For some people, the best part of a pie is its crust. And for many, this flaky, yet tasty foundation to every pie is the sweet culmination to a favorite dessert. You can have the greatest pie filling, but if the crust is lacking, the whole dessert could disappoint. This complete recipe makes enough pastry for a double crust pie. To make a single crust pie, the ingredients just need to be halved.
- 2-2/3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup 2 tablespoons water (cold)
In a large bowl with a wire whisk stir together the flour and salt. Put the bowl in the refrigerator. Also place the measured shortening in the refrigerator. Measure out the water into a glass measuring cup. Place it in the refrigerator too. Chill all of these for at least an hour.
Remove the flour mixture and shortening from the refrigerator. Cut shortening into flour either using a pastry blender or two knives in a scissor fashion.
(Food processors and stand mixers may work as well.) Once the flour/shortening mixture resembles pearls, stir in half of the water with a fork. Continue to add just enough water to hold the pastry together to make two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten balls into 1/2-inch thick round disks. Wrap in plastic and place back in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to two days or frozen up to three months.)
Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out one ball at a time, leaving the other in the fridge. Rolling from the middle out, make a circle 2-inches wider than the inverted pie plate. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin. Unfurl it over the pie plate. The edge should be even with the pie plate rim. Fill pie. Roll second dough ball as first. Lay over top of filling. The top should have an 3/4-inch overhang. Seal top crust to bottom. Fold under overhanging dough. Flute edges as desired. Cut slits into top to vent steam. Bake according to pie recipe.
For a Single-Crust Pie:
Half the ingredients. After putting the pastry in the pie pan, trim the edges to 3/4-inch. Fold under and flute. Bake as directed by pie recipe.
A Small Sampling of Pie Recipes
Need a good pie recipe to go with your perfectly baked crust? Try one of these: