPS SHUCKED STEAMER or CHERRYSTONE CLAMS – chopped
2 TB BUTTER – chilled, cut into small pieces
2 TBS FLOUR
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER – to taste
Boil the potatoes in clam juice in a covered pot over medium heat until soft but not falling apart. Drain, lightly mash with a fork and set aside.
Meanwhile, sauté the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel to drain. Add onions to the bacon fat in the pan and sauté until golden – about 15 minutes. Mix together the bacon, onions, parsley thyme, clams, flour and potatoes in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400º
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into two 12-inch circles. Fit one circle into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Add clam filling, mounding it in the center. Top with butter. Lay remaining dough over filling. Trim dough, leaving about 1-inch around the edge to fold under and crimp the two layers together. Make a little hole in the center of the pie for steam to escape. Bake until golden – 50 to 55 minutes. Let rest and cool a bit before serving.
NOTE: For this dish you can eliminate the shucking of the clams and just steam the clams in a covered pan of water until they open.