Put several ice cubes into a cup. Fill the cup with water and spoon the 5 tbsp. cold water from the cup.

Ingredients

2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 c. chilled solid shortening

6-7 tbsp. ice cold water

Prepare Pastry Dough

1. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with a fork, two knives, or a pastry blender until the pieces are pea-size. NOTE: You can also use a combination of cold butter and shortening.

2. Sprinkle flour mixture with water, one tablespoon at a time, gently mixing with a fork, until all dough is mositened.

3. Gather the dough into two balls, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll Pastry Dough

1. Flour the work surface and pin lightly.

2. Place dough in center of work space. Exerting equal pressure on pin, roll the dough from the center out in all directions until a 1/8 inch thick, 11- to 12-inch circle,is formed. Avoid stretching the dough into the pie dish. It will shrink when you bake it. Avoid rolling over the dough edges. Press the dough together to mend any cracks.

3. Transfer the dough to the pan by rolling it around the rolling pin, then unrolling it in the pie dish. You can also gently fold the dough into fourths, and then unfold it in the dish.   

4. Trim the crust edges so there's just a 1-inch overhang around the dish.   

5. Add the filling unless your recipe indicates the shell should be prebaked.   

6. For a one-crust pie, crimp the edges together to make the pie look pretty. (Use your fingers to push the edges together, making a little scallop.)   

7. For a two-crust pie, roll remaining dough in a similar manner. Place on top of filling, fold the top crust under the bottom crust and pinch the edges together, then crimp as for a one-crust pie.   

8. Score the top with a knife to let steam escape. Brush beaten egg white over the piecrust before baking to yield a beautiful, glossy finish.   

A Few Final Notes

The elusive flakiness is the goal of pie crust making. Flakiness is enhanced by handling the dough as little as possible. Make every attempt not to re-roll the dough.

If your recipe calls for prebaking the bottom crust, put a piece of aluminum foil on the dough and weigh the crust down with dry beans or pie weights before baking to prevent bubbles.  

If you think your pie looks misshapen before baking, take heart. Pies tend to look much better when they come out of the oven.

For a flaky crust, handle the dough as little as possible.

Baker's Comments