Whether it’s the best pie at the state fair or the best pie at the potluck, it all starts with learningHow to Make a Pie Crust from scratch. This recipe is for a flaky pastry dough is easier than you might think. Ready to master homemade pie crust?
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sift the flour and salt together into the bowl of a food processor; add shortening and pulse until pieces are the size of small peas.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cold water over part of the mixture. Pulse again. Repeat until all the mixture is moistened and just holds together when pressed with fingertips. Divide and form into two balls.
Flatten one ball onto a lightly floured surface by pressing with palm of hand three times across in both directions. Roll from center to edge until 1/8-inch thick.
To bake a single pie crust:
Fit pastry into pie plate; trim 1/2 to 1-inch beyond edge; fold under and flute edge by pressing dough with forefinger against wedge made of finger and thumb of other hand.
Prick bottom and sides well with fork. (If filling and crust are baked together, do not prick crust.) Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
To bake a lattice-top pie:
Trim lower crust 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Roll remaining dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut strips of pastry 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide with pastry wheel or knife.
Lay strips on filled pie at 1-inch intervals. Fold back alternate strips as you weave cross strips. Trim lattice even with outer rim of pie plate; fold lower crust over strips, Seal; flute edges.
To bake a double-crust pie:
Lay one pie crust in bottom of 9-inch pie pan, trimming away excess dough from the edge of the pan. Fill with pie filling.
Cut slits in top crust. Lift pastry by rolling it over rolling pin; then unroll loosely over well-filled pie. Trim 1/2 inch beyond edge. Tuck top crust under edge of lower crust. Flute edge of pastry as desired.
Shortening: Technically, shortening is any fat that is solid at room temperature and used in baking. Dough is considered “short” if it is more crumbly, mealy, or flaky. Historically, shortening was more a class of ingredients (lard, butter, margarine) than a specific ingredient. When vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, rose in popularity during the 1920s to 1950s as a shelf-stable alternative to butter, this became known colloquially as "shortening." To this day, vegetable shortening makes very flaky pie crust that's fairly easy to work with (due to its melting point that's higher than butter).
Cold water: Start with ice cold water. The colder the ingredients are, the less risk there will be for the shortening to melt or become overworked, which can lead to a tougher pie crust. Since you only need 5 to 7 tablespoons of water and use it 1 tablespoon at a time, I suggest filling a liquid measuring cup with ice and water. Use a tablespoon to scoop out water, steering clear of the ice.
Yield: This homemade pie crust recipe makes enough dough for two single crust for an 8-inch, 9-inch, or 10-inch pie; one 8-inch, 9-inch, or 10-inch double-crust, lattice top pie; or one large galette.
Storage: Form pie crust into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.